Europe is catching up with the US: CRM is a key boardroom issue for most European companies, and some four out of five realise that implementing it will require changes to their traditional business models, processes and culture. In all, 67% of European companies (against 74% in the US) have undertaken a CRM initiative in the last two years. This is all revealed in a survey of 242 senior marketing, sales and customer service executives from 145 companies in 14 countries, commissioned by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young with Gartner Consulting.
Taking CRM seriously
According to Paul Nannetti, CRM Leader for Europe at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, "This research demonstrates that European-based companies are taking CRM seriously, and we have found that most expect considerable growth in their CRM budgets over the coming year or so. There are also clear signs that European companies are becoming more sophisticated with their CRM programmes, and starting to take a holistic view of their investments. It's interesting that respondents rated customer-centric visioning, in which executives develop an enterprise view of their strategy from the customer perspective, as the most valuable CRM initiative undertaken."
Not perfect yet
The research also found that, while companies seem to be moving towards appreciating the importance of CRM, they were lacking in some of the essential concepts. To implement CRM properly requires a change of focus: the customer becomes central and all levels of command should appreciate and work towards this. Less than half of the companies had an executive with specific responsibility for CRM. Most of the companies remain centred around product groups or geographical areas, instead of customer segments. And almost half still undertake initiatives separately at a department level instead of a cross-functional or company-wide approach.
Cap Gemini Ernst & Young have developed a CRM Index, which includes data for over four hundred large US companies (now being extended to incorporate the European data from this survey). It provides industry-specific and best-in-class comparisons of CRM strategy and implementation. By examining whether a company leans towards broad market focus or one-to-one relationships, and whether its technology and processes are highly integrated or fragmented, the Index places the company within one of nine models. According to Nannetti. "[The CRM Index] allows management to take a balanced view of its CRM initiatives by weighing the consequences of strategic and organisational decisions with the corresponding process and technology requirements. This is an essential first step before embarking on a major investment in CRM."