Dreamforce 2013: Becoming A Customer Company

This week at Dreamforce has been all about the Customer Company Revolution. We’ve been discussing themes like personalization, relevance, and exceptional service. It seems simple enough, right? We all know what a great customer experience looks and feels like, so why is it so hard for companies to actually implement?

New Business Models, Old Tools

Many companies, though they have good intentions, are still using old tools and processes for new business models. For example, the traditional CRM, which companies rely upon to manage important customer data, hasn’t kept up with new business models like SaaS.

In the past, businesses were primarily focused on monetizing a product. You release a new software and sell it. It’s a one time transaction. With SaaS, you are not monetizing products, but rather, relationships. Since their revenue is recurring, SaaS companies have ongoing relationships with their customers. Value is established through product usage, making customer engagement a key factor in the overall customer experience.

However, the current model of the CRM rarely takes this into consideration. There is no “engagement” layer to the CRM. As a result, reps have no insight into how customers are actually using their products, or even if they are using them at all. It seems obvious that companies aiming for personalization and relevance in their customer experience will face great difficulty if they don’t go beyond the traditional CRM and incorporate factors like customer engagement.

In short, being a Customer Company means delivering a great customer experience. You can’t do that with a stand alone CRM that doesn’t talk to your other tools.

The Present & Future of CRM

A report released last week by Software Advice analyzed 5,279 CRM software buyers to uncover key trends in the space. In a video follow up to the report, analyst and best-selling author Paul Greenberg’s quote was discussed:

“CRM without integration of these digital channels, without the capture of knowledge, the identification of insight and the personalization of the customer experience, is not CRM…”

Paul’s point highlights the significant role the CRM plays in the overall customer experience, emphasizing that it cannot be separate from other pieces of customer data. Watch Paul’s full interview below.

Where Is CRM Headed?

What do you think? What is the next stage in the evolution of the CRM? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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