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What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. The more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends. CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behavior of customers and the value of those customers.

CRM Software
Sales Force Automation

Contact management Contact management software stores, tracks and manages contacts, leads of an enterprise. Lead management Enterprise Lead management software enables an organization to manage, track and forecast sales leads. Also helps understand and improve conversion rates.

eCRM or Web based CRM


Self Service CRM Self service CRM (eCRM) software Enables web based customer interaction, automation of email, call logs, web site analytics, campaign management. Survey Management Software Survey Software automates an enterprise's Electronic Surveys, Polls, Questionnaires and enables understand customer preferences.

Customer Service
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Call Center Software Help Desk Software

Partner Relationship Management


Contract Management Software Contract Management Software enables an enterprise to create, track and manage partnerships, contracts, agreements. Example: Upside Software, Accruent Software, diCarta, I-Many. Distribution management Software

Using CRM, a business can:

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Provide better customer service Increase customer revenues Discover new customers Cross sell/Up Sell products more effectively Help sales staff close deals faster Make call centers more efficient Simplify marketing and sales processes

The advantages can be summarized according to the Feature

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Make intelligent business decisions with enhanced customer insights Increase marketing velocity and speed to market Maximize visibility into and control of your entire marketing process Drive customer demand Increase returns on your marketing investments

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Grow profitable relationships Maintain focus on productive activity Eliminate barriers to productivity Improve sales efficiency Service Transform service into a profitable line of business Increase customer loyalty Drive revenue Reduce costs of customer service and field service Decrease service giveaways

Web channel enablement

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Drive revenue and extend market reach Increase customer convenience and satisfaction Reduce the cost of sales and support Build lasting customer loyalty Improve sales and service profitability

Running an interaction center

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Increase customer satisfaction Improve credibility with your customers Increase revenue and productivity Manage the customer interaction life cycle

Partner channel management

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Boost revenue through channel collaboration Reduce indirect channel support costs Increase partner satisfaction and ease of doing business Maximize value to your customers by enabling your partners

The types of data CRM projects collect

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Responses to campaigns Shipping and fulfillment dates Sales and purchase data Account information Web registration data Service and support records Demographic data Web sales data

CRM aligns marketing processes and drive customer demand using functionality to enhance management of marketing resources, segments and lists, campaigns, leads, trade promotions, and marketing analytics.

CRM enables you to acquire, grow, and retain profitable relationships with functionality for sales planning and forecasting and the management of territories, accounts, contacts, activities, opportunities, quotations, orders, product configuration, pricing, billing, and contracts.

CRM can drive service revenue and profitability with support for service sales and marketing. More effectively manage service orders, contracts, complaints and returns, in-house and depot repairs, warranties, resource planning, e-service, and service analytics. Functionality to support call centers, field service, and e-service provides flexible delivery options.

Partner channel management

With CRM you can attain a more profitable and loyal indirect channel by managing partner relationships and empowering channel partners. Improve processes for partner recruitment and management, communications, channel marketing and forecasting, collaborative selling, partner order management, channel service, and analytics for partners and channel managers.

Running an interaction center

Customer interaction centers are places where you meet your customer face to face. With CRM, you can maximize customer loyalty, cut costs, and boost revenue by transforming your

interaction center into a strategic delivery channel for marketing, sales, and service efforts across all touch points. Effectively handle activities such as telemarketing, telesales, customer service, human resources, IT support, and interaction center management.

Web channel enablement

Increase sales and reduce transaction costs by turning the Internet into a valuable sales, marketing, and service channel for businesses and consumers. Increase profitability and reach new markets with a fully integrated Web channel, including support for e-marketing, ecommerce, e-service, and Web channel analytics.

Business communications management

Manage inbound and outbound contacts across multiple locations and channels. Integrate multichannel communications with customer-facing business processes to provide customers and partners with seamless, consistent experiences across all channels, including voice, text messaging, the Web, and e-mail.

