CRM Explained

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Optimising the mutual value of the relationship between the organisation and customer.

First Principles

Are your customers smiling?

  1. "Do customers smile when they hear your name?"
  2. Customers don't care - "What's in it for me? Just make my life easier!"
  3. Customers base their perceptions, expectations and demands on the sum of their experiences - not just with "your" company.
  4. Have customers = by definition you have a CRM strategy! 



Current State

Over the years CRM has diverged down two separate, but intricately linked paths.

CRM as a Technology Solution

CRM is a system(s) for capturing and collecting customer level behavioural data, and utilising that data to have more systematic, structured interactions with the customer.

CRM technology as the solution?

Perspective is:

  1. Bottom up planning. Tactical/ operational,  departmental/ functional.
  2. Technology - Centric.
  3. Customer.


Organisations with informal, ad-hoc CRM thinking typically have Technology Solution as their default position, only occasionally moving to Business Strategy thinking.

CRM as a Business Strategy

CRM refers to the policies, programs and related technologies that organisations develop and execute, with the intent of optimising their relations with customers. 

CRM as a strategy.

Perspective is: 

  1. Top Down planning. Corporate strategic.
  2. Business - centric.


Organisations with more structured CRM thinking, default to the Business Strategy first, then when appropriate, move to the technology.

It Depends.

The appropriate perspective is dependent on the objectives of the organisation. Self diagnosis is risky - often treating only symptoms and not addressing the underlying issues.

Complexity will only increase as CRM evolves. Technological and organisational strategies/ capabilities have to be in synch to realise maximum benefits.

CRM 0.5

  • Database marketing
  • Contact management
  • Direct marketing
    • List management
  • Call Centre
  • ...

CRM 1.0

  • Sales Force automation (SFA)
  • Campaign Management
  • Customer Contact Centre
  • Multi-channel
  • Personalisation 1.0
  • Customer Analytics
    • Data warehouse/ mart
    • OLAP
    • Lifetime Value
    • Segmentation
  • ...

 CRM 2.0

  • SaaS (Cloud)
  • Customer Experience Management (CEM/ CX)
  • Voice of the Customer (VoC)
  • Social CRM
  • Personalisation 2.0
  • Mobile CRM
  • Omni-channel
  • Privacy/ data breach
  • Sharing economy
  • Advanced Analytics
    • Customer Scoring
    • Big Data
    • Data Visualisation
    • Predictive Analytics
    • Machine Learning
    • Data Mining
  • ...

CRM 3.0

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Bitcoin/ Blockchain
  • What can you imagine?

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