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CRM Roadmap

How to Develop a CRM Roadmap Alpesh Fadia

Heidi A. Anderson
Peter A. Whiting

The correct CRM strategy can cultivate intimate, loyal relationships

with consumers and render competitive advantage in the marketplace.

I s it any wonder that the new mantra in

business today is to become a customer-
driven company that develops enduring rela-
to-point technology solutions, but, while
technology can play an important role, it is
only a fraction of the overall solution.
master should be aligned with that strategy,
and might include:
• Leveraging customer information
tionships with its consumers? An Accenture Companies need to ensure that technology from the service process (for example,
study, titled “How Much Are CRM solutions complement their overall strategic integrating customer feedback during
Capabilities Really Worth? What Every CEO approach, and that those solutions are flexi- service calls with the marketing
Should Know,” established for the first time, ble enough to work with an evolving strategy. department).
a strong link between excellence in a com- Companies, therefore, need to think more • Effectively managing product mix
pany’s overall interaction with customers, broadly about the potential of CRM (e.g., (measure success by campaign).
what we call Customer Relationship viewing the company as a cohesive unit • Effectively managing sales channel
Management (CRM), and financial perform- rather than fragmented divisions, improving strategy (eliminate conflict between
ance. It showed that companies that have not critical customer processes, etc.). distribution channels).
invested in developing specific CRM capabil- Constructing a CRM Roadmap that So how do companies know which CRM
ities are leaving millions of dollars in profit includes a comprehensive customer strategy capabilities they have, and which they’ll
on the table. And that difference in perform- is the first step in achieving the full potential need to realize their strategic goal? Below are
ance in executing specific CRM capabilities that CRM has to offer in becoming a cus- the eight primary steps (which have been
accounts for roughly half the inequality in tomer-driven company. used across industries, including financial
financial performance between top and aver- services, electronics and high-tech, con-
age performers.1 What Is a CRM Roadmap? sumer products, manufacturing, etc.) to fol-
So it is no surprise that companies are A CRM Roadmap is a strategic plan that iden- low when developing a CRM Roadmap.
investing an enormous amount of effort and tifies how a company can meet and exceed
money in CRM technology that aims to get its customers’ needs. This includes, but is not Step 1: Gain Senior-Level Sponsorship
them closer to their customers. In fact, some limited to, assessing how the sales, market- The sponsor for a CRM Roadmap effort must
studies have estimated that the overall CRM ing, and service entities work together to: 1) have a vested interest in the project and
market will exceed $180 billion by 2002 gain insight from their customers (for exam- ideally has P&L responsibility for the group.
(including services, applications tools, and ple, purchase history, desired products/serv- This helps develop buy-in from the senior
outsourcing) and is growing at 35% com- ices); 2) produce valuable offerings/products management team and the operations staff.
pounded annual growth rate. It is also no sur- (for example, personalized product); and 3) A roadmap effort without senior-level
prise that the top two concerns of many CEOs provide the ultimate customer experience sponsorship and with little cross-unit influ-
and CIOs about CRM are how to improve loy- (for example, multiple touch points, 360- ence can diminish the returns of such an
alty (customer retention and development) degree view of the customer). effort. As with any project a company under-
as well as the bottom line (acquiring new and Figure 1 provides a “line of sight” that links takes that involves significant change to busi-
profitable consumers). These two concerns the business strategy to customer expecta- ness processes, organizational structures, or
summon the need for companies to consider tions, and is described in the following pages. roles and responsibilities, the lack of key,
a holistic view of their customers. This can be Following these steps can ensure that your influential sponsorship reduces the effective-
achieved through an innovative approach company meets its CRM goals. ness of the project, since there is no driving
known as the “CRM Roadmap.” As illustrated in Figure 1, developing a force for implementation.
But how are companies presently respond- CRM Roadmap involves aligning an organi-
ing to this challenge in an environment zation’s business strategy with its prioritized Step 2: Gather Information
where customers are now savvy, harder to CRM capabilities. For example, if a com- It is critical to gain insights of various key
please, more informed, have more choices, pany’s business strategy is to develop prod- stakeholders and decision makers within the
and have limited loyalty? ucts faster to gain unique market positioning, company. These insights can be acquired
Some companies are implementing point- the capabilities that the company needs to most effectively by holding one-on-one meet-
ings. We use an “interview template” that
Alpesh Fadia and Heidi A. Anderson are Managers in Accenture’s Customer Relationship Management consists of more than 30 questions. This tem-
practice with a focus on developing CRM Roadmaps. Peter Whiting is a Senior Manager in Accenture’s plate serves as the foundation for framing ini-
Electronics and High Technology Practice and specializes in CRM strategic visioning. tial discussions with the client.