Real-time offer management

Turn all customer interactions into opportunities to build customer relationships and generate revenue. Plan, develop, and execute cross-selling, up-selling, and retention offers; servicelevel agreements; and more. Take appropriate subsequent actions to enhance customer relationships and ensure relevant and personalized customer interactions.

Trade promotion management

CRM will boost a company's brand presence and profits with visibility into and control of all trade related processes. Increase accounting accuracy of trade and financial results with back office integration. Gain key business insights to help you optimize trade activities. Increase your trade promotion success with analytics and enhanced management of trade funds, promotions, claims, and retail execution. Every December 24th is treated as customers day. Today every organization is aiming at utmost customer satisfaction. In a way many companies are doing well to satisfy customer by improving the quality of products and services. But is that the all the customer wants? One should aim beyond this in order to retain their cutomers.Customer needs are growing day by day. They want quality products and services with reducing costs. The outlook of customers

is changing day by day and simply satisfying them is not enough but an organization should work for the customer delight. This is what the present day customer aims at.

"Happy customers tell 4 to 5 others of their positive experience. Dissatisfied customers tell 9 to 12 how bad it was." Quotes Mark Steven. It clearly says how important it is to to satisfy and delight a customer in order to grow in business. It's a well known fact that no business can exist without customers. In the business, it's important to work closely with your customers to make sure your business is for them and is as close to their requirements as you can manage. Because it's critical that you form a close working relationship with your client, customer service is of vital importance. Make your customers feel valued, wanted and loved.

Customer satisfaction,
business term, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. It is seen as a key performance indicator within business and is part of the four perspectives of a Balanced Scorecard.

Customer delight
brings customers coming back for more. It causes new customers to come. It takes to out of the realm of being the same as all the others and places you clearly at the top. It distinguishes you from the rest. It allows you to sell your product or service for more money than the competition. It allows you to make more return on your investment. It allows you to reward your employees. In this article let us see what different people say to achieve customer satisfaction and customer delight. Employee Training. Train employees in the manner that you want them to interact with customers. Empower employees to make decisions that benefit the customer. Customer Incentives. Give customers a reason to return to your business. For instance, because children outgrow shoes quickly, the owner of a childrens shoe store might offer a card that makes the tenth pair of shoes half price. Likewise, a dentist may give a free cleaning to anyone who has seen him regularly for five years. Product Awareness. Know what your steady patrons purchase and keep these items in stock. Add other products and/or services that accompany or compliment the products that your regular customers buy regularly. And make sure that your staff understands everything they can about your products. Reliability. If you say a purchase will arrive on Wednesday, deliver it on Wednesday. Be reliable. If something goes wrong, let customers know immediately and compensate them for their inconvenience.

Be Flexible. Try to solve customer problems or complaints to the best of your ability. Excuses such as "That's our policy" will lose more customers then setting the store on fire. Read our 60-Second Guide to Managing Upset Customers for more information. People over Technology. The harder it is for a customer to speak to a human being when he or she has a problem, the less likely it is that you will see that customer again. Know Their Names. Remember the theme song to the television show Cheers? Get to know the names of regular customers or at least recognize their faces.

Can Customer Loyalty be bought?

Forget about customer relationship management software, customer loyalty programs and cards. Customer loyalty can't be bought. It must be earned. Learn the 8 ways your small business can earn customer loyalty. There is no shortage of lip service in corporate America these days about customer loyalty. The advent of the loyalty movement began in the 80's in the airline industry and expanded to cover every major industry. Research firm Gartner estimates American businesses spent more than 1 billion dollars on loyalty programs in the year 2003 itself. Over 75% of consumers have at least one loyalty card, according to Jupiter Research. But does it pay?

Does Customer Loyalty Pay?

