It’s true. The early days of CRM as Sales Force Automation tools are long gone. In their place have emerged full-function “Demand Creation Platforms” that completely change the game of Marketing and Selling as we once knew it. Demand Creation is showing up more frequently in the language of CMO’s and C-Level Marketing and Sales organizations – it highlights the shift to a highly integrated process of finding, engaging and retaining customers. And CRM platforms are the key enablers of this process, knowledge and technology integration.
I’m convinced that clinging to the past is going to prove to be a dangerous and costly move for companies that live in the B2B world of complex commerce. The problem is that the internet economy of B2C has erased forever the acceptability of cumbersome, data-heavy, and slow interactions with sales people, prospective buyers and customers. In that respect, it’s time to look forward. The future belongs to digital content, self-service, and ‘Easy To Do Business With’ (ETDBW) in the internet economy.
There is good news in the midst of this change. Our recent experiences with multiple companies that have embraced this need for change show that there is truly a silver lining. The adoption of the next generation of Demand Creation solutions sits on a CRM platform for Commerce Simplification – from end to end. It reminds me of the simplification enabled by ERP once the data and transaction integration were in place. The benefits go far beyond simple Sales Force Automation; and extend to tangible gains in efficiency, effectiveness and growth. Today, CRM Platforms are the springboard for all of the key elements of Demand Creation.
The initial CRM business drivers for our customers tended to center upon increased sales effectiveness, productivity, responsiveness and ease of doing business. But what has surprised many of these same customers is that resulting business simplification delivered more than they expected from these CRM implementations. This was especially true for companies that adopted a true PLATFORM approach vs. a simple SFA model. The CRM Platform solutions translate directly into cost reductions, margin realization, and cycle time improvements. So it’s WIN/WIN. Win more revenue and SIMPLIFY to improve profitable performance. Removing unnecessary complexity is the biggest opportunity available – and CRM platforms are the key to unlock your potential.
We’re not talking about ‘point solutions’ here. The big value in Demand Creation is coming from integrated Demand Creation platforms that fall under the umbrella of “CRM”. The key to simplification is to ensure that your CRM solution integrates the entire experience – from lead generation, through the demand cycle and into the service and care cycles.
Stay Tuned. This is the first in a multipart series on changing the game of B2B Commerce – subscribe to our blog and follow us.