CRM is a much bastardized term. In many ways it has been corrupted by the technology industry and is now seen as a product or piece of software.
And therein lies the problem.
It's easy to default to a piece of technology thinking that it will be a panacea. Due consideration isn't given to people, processes and data, let alone the customer. The technology suffers limited acceptance and integration and customers notice no difference.
The Wikipedia definition of CRM is pretty good but also alludes to some of the problems:
It's good because it positions technology as an enabler, not as the strategy. It also highlights that CRM should be an integrated, business-wide or enterprise undertaking and it references a customer journey.
It's not so good at focusing on the customer (indeed it even positions CRM as a principally a sales activity) and seems focussed on cost reduction rather than profitability.
'Show me you know me' is really what CRM is about and how we would define it. It's the basic expectation that today's savvy customers have: they know that their personal information has value, they are willing to share it with brands in exchange for the promise of something valuable (one in three consumers now regard their personal information as a tradable commodity, according to stats from a new DMA survey) but they expect it to be treated responsibly and for the brands to do something meaningful, personal and relevant as a result. For the avoidance of doubt this applies in b2b and b2c.
Most brands default to incentives (normally discounts) but there are more ways to engage with your customers and build a relationship with them. The proliferation of channels and customer touchpoints mean that there are massive opportunities to share interests, entertain, empathise and support customers, to learn how they respond and to do an even better job for them.
Define how you want CRM to work for your customers and the rest (technology, data, business functions) can follow.
Look out for our forthcoming blog where we'll post some tips for true CRM success.