A mere 5 % increase in customer retention can result in a 75% increase in customer value according to Fred Reichheld, author of "Loyalty Rules". A great reason to pay attention to loyalty. Here are more benefits: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. grab more sales from existing customer base help spread word of mouth marketing identify product/service problems earlier improve profitability provide a competitive advantage Defining Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the practice of finding, attracting, and retaining your customers who regularly purchase from you. Customer loyalty is not customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the basic entry point of good business practices. Your small business should provide satisfaction to all your customers. Loyalty cards and programs have their rewards and pitfalls. Rewarding customers for spending more dollars can create a vicious cycle of creating customers who want rewards and will look anywhere to obtain them. With loyalty cards and programs reaching a saturation point, how can a small business stand out? Software, card programs, and loyalty schemes are the tools of customer loyalty programs but they aren't the essence of loyalty. To build loyalty, you must earn it. Look at these 8 ways to earn more customer loyalty for your small business

The customer Loyalty Pyramid

So the main premise of the Pyramid of Customer Loyalty is that you build your most profitable and long lasting business relationships when you are able to devote more time to really understanding what your customers value. By doing this the nature of your relationship will go from vendor-customer, implying just a financial relationship open to outside competitors, to trusted partner/valued advisor. This is where your customers view you as important to their business, and in fact become your biggest supporters inside and outside of their organizations, bringing you leads without you asking them to do so. This is great stuff, but it can only happen if you can put the time in to focus on how to deliver what's important to them. And in order to do this, you must find ways to automate the routine and time consuming processes of finding and catching new customers. Using the latest tools like slogging, wikis and the like to extend your reach and provide richer communications channels to showcase your knowledge and expertise can be a great low-cost, effective way to do just that. And if you use the web to generate and determine good leads from deadbeats, you'll free up time to turn customers into clients, and clients into advocates and partners.

Rewards Programs
The key challenge in developing an effective rewards program is researching the key elements that will drive loyalty. Many companies assume that gifts will drive return purchases. That might prove to be a bad assumption. In a recent project, we were tasked with identifying the components of a rewards program for an educational service division of a major technology company. Contrary to the expectations of the research sponsors, t-shirts and even PDAs were not seen as meaningful. Instead, the research group, which was comprised of both current and prospective customers, found greater value in content-rich rewards, items that were not readily available that supplemented the educational service they were purchasing. How did we find this out? We applied a multi-stage research approach. First, we conducted a series of focus groups to understand the field of inquiry better. Armed with this understanding, we then performed a conjoint analysis, which is extremely valuable in fleshing out the underlying value that people find in a range of options. This fact-based approach allowed the development of a rewards program that generated value in the eyes of the target customers.

Company Loyalty First: Customer loyalty is a 2-way street. How can you expect customer loyalty if you don't practice company loyalty? Are you loyal to your best customers or are you giving discounts and extra attention to new customers? Loyalty is about being fanatical with devotion to your best customers. Employee Loyalty Second: Any customer loyalty program must factor in the front line of the business. It's the point of contact between customer and employee that sets the foundation of repeat business. "Hire for attitude, train for skill. Hire nice people. As a customer, I'm always amazed when small businesses put unfriendly, surly people in front of their customers. Loyalty is often the direct result of the relationships your employees build and maintain," says Ben McConnell of marketing consulting firm Wabash & Lake and co-author of "Creating Customer Evangelists." Quench the Thirst: Consumers are thirsty for trust following corporate scandals and the general distrust of corporations. If your small business is not trustworthy, your odds of establishing customer loyalty are diminished. Establish good business ethics and practices. Finding Loyalty: Any small business wishing to start a customer loyalty initiative needs first to identify important customers and understand their customer's behaviors. Use whatever tools, software, and data-mining techniques to locate your repeat, regular customers. Equally vital is to know your profit margins. Don't offer discounts until you know the impact on your bottom line. Reward Customer Retention: The key metric to track in your customer loyalty program is customer retention. How many customers are defecting? How many clients are retained? Measuring customer retention is half the battle. Your staff must be rewarded for retention. Your small business doesn't have to be like big corporations who talk retention but reward sales people for bringing in new customers only. Use Customer-centric Language: It's easy to think you put the customer first. However, take a closer look at your marketing communications. How many times does your literature refer to "we" the company versus "you" the customer? Go back and speak from the customer's perspective. Bolster Customer Communications: Part of customer loyalty and retention are maintaining regular contact with your most profitable customers. Communication to your best customers should take the form of showing your appreciation and providing new learning experiences to add value to your customer's life. Send special thank-you notes, surprise gifts, and regular communications such as newsletters to connect with them. Use the Small Business Advantage: Small business will always have the advantage in connecting with customers and building a solid relationship. Your passion for helping customers with your products and services is difficult for large companies to replicate. As customer evangelist guru Ben McConnell states, "Small businesses thrive on outstanding customer loyalty. It's their currency of growth and their best differentiator. Without loyalty, small businesses are destined to compete on a playing field with larger competitors where they are outnumbered and outwitted.