52 • Defying the Limits

CRM Roadmap

Examples of questions that help us gauge become not only an industry leader, but also Step 6: Define CRM Projects
the health of a client’s CRM include: a cross-industry, world-class leader. and Requirements
• How would you define CRM? Once value opportunities are prioritized, spe-
• What types of customer information is Step 4: Identify Value Opportunities cific CRM projects need to be developed.
captured/tracked (acquisition/reten- Value opportunities represent the potential Defining and executing CRM projects will
tion costs, churn, cost to serve, etc.)? benefits delivered by being more customer- ensure the company masters the relevant
• What information would you like to centric. We identify and categorize value strategic CRM capabilities.
know about your customers that you opportunities along the lines of people, An effective way to define relevant
currently do not? process, and technology by analyzing the projects is through brainstorming sessions
with the client. Examples of the outcome of
Business Strategy & a session might include:
Objectives • Increased understanding of customer
CRM CRM Current • Enhanced call center operations
Implications State
achieved by implementing sophisti-
cated touch point technologies
Gaps & • Decision to establish a data warehouse
Value Opportunities
• Decision to improve sales force training
Once CRM projects are defined, it is critical
Strategic CRM CRM Projects Business Case Project Roll- to go one step further and identify the busi-
Capabilities Out Strategy
ness and technical requirements needed.
These requirements should be specific and
Functional Technical
Requirements Requirements
address the necessary people, process, and
technology components of each project.
For "Understanding Customer Profitability,"
Figure 1 – The CRM Roadmap involves aligning an organization’s business strategy with its functional requirements might include:
prioritized CRM capabilities.
• Creating a common definition and prof-
itability formula for products, channels,
Depending on the scope and effort of the gaps between the company’s current state sales staff, customer segments, individ-
project, these meetings may include not only and its desired future state. Once value ual customers, as well as ensuring
executives, but also individuals all the way to opportunities are identified, meetings should consistency across the company
the front line. Given their more frequent and be held with the executive team to prioritize • Defining components of the formula
direct interactions with the customer, front- the opportunities. (acquisition, marketing, servicing
line personnel may know more about cus- Examples of “process” value opportunities costs, etc.)
tomer needs, preferences and concerns that include improving how data is captured for
may not have been communicated to the all customer contacts, across sales functions Step 7: Develop the Business Case
executive level. and touch points (for example, phone, email, Once the projects and requirements are
etc.). “People” value opportunities may defined, it is necessary to develop the busi-
Step 3: Assess Current State involve additional training on service proce- ness case to support or refute the criticality of
and Define Future State Gaps dures for capturing customer data. a specific project. The business case seeks to
Through these meetings, we gain an under- “Technology” value opportunities might justify the dollar investment needed and the
standing of the client’s current CRM capabil- include developing a data warehouse. ROI that will be realized over the course of
ities and significant opportunities to improve the investment (usually three to five years).
their customer relationships and map out our Step 5: Link Value Opportunities For example, a typical CRM investment
findings. We also strive to understand the to Strategic CRM Capabilities ranges from $10 to $25 million (or more) over
company’s future direction (usually between Once we determine where the value oppor- a three-to-five year period. The amount is
six months and two years). tunities lie, we map each to the 21 world- wholly dependent upon the number and
We use the results to determine how close class CRM capabilities detailed in the study extent of initiatives identified. For instance, a
the company is to meeting and exceeding its mentioned above. Identifying which strate- marketing insight initiative is typically very
customers’ expectations, and present the gic CRM capabilities are needed enables expensive and often requires the creation of
gaps between its current state of CRM and its companies to more effectively direct their a company-wide data warehouse with links
desired state. CRM efforts and ensure they derive the to legacy systems dispersed throughout the
We then compare the current state of CRM projected value of any CRM projects. company. In addition, to perform the analy-
against best practices within the clients’ Figure 2 illustrates an example of the link sis necessary to glean insight requires spe-
respective industry and across industries that between a specific value opportunity and its cialized software and training for the staff
reveal opportunities to help our client corresponding strategic CRM capabilities. that will use it. Other initiatives can be quite

