The CRM solution landscape has experienced considerable change, including significant vendor consolidation and a rapid rise in the popularity SaaS solutions — often referred to as "CRM in the cloud." Organizations adopt SaaS CRM solutions because of low upfront costs, good usability, proven scalability, better flexibility, and faster time-to-value compared with traditional on-premises applications. Forrester surveys indicate that nearly 70% of organizations are interested in, or are currently using, SaaS solutions for horizontal business processes such as CRM and HR.
But clients tell me they cannot capture the promised benefits if they do not have certain prerequisites within their own skill sets, such as the right developer talent and governance model to work in an agile, iterative approach that leading organizations use to be successful. This is not your father’s CRM anymore, so don’t make these mistakes:
Today, the gap between customers’ expectations and the service they receive can be huge. There’s an explosion of communication channels that customers use—voice, digital channels like email and chat, and social channels like Facebook and Twitter. There’s also an explosion of touchpoints, like smartphones, tablets, and self-service kiosks. Customers expect efficient, consistent, personalized service experiences across these channels and touchpoints.
There’s no denying that mastering the service experience is hard to do. Yet focusing on leveraging digital channels is one way customer service leaders can move the needle on customer experiences.
Well if you're going to make a dramatic about face from total dismissal of cloud computing, this is a relatively credible way to do it. Following up on its announcement of a serious cloud future at Oracle Open World 2011, the company delivered new cloud services with some credibility at this last week's show. It's a strategy with laser focus on selling to Oracle's own installed base and all guns aimed at Salesforce.com. While the promise from last year was a homegrown cloud strategy, most of this year's execution has been bought. The strategy is essentially to deliver enterprise-class applications and middleware any way you want it - on-premise, hosted and managed or true cloud. A quick look at where they are and how they got here:
Executives don't decide how customer-centric their companies are—their customers are the ultimate arbiters. Digital disruptors—a term coined by Forrester describing companies that leverage digital platforms to take advantage of customers' heightened expectations and deliver a more compelling product and service experience at a lower cost—are threatening traditional business models. I will be exploring this challenge and discussing how to establish the right digital agenda on October 18-19 at the upcoming Forrester conference Developing Digital Disruption: A Forum For Application Development & Delivery Professionals.
Our research shows that a good experience impacts customers' behavior in three ways: 1) they are more willing to consider another purchase; 2) they are less likely to switch their business to a competitor; and 3) they are more likely to make a favorable recommendation. But how does that affect a company's bottom line? We estimate that the revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a larger service company's performance, as measured by Forrester's Customer Experience Index score, could exceed $1 billion.
As result of “big data” mania, there is an explosion of interest in business intelligence solutions and advanced analytics techniques. In particular, organizations of all sizes want to sharpen their ability to track the health of customer relationship management (CRM) business processes. A common question that I get from my clients is: "What are the best sales metrics that we should track, and how do we do it?"
Recently, my colleague Boris Evelsonand I responded to an inquiry on this topic. Our answer is summarized below.
"How do we set up BI dashboards for a sales-focused company? We currently have Cognos, IBI, and various cubes around a 6 (+) year old Teradata warehouse. We are upgrading our Teradata to its latest technology and have purchased IBI's BI suite to use in conjunction. Our focus is on sales -- How did other organizations start out? We would like to know what works best for different roles from the CEO down to an inside sales rep?"
We believe the answer to your question relies in adopting best practices around analytical sales performance management. You should take a top-down approach that has five steps:
1. First, define the overall sales strategy.
2. Then, identify goals and objectives that you need to achieve in order to make your sales strategy successful.
I recently spent a few days in Connecticut, USA, with Pitney Bowes. So why, you ask, is a CIO advisor who spends most of his time talking about the future of business technology in Asia Pacific spending time with a company that makes machines that stamp mail? That is a good question, and one I hope to answer while at the same time showing where I believe Pitney Bowes can help in your organisation.
So Pitney Bowes stamps mail. Yes — but they see it differently. They see that they enable communications with customers. Interesting. But mail is declining — right? Yes, it is, and Pitney Bowes has made many acquisitions to position itself as the leader in the digital mail space. And they have gone from just providing the communications capability to working across the entire customer lifecycle. Acquisitions of Portrait Software, MapInfo, Group 1 Software and many of the other firms they have acquired in the last 10 years have given them the ability to do:
- Customer profiling and segmentation
- Data preparation and composition
- Multi-channel customer output
- Customer response management
- Response analysis
I continue to field a steady stream of inquiries about “mobile CRM.” There has been an explosion of mobile devices and applications entering enterprises through corporate-approved channels as well as via employees who bring their own devices to the office. Assembling all the components of a mobile CRM solution to meet the precise use cases for specific types of customer-facing workers requires navigating a complex set of decisions, including:
Application types. Applications can be native (thick client), Web or hybrid (native plus Web), or cross-platform (mobile middleware or rich Internet client applications). Today, developers build specialized thick-client applications that are downloaded onto PCs or mobile devices. But the rise of HTML5 will solidify the browser as a viable local host for applications. With HTML5, the browser becomes a more capable thin client, accessing services on a centralized, cloud-based host.