Win the customer service game by putting customer loyalty to work in your small business. Just remember, it's more than cards and software. It's more about earning trust and relationship building.

Type # 1: A Membership Program.

Membership programs are one of the best ways to keep customers coming back. Most programs provide special incentives to members as part of their membership. Today I had lunch with one of my employees at Sam's Club (best lunch deal around). Sam's Club is a membership-based retail store. Another good example of a membership program is where I go running every morning - - the YMCA.

Type # 2: A Rewards Program.

Rewards programs provide gifts and perks that are "earned" according to the amount of business your customers do with you. In the hot tub retail industry many manufacturers have an annual trip that only their most successful dealers get to enjoy. This year I went to speak at one of these "shindigs" in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and I'll tell you that it IS a party. The dealers who get to attend have "earned" their way by selling a pre-set amount of hot tubs throughout the year.

Type # 3: Create a Community.

Every human has a deep inner need to belong to a community. "Belonging" gives us security and helps us to understand our place in life. How do you create a community? Recently I purchased a pair of running shoes at a local sports store called, "On the Run." On the Run creates a community by sponsoring marathon and triathlon training programs and sponsoring local running events

Type # 4: Create Intertwined Business Processes.

This is not so much a traditional customer loyalty program...BUT, it's the absolute best way that I know how to GUARANTEE that your customers will keep coming back. Basically, this method consists of positioning your business processes so deep into your client's or customer's business processes that it would financially hurt their business if they were to stop doing business with you. For example, I run all my web businesses using this one tool, which you can see here. If I were to decide to move to another service, it would literally rip the guts out of my business. I'm "locked in."

That's guaranteed customer loyalty. Customer loyalty, not customer satisfaction, is key to the success of an organization, and customer loyalty is fostered when an organization excels along two dimensions:
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Design of its Products - including its Service Products Operational Execution - or Conformance - to the Design

Many companies focus on rewarding customers who have repeat purchases. Such reward programs have their place in assuring customer loyalty. However, if the product or service doesn't meet customer needs, no reward program will keep them returning. For success in the long run, an organization must continuously improve. Quickly identify and resolve problems to the customer's satisfaction -- or more Learning is the root of continuously improving design and execution, and the life blood of learning is feedback. Strong, effective customer feedback loops do not just happen. Structured, comprehensive research programs are necessary to provide the data upon which to develop projects and initiatives to improve customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty research programs

The first step in customer loyalty research programs is formulating the objectives. Next, the current state of customer loyalty needs to be documented. That is, what is the satisfaction level and the defection rate? Depending on the state of the company's data bases, the latter figure may be difficult to ascertain. Then, data collection projects, such as survey questionnaires and other research tools, must be developed. The goal in these tools is to find out customers' satisfaction level and how many customers are defecting. Follow-on detailed research should help determine why customers are defecting. Once the feedback is captured and analyzed, the findings must be communicated to the root source where improvement is needed. The result: better products and processes that foster customer loyalty and long run profitability. Many companies conduct a customer satisfaction survey, place a check mark on their "to do" list, and go on about normal business. While periodic in-depth research helps to identify needed changes in service product design, continuous listening to customers' perceptions about completed service transactions allows a service organization to keep a vigilant eye on service quality. By applying Statistical Process Control techniques to transaction-based survey data, root cause analysis can identify areas needing improvement or successful aspects of the service operation to strengthen. This survey research is the heart of a customer loyalty program, complemented by 1) occasional focused interviews to unearth the contextual data about process shortcomings, 2) complaint solicitation and 3) a robust service recovery program. With this base, then a rewards program can be designed that targets customers. Your home based business success will hinge on many key components, however developing customer loyalty should be near the top of any home based business development plan. Its easy to talk about developing customer loyalty; actually implementing a plan for customer

