ustomizable applications and software developer kits allow for better information management and data collection; as a result, top organizations are using these technologies to customize and configure their core CRM solution to mirror unique business processes. In an increasingly competitive marketplace where companies are challenged to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer, businesses are customizing CRM solutions to integrate data from customer-facing groups, as well as increase the level of internal visibility into sales processes.
A recent study, Tailor-Made CRM: Best Practices in Customization, Configuration, and Integration, conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company, revealed that Best-in-Class companies are 2.4 times more likely than Laggards to leverage a data integration solution to support CRM customization initiatives; the result is increased performance in data entry, data retrieval, and ease of maintenance. The top two objectives of an organization’s CRM customization initiative stem from the most fundamental of business drivers: to attain and keep customers. The need to improve customer retention (36%) and the need to improve customer acquisition (36%) were identified by all respondents as the top two objectives of a customization initiative. Best-in-Class companies indicated that they currently utilize data integration solutions (47%), contact management solutions (50%) and sales knowledge management solutions (38%) to increase the effectiveness and functionality of the core CRM solution. As a result of technology implementation and integration, Best-in-Class companies are more than 5 times as likely as Laggards to experience year-over-year improvement in customer retention levels.
The report demonstrates the value of collectively leveraging organizational practices in process, performance measurement, knowledge management and technology to provide a foundation for CRM success. By combining processes for data sharing between customer-facing groups (47%) and dedicated CRM support resources (47%), Best-in-Class compaines are able to maximize the effectiveness of their sales force by customizing the CRM solution to match unique business processes.
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