CRM applications. All of the leading CRM application vendors focusing on large enterprises support mobile access to their applications, and they are racing to upgrade their capabilities to keep up with the new form factors that mobile workers demand. These vendors and their products include Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Siebel CRM and Oracle CRM On Demand, salesforce.com, and SAP CRM. CRM suite vendors focused on the midmarket, such as CDC Pivotal CRM, Maximizer Software, Sage SalesLogix, and SugarCRM, also have new mobile solutions offerings.
There is no single metric against which to benchmark the performance of your customer service organization. It’s like flying a plane—you can’t do it by just looking at your altitude settings. This means that most organizations use a balanced scorecard approach, which includes a set of competing metrics that balance the cost of operations against satisfaction measures. For industries with strict policy regulations, like healthcare, insurance, or financial services, adherence to regulatory compliance is yet another metric that is added to the list.
The set of metrics that you choose also depends on your audience. Customer service managers need real-time, granular operational data. Yet your executive management team needs high-level data about key performance indicators (KPIs) that track outcomes of customer service programs.
So where should you begin when choosing metrics? It’s best to start by understanding the value proposition of your company. For example, do you compete on customer experience, where satisfaction measures are of primary importance, or do you compete on cost, where efficiency and productivity measures are most important?
Once you understand your value proposition, choose the high-level KPIs that support your company’s objectives. These metrics are the ones that you will report to executive management and include overall cost, revenue, compliance, and satisfaction scores. Next, choose the operational metrics for your organization that link to each of these KPIs and support your brand. For example, if you compete on cost, handle time and speed of answer will become your primary metrics. However, if you are focused on maximizing customer lifetime value, first contact resolution will rise to the top.
This is a guest post from Anjali Yakkundi, a Researcher at Forrester Research. It originally appeared on destinationCRM.
By now, everyone knows that engaging and dynamic customer experiences are a key competitive advantage, and “business as usual” will no longer suffice to support these engaging digital experiences. Organizations that don’t embrace this customer-focused thinking will risk missing out on important opportunities and will lose strategic advantages.
From a technology standpoint, the key to success will be integrated, best-of-breed customer experience management (CXM) solutions. This includes technologies such as Web content management (WCM), CRM, eCommerce, digital asset management (DAM), site search, and Web analytics.
We recently completed an evaluation of the DAM market. DAM is a key process-based solution that focuses on managing rich media content (e.g., videos, images, graphics, and audio). Despite the well-documented importance of rich media in cross-channel customer experiences (consider the amount of video and images on the Web or in marketing content now versus just five years ago), DAM solutions have long been overshadowed by other CXM technologies. These solutions have traditionally been relegated to niche, rich-media-heavy industries such as media, publishing, and entertainment. But as more and more organizations understand the importance of a cross-channel rich-media strategy to improve customer experiences, DAM for customer experience is experiencing a revival in interest across verticals.
SugarCRM was kind enough to invite me to its analyst day and conference — a three-day event packed with product, strategy, customer, and partner information. The firm’s focus was clearly on its momentum into the enterprise. Here are my thoughts:
The CRM market still has room to grow. Sugar used IDC’s numbers to project CRM market growth: $18.74 billion for 2012, $19.97 billion for 2013, and $21.37 billion for 2014. Even though CRM vendor solutions are mature, the CRM market has not stagnated.
The SugarCRM 6.5 product. Today, SugarCRM has 1 million users, has seen 11 million downloads, is used by 80,000 organizations, and has 350 partners on five continents supporting the product. Its newest release focuses on usability and performance enhancements. It offers simplified navigation, an enhanced UI design, a new search framework with integrated full-text search, new calendaring and scheduling capabilities, IBM platform support, and deeper integration with third-party apps. Although the product lacks advanced social features and robust analytics, it does provide solid, well-rounded CRM capabilities.
The open source focus. Open source is more than a movement. It provides results by allowing its 30,000-large developer ecosystem to evolve the product in line with customer demand. “Open” is also part of Sugar’s culture — for example, pricing is readily available on its website, and you can try the product for free.