retention is quite another matter. Its importance should not be excluded from your overall business plan. Here are a few tips to establish a foundation for your home based business success. these principles have served me well for over 30 years. Remember you are establishing a business , a legitimate business. Your reliability, credibility and dedication to your customers needs cannot be overlooked. Successful businesss practice it everyday and insist upon it in their employees. Customer loyalty matters

Are you reliable? Do you deliver what you promise? You want to be unique? Be reliable. You make an appointment with someone, you better keep it. Your customer may allow you to miss one, most can accept that. Miss another and they will look elsewhere for an answer. Have you ever been told by a service company, cable company just came to my mind we will be there at 2 PM somewhere around the next day you get a call with an apology and an attempt at rescheduling your appointment. How did you feel? Customer Service has become the oxymoron of the 21st century, but you have the ability to change that for your home based business. I will make this really easy for you. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. It is that simple.

Your home based business at its core should be tied to credibility. Establishing yourself as a credible resource for you customers begins the moment you decide to start your home based business. I can make an argument that it begins even before that. You will promote products and services to your customers. Are these products credible or are you just trying to sell something? Believe it; your customers will know the difference. I try very hard not to advertise or put advertisers on my site products or services I dont use or would not use myself. That sometimes costs me money. I have turned down advertisers that dont align with my philosophy or purpose. I am trying to protect my credibility. You should too.

Safety? Yes providing your customer a safe haven when they visit your site is paramount to your home based business success. Does your site visitor feel threatened when they arrive for the first time? If so you can be sure they wont be back. You should be looking to create an atmosphere of security and stability for your site visitor. I visit home based business sites everyday. I want to link to those sites. If you are like me it takes about 10 seconds for me to decide if I am going to stay. The look and feel of your site is important. I want to feel safe about being there, if not, it is the back button as quick as I can get my cursor there.

Follow Up
Do you want the one time buyer or do you want repeat business? I have recommended many other products to my customers. I follow up with every one of them after the sale. I want to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase and determine how else I can help them in the future. I may or may not sell another product to them. That is not my purpose in the communication. I want them to think of my home based business first when their needs inevitably occur again. I am telling you this just isnt prevalent in todays fast paced, get rich

quick culture. It now is make money and move on. No why have I done that? I have provided a reliable resource for them. I have suggested credible products and service, in turn establishing my own credibility. They tell a friend and their friend tells a friend. Your customer, turned regular customer, is now you advocate. Soon your home based business is on its way to becoming viral. I have provided a safe haven for them to glean information about those products and services. I communicate before and after the sale and assure them I have a personal interest in their satisfaction. Seems rather simple doesnt it? Then why doesnt everyone do it? You tell me, please. The ladder of customer loyalty talks about the different types of customers the company encounters. The aim of relationship marketing is to retain customers, as it can cost a company anything as up to six times as much to attract new customers. There are five steps in this ladder. Starting with:

A suspect is someone who comes across your companies promotion. They are a potential suspect for your company.

If the person is interested in your promotion they become a potential prospect.

A customer is someone who purchases either your product or service.

Clients are those who come back to you.

Promotes your business on your behalf. They are so happy about your product/service that they tell others.

Figure: Ladder of Customer Loyalty Source: You can see from the ladder a company should hope to retain customers to the extent that systems in place help promote the customer to advocate level. It makes sense for the company on spending money to retain customers and keeping them happy so they can become advocates for you, therefore bringing in the business on your behalf.

