The Importance of CRM, but Only as a Recording Device
Remember the phrase, “Everything old is new again”? When I was working at Siebel back in the late '90s and early 2000’s, CRM was definitely disruptive and the marketplace for it became really big, really fast. We sold a lot of CRM deployments, as did our competitors. Some ideas are a flash in the pan while others are interesting for a slightly longer period time, but we knew back then that CRM was here for the long run. It pleases me to observe a resurgence in CRM over the past eighteen months. It seems like many more firms and vendors are re-familiarizing themselves with the compelling benefits of being able to track interactions between sales reps and customers.
Last year IMS acquired 360 Vantage, and salesforce.com and Veeva continue to have strong momentum. Many companies are continuing to arm their sales reps with these tools. However, CRM isn't the complete answer. It's true that CRM is useful to ensure that the rep is efficiently interacting with their customer, but is it really helping him/her meet their goals. Many reps see CRM as a means of management tracking their activities, and feel that the application doesn't add any true guidance to help them sell.
At Reltio we alleviate these concerns, but taking things to the next dimension (literally) by modeling customers in terms of both their master data (MDM) and their transaction and interaction data, pre-aligned through the Reltio Cloud. We believe that modern data management and data-driven applications will provide the insight and analytics that will help reps be more productive. Not only faster and easier than the old-school method of stitching that data together from disparate systems, but literally providing recommended actions directly aligned with the goals of each individual rep.
Those using process-driven applications such as Veeva CRM, salesforce.com sales cloud need not worry, the still have a purpose and as with all legacy applications and data sources, their data needs to be easily loaded and integrated into new modern data management platforms.
There's still life remaining for the recording device capabilities of CRM, but it's longevity will be predicated upon how they can be complemented with a new generation of data-driven applications.