Why CRM needs senior management support

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on July 10, 2002

More than half of business executives (55%) say that CRM shortfalls can be partly attributed to a lack of support from top management, according to a new survey published by Accenture.

The survey's findings show that customer relationship management (CRM) has not achieved its full potential. Some 74% of executives say they believe CRM fails because of flawed execution stemming from gaps between the organisation's vision and the execution of that vision.

"Too many CRM projects focus on the mechanics - specific tools and technologies - rather than the ultimate goal: increasing the value of the customer relationship," said John Freeland, Accenture's global managing partner for CRM.

CEOs are now challenged not only to deliver more sophisticated sales and service capabilities but also to deliver and manage those capabilities more quickly and cost-effectively. There are significant challenges in making CRM initiatives pay off. But, when properly conceived and executed, CRM programmes can create exceptional economic value. According to the survey, executives say that better data and customer insight obtained through CRM can increase sales by as much as 20%.

While there has been a great deal of progress in the technologies designed to deliver customer insight, businesses are far from realising the full potential for enhancing customer relationships. The survey found that:

  • More than half of the respondents (56%) said their businesses would grow by anything from 1% to 20% if they could gain access to comprehensive customer data.
  • There was overwhelming agreement that technology capable of delivering "historical, current and real-time data" about customers would significantly drive sales: 35% said sales would increase 'to a great extent', while a slightly less optimistic 43% said sales would increase 'to some extent'.
  • Just over 20% said they felt they were optimising all customer data to a great extent to drive sales, while 47% said such data was being used to some extent.
  • When asked if technology was helping their companies gain better insight into customers, 33% said 'to a great extent', while 54% said 'to some extent'.
  • Among the other reasons most frequently cited for the shortfall of CRM programmes were: no long-term CRM vision; a weak business case for investments; investments not being prioritised; and return on investment not being calculated properly.

Accenture conducted the survey in May 2002, in conjunction with Wirthlin Worldwide. Telephone interviews were conducted with a representative sample of more than 100 leading executives from Fortune 1000 companies, covering an equally distributed range of industries, services, and locales.

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