Here is an example of airlines Customer Loyalty Model

Generating customer loyalty is a complex process. Creating a brand from scratch and making it successful may be the most difficult thing to achieve in business anywhere. The true reason of the companys concentration on the customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty is primary due to the fact that the customer is the one that will purchase the companys products. So every company works in the direction of retaining the current customers and increasing the number of potential customers.

The defining factor between success and failure of CRM - Change Management
Change management is often the defining factor between success and failure in CRM projects. While the business of change management continues to grow through books, seminars, and consultants, managers are as confused as ever when asked to implement appropriate change management as part of the CRM initiative. CRM strives to make the entire organization customer-centric and this new orientation mandates systemic changes throughout the organization. Successful change management comprises of five key initiatives: selling change internally, creating an appropriate infrastructure for change management, CRM-relevant training, a reconfiguration of the organization structure and performance assessment criteria, and a remolding of the existing incentive systems. The role of the HR department in facilitating change should never be underestimated.

What Change management is about?

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. A somewhat ambiguous term, change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all three aspects. For an organization, change management means defining and implementing procedures and/or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities. Successful adaptation to change is as crucial within an organization as it is in the natural world. Just like plants and animals, organizations and the individuals in them inevitably encounter changing conditions that they are powerless to control. The more effectively you deal with change, the more likely you are to thrive. Adaptation might involve establishing a structured methodology for responding to changes in the business environment (such as a fluctuation in the economy, or a threat from a competitor) or establishing coping mechanisms for responding to changes in the workplace (such as new policies, or technologies).

Change management principles

1. At all times involve and agree support from people within system (system = environment, processes, culture, relationships, behaviours, etc., whether personal or organisational). 2. Understand where you/the organisation is at the moment. 3. Understand where you want to be, when, why, and what the measures will be for having got there. 4. Plan development towards above No.3 in appropriate achievable measurable stages. 5. Communicate, involve, enable and facilitate involvement from people, as early and openly and as fully as is possible.

Kotter's eight step change model

Kotter's eight step change model can be summarised as:
1. Increase urgency - inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant. 2. Build the guiding team - get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels. 3. Get the vision right - get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy, focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency. 4. Communicate for buy-in - Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people's needs. De-clutter communications - make technology work for you rather than against. 5. Empower action - Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders - reward and recognise progress and achievements. 6. Create short-term wins - Set aims that are easy to achieve - in bite-size chunks. Manageable numbers of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones. 7. Don't let up - Foster and encourage determination and persistence - ongoing change encourage ongoing progress reporting - highlight achieved and future milestones. 8. Make change stick - Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave change into culture.

The Role of Change Management in CRM

Simply put, change management within the CRM context is all about getting users to adopt new business processes and practices and the technology that enables these processes and practices. Change management should be viewed as an integral part of CRM if it is to receive the attention it deserves. This has been conveyed in Figure 1.

Figure 1 CRM and Change Management There are a variety of reasons that CRM fails. Generally speaking, a lack of planning is a sure fire way to fail. One of the critical parts of the planning process is identifying the risk of low user adoption. A solid change management program must be implemented to address this before it ever appears on the radar screen. Just about every business out there has multiple departments. These are also referred to as functional silos and each is tasked with certain functions. Over time, these functions cement themselves into the ownership mentality taken on by each employee in that silo (department). This ownership complex can result in turf wars if it is threatened or invaded. Silo workers are walled off from the other silos in the organization. That's why they are often referred to as silos. The work performed is always within the silo. But many CRM initiatives attempt to tear down the walls and force these workers to suddenly work together, with a new focus on the customer (not their internal process). Maybe there's an example out there where this has worked, but I haven't heard about it.