Defying the Limits • 53

CRM Roadmap

simple. Salesforce automation initiatives With the creation of a “value realization brainstorming sessions, and who is
often fall into this category and offer the addi- plan,” client executives have a tool to judge good at maximizing participation from
tional benefit of introducing CRM concepts the impact of changes to the CRM invest- the client team. Also, it is helpful to
and execution to a company on a small scale ment plan. An accelerated implementation hold brainstorming sessions during
with a high probability of success. could be modeled to quantify the effect of numerous steps within the develop-
The investment cost takes into account earlier CRM benefits. Similarly, an extended ment of the roadmap.
number of users, internal and external investment plan allows them to quantify the 5) Feedback from all affected internal and
human resources, training, infrastructure, impact of a slower implementation in terms external parties (customer groups, other
hardware, software, and implementation of “lost benefits” over time. inter-dependent internal departments)
costs. The typical ROI for this range of must be obtained and considered.
investment, though, could vary from $22 Step 8: Develop a Roll-Out Strategy 6) Do not lose sight of your customers’
million to $110 million. Developing a roll-out strategy enables com- needs.
Each business case should include: panies to focus their resources, money, and 7) Installing technology without changing
• Details and costs of required resources time on the most important projects that help supporting processes and people/
(people, technology, training, out- them become customer driven. organizational elements will not result
sourced resources, etc.) Prioritization and phasing of projects is in a comprehensive CRM Roadmap.
• Projected duration time of each project conducted with the executive team, which 8) Lack of communication can be life
• Options for completing the project evaluates the results of the business cases threatening to a CRM Roadmap proj-
using internal or external resources and considers: financial results, duration, ect. You cannot over communicate.

Value Opportunity Strategic CRM Capability

A Final Thought
• Improve customer • Possess thorough knowledge of the customer Achieving success in developing intimate
understanding • Leverage customer information from the service process and enduring relationships with customers
• Understand customer profitability and cost-to-serve begins with a holistic consideration of a com-
pany’s functions and abilities that affect its
Figure 2 – Value opportunities and corresponding strategic CRM capabilities consumer’s objectives. Developing a CRM
Roadmap, therefore, is a continuous process
and not just a one-time exercise, because cus-
Once the costs are quantified for each proj- level of effort and technical impact required tomers’ needs and preferences change con-
ect, potential benefits are estimated. This is for each project. stantly. The correct strategy can help your
much more difficult than simply quantify- company form deeper relationships with its
ing project costs. The use of our study “How Critical Success Factors consumers, and also obtain a competitive

Much Are CRM Capabilities Really Worth?” To successfully develop a CRM Roadmap, advantage in the marketplace.
provides significant value here. We are able several critical success factors must be kept
to quantify the benefits of mastering spe- in mind: Reference
cific CRM capabilities (identified in Step 5) 1) It is vital to have buy-in from top 1 “How Much Are CRM Capabilities
and thereby, complete the most difficult management. Really Worth? What Every CEO Should
part of the business case. A key require- 2) A strong sponsor is required (skilled, Know.” Accenture 2000.
ment is to ensure that senior executives are knowledgeable, and politically savvy).
in agreement with and will support the 3) It is essential to have buy-in and WEBLINK

extent of expected benefits. involvement from all process owners. Wendy Close of Gartner, Inc. discusses other
Business cases enable a company to prior- 4) It is critical to have a strong leader who CRM strategies in her white paper at The CRM
Project website,
itize each project’s value to the company. can hold constructive, productive

54 • Defying the Limits