Sameer Patel Keynote: Did We Forget the “R” in CRM? [#e2conf]

Sameer Patel (Sovos Group) asks if we’ve forgotten the “relationships” in CRM.

[These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • What’s Wrong with CRM? “CRM is…one…giant…contact management and reporting tool.” It tends to be used for static one-way communications with clients. It rarely is used to create and build relationships over time. So what’s the point?
  • Where are the Customers? They are not willing to answer your sales calls via the telephone (at meal times) or via email. Rather, they prefer to talk to other customers to learn about your services and products. With search engines, access to information regarding your products and services has been equalized — it’s no longer your company’s exclusive domain.
  • What do Customers Expect? They want a productive relationship with you. How does this work? they want engagement not data — they want to connect with the experts in your organization who can help them. The expectations regarding latency are changing as well. If your product/service is relatively simple, they expect speedy answers. If your product/service is relatively complex, the customer will give you more time, but they expect a speedy and authentic acknowledgement that you are committed to solving their problem. Finally, they expect global competency and local relevancy. Connect them with the people who can help — regardless of location.
  • Who needs to be involved? Not just the folks in sales and marketing. You also need subject matter experts within your organization, as well as the people at the edge (e.g., the person who makes the deliveries.)
  • Move Past the Social Software Group Hug. The feel good group hug has been nice, but now we need to identify and track hard data that can help us improve performance. What sorts of things should you be tracking? Changes in lead time, effects on known performance objectives within the company.

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