A simple plan for change

When the CRM change is coming, the C-Level executives need to be out there letting the organization know that the customer will become the center of their business activities. And the CEO needs to be leading the cheer. But change management is more than that. You need to build a cross-functional team of key players for a couple of reasons. First, no single person has a unique and comprehensive perspective on how to re-work an organization. And second, the inclusion of these key players handles the turf ownership issue because they become owners of the new process as they help identify it. Keeping them focused is a challenge, but make sure they are reminded that every consideration must benefit

the customer first and then benefit the company. If it passes that test, existing turf battles are harder to mount. Your team should consist of not only department managers, but also key customer facing line staff that can give you deeper perspective. Here are players I would recommend:
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Sales Manager and two key sales reps (one star one average) Marketing Manager and two subordinates Customer Service Manager and two CSRs IT Manager Human Resources Manager Possibly a representative from Manufacturing or production if that makes sense.

You may need to rotate others in and out as the program evolves, but these key players will be the core of the team. You will also need a team leader. If there is someone within your company that can survive this process, use them. Otherwise, it might make sense to hire a consultant with experience in change management to be objective and keep things moving.

Parallel thinking in CRM - The 6 hat Thinking

It is an aid to
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Problem solving Decision making Creativity Innovation

Pressures in Global Competition

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Customer pressure Pressure to establish as the preferred supplier Pressure to give best quality Therefore, pressure to have best processes/best practices Price pressures Therefore, pressure to contain overall costs

Special Features of Parallel Thinking or Six Thinking Hats


Key ingredient to address all these pressures, mentioned earlier, is "to improve" and "how to improve". Parallel thinking or six thinking hats is an excellent wholesome system of finding the right answers to problems or situations, looking at them from all the angles equally well and also involving people or teams to obtain the best synergies out of them.

When more people come together, invariably, they may have conflicting views but six thinking hats system, if followed correctly, takes all of them and their various views together without allowing any conflict to take place. Adversarial positions normally taken by the participants in a group set-up get dissipated through the unique process of deliberations and discussions that is adopted in six thinking hats or parallel thinking. It is never easy to change the personalities of people and may be, your own personality, quickly and completely. Six thinking hats is a powerful way of making your and others' thinking behavior more productive, constructive and effective with your and others' existing personalities.

Advantages of Six Thinking Hats Framework

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Improves exploration Saves time Improves creativity and innovation Fosters collaborative behavior One learns to think in parallel with other team members Keeps egos and turf protection in check Reduces adversarial approach in all interactions One can lead and conduct more effective and productive meetings

Six Hats and Their Use

In this approach you think from six different angles over the same problem, issue, situation or solution alone or in a group. You wear six hats of different colors in succession, one at a time and look at the problem or solution from a specific angle which the color of the hats prescribes. Colors of these six types of hats and their roles are given below: 1. Blue Hat (Reflective)
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Control hat- the manager hat The organizing hat that is manager of the deliberations It is for planning and deciding the process of using the other five hats Organizes thinking Sets the focus Monitors and reflects on thinking

2. Red Hat (Intuitive)

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Feelings about problem, solution or suggestion Gut reactions Intuitions One does not have to think too long or too hard when wearing the red hat

3. White Hat (Informative)

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Where is the information? Information Facts and figures What is relevant? When wearing the while hat, one is neutral in thinking

4. Yellow Hat (Constructive)

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Sun shine hat Positive and constructive Effectiveness Getting job done Benefits and advantages

5. Black Hat (Cautious)

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Caution hat Devil's advocate Errors and pitfalls Risks or dangers Difficulties and problems

6. Green Hat (Creative)

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Creative mode of thinking Growth and movement New ideas and solutions Lateral thinking

Six Thinking Hats - Organization and Process of Implementation

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Need for trained facilitator- trained in using and monitoring six thinking hats system Role clarification of the facilitator Members in the group Clarifications of the role of the members Provide training to facilitator and members on six thinking hats approach Get the expertise and services of an expert experienced consultant to design and conduct training in this approach and also in assisting implementation

While the vital role of change management in making CRM projects successful has been acknowledged for quite some time, there is little in extant literature to explain the nature and conduct of change management in the CRM context. Change management in CRM strives to make the entire organization customer-centric. Successful change management involves four key initiatives: selling change internally, creating an appropriate infrastructure for change management, training, and a reconfiguration of the organization structure and performance

assessment measures. The role of the HR department in facilitating change can never be overestimated.

