“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
- Peter Drucker
Every day, businesses around the world deploy customer relationship management (CRM) in the hopes of selling faster and smarter, building engaging experiences, delivering personalized messages and more. Gartner estimated CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion in 2017, overtaking database management systems revenue to become the largest software market globally.
In fact, many customers today employ multiple CRMs across lines of business, departments or regions, which only compounds the problems with maximizing CRM value. The ubiquitous nature of CRM means more businesses than ever invest tens of thousands of dollars (if not more), multiple staff hours and tremendous resources building and launching their system. Yet, for many companies, gaining fast time-to-value remains difficult. Moreover, maximizing the value that extends beyond competitors using similar solutions is equally challenging.
In other words, what can companies do to get the most out of their CRM and gain a competitive edge?
The next evolution of CRM – what can be called CRM 2.0 – involves taking readily available customer data from multiple disparate sources to create a single, correct record of truth that empowers marketing and boosts sales. Leveraging master data management (MDM), businesses can stitch together a unified customer profile that is accurate and up-to-date for use throughout the customer journey and with every customer interaction. It provides the foundation of a comprehensive understanding of your target audiences that can be used for business intelligence (BI), data warehouses, data lakes and other applications and platforms.
Cracks in the CRM solution
While CRM solutions have been a boon to businesses of every era since their inception in the 1990s, even today’s 21st-century solutions have addressable issues that revolve around customer data. This is why Experian reports in its 2017 Global Data Management Report that 64% of respondents state they rely on incomplete or inaccurate customer data, including:
- Missing data: CRM data, entered from your sales staff or customers, often contains gaps in information, including home address, cell phone, business, demographic data or purchase history.
- Antiquated data: Email, physical address, and telephone number are just some of the details that change over time. Whether your prospects have moved to a new home or altered professions, campaigns that rely on out-of-date information will fail before they begin.
- Inaccurate data: Typos or inaccuracies in web forms and operational systems like CRM are just a few of the ways bad data enters your system. In addition, conflicting information often exists when deploying multiple operational systems or CRMs. For instance, CRM 1 contains half the picture of the customer, CRM 2 includes the other half, and ERP contains contradictory data.
CRM solutions have changed the way businesses reach customers and understand their needs. But sales staff and marketers can only leverage the solution to its fullest if it’s fueled with high-quality data. And treating CRM solutions as independent, isolated systems means you’re missing an opportunity to eliminate data gaps and inaccurate information. If you improve your customer data and connect CRM data with other siloed systems, you can enhance its value. Conversely, overlooking incomplete or erroneous customer profiles can lead companies down the wrong path.
Fueling your CRM with superior data
CRM gives businesses the ability to track and analyze the interactions with customers and prospects by simplifying, securing and scaling customer engagement. It allows organizations to increase leads, close more deals and drive customer satisfaction. But, the vital lifeline of a successful CRM involves mastering customer data – or powering it with robust customer profiles.
Mastering your customer data allows your business to create the “golden customer record.” Disparate records, whether from multiple CRM instances or various marketing automation, ecommerce, warehouse and inventory management systems, are linked and resolved of duplicate and missing information. The result is the formation of high-confidence customer data that can be shared with sales, marketing and others.
And, how do you master your data to build this single unified view? How can you give your CRM the boost it needs to gain greater ROI for every intended function?
The answer is MDM, which is a connected, flexible and scalable platform that provides the efficient management of master data, giving you a single point of truth for business-critical data (e.g., CRM data). MDM is a central hub to consolidate, cleanse, enhance and govern master data, which can take the form of product, customer, supplier, location and asset information. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that MDM can only be successful if you set up the right processes and involve the right people, ensuring governance and stewardship functions to meet business expectations.
I’ve shared how MDM can help take CRM to new heights. In part II of this blog post, I’ll share with you the many business outcomes you can improve with what I like to call CRM 2.0.