People Change Management - A prerequisite to successful CRM Implementation

People Change Management is one of the most important tasks that determine the success of the CRM Implementation. As we know, most of the people are reluctant to change because of factors like sense of insecurity, inherent inertia, insufficient knowledge about the change etc. Hence it is very essential to plan for the People Change Management well in advance before the CRM Implementation (in fact right from the time we capture business requirements) otherwise people (front office / back office people) will either reject the new CRM Application or will start complaining about it. It is very important to address some of the questions coming to their mind like:
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What is the benefit that I am going to get out of this CRM Application? Will I lose my Job if this gets implemented? What should I do differently after the CRM Implementation? What is the benefit of this CRM Application to my company? Is the CRM Application going to satisfy my customer needs? Is the CRM Application easy to use? (e.g. Can I use both Keyboard shortcuts and Mouse?, How effective is the search in the application?) Is the application fast to reduce the call handling time? Can I save customer call handling time by doing some settings / personalization? Have I got enough training including hands on training on the CRM Application? Is there sufficient training documentation to make myself comfortable with the Application?

Some of the techniques that could be employed to address these people change management issues are:

y y y y y y

Involve the operational people (call center agents, back office people) in the requirements gathering exercise and capture operational requirements along with Business Requirements. Understand their pain points and show your inclination to address these operational pain points. Inform the benefits of implementing the new CRM Application in the organization through user workshops, meetings and through e-mailers. Inform them how the new application is going to address their operational pain points, increase operational convenience and reduce their workload / effort. Provide detailed training including hands on training prior to launch and address all their queries with the application. Provide support and guidance to the people through gold users in their learning phase to make them comfortable. Enhance employee moral through rewards and recognitions.

Thus in short, people change management if planned well in advance, will ensure cooperation and participation from the operational people and will lead to successful CRM Implementation.

Practices that Facilitate Successful CRM according to the following categories


Training Training is the process of teaching employees new skills, and then reinforcing those skills (Siebel White Paper, 2004). Employees more readily accept change when they feel comfortable with their level of mastery of their new skills (Siebel White Paper, 2004). Leadership (selling change) Leadership is the process of managing and championing the change efforts, overseeing change activities, and providing strong sponsorship and commitment to enforce change in the face of criticisms and organizational discomfort (Siebel White Paper, 2004, p. 13). Infrastructure change The massive infrastructure change needed in order to support large implementations, such as CRM, necessitates technological, as well as organizational change (Kale, 2005). The change must include organizational change roles and teams that can support and spearhead all levels of change, while paying special attention to knowledge of existing culture, the propensity of culture-change within the organization, and an appreciation of the political considerations involving change (Kale, 2005, p. 5). Performance measures The imperative organizational and behavioral changes that take place during a CRM implementation directly impact the roles of all the key stakeholders (McGovern and Panaro, 2004, p. 31). Performance Kanellakis 58 measures are the constant reevaluation of new roles and competencies created as a result of the change (McGovern and Panaro, 2004). (Source: Nicholas Kanellakis)

CRM Change Management

Introducing new CRM technology or wanting to get more out of existing CRM technology requires a firm realization and commitment to change. SRD Group has developed a successful and globally recognised methodology for CRM change management. This is summarized in the Transformational Change Cycle for CRM graphic below.

Figure 2 Transformational change cycle

Some research Findings

Forrester Research recently completed a study of the best ways to get value out of CRM initiatives. 38 of the 58 business leaders we interviewed identified promoting wide user adoption as critical to getting value from CRM. Nearly the same number, 34, mentioned the importance of defining and aligning business processes. 23 mentioned executive sponsorship, and 21 pointed to the need for strong data management practices. Defining the right metrics for CRM was mentioned by 13 of the executives interviewed. This data highlights clearly the importance of appointing someone to be responsible for the "change management" aspects of a CRM upgrade.