19 April 2006

CRM Failure

Sales reps don't like to share information. It is the problem of freedom of invisibility. They don't like to be managed and monitored. They are trained to be result-oriented. They only have one simple yet clear objective in their sales career - to close a deal. In TXM, that's "commit" step, or 4.1. Why is closing the deal so important to the sales reps? It is because their survival depends on the number of deals being closed. Almost all sales-related jobs are on commission basis.

Relationship is nothing new. Everyone knows the importance of relationship, not only sales reps. It's really funny that CRM was such a big hit a few years ago. Again, this is the power to talk of the West. If relationship is nothing new, then so is CRM. In Chinese, this is known as "GuanXi", and it has been in existence for more than 5,000 years. Without CRM back in the old days, businesses still survived. Now the business world has a new toy named CRM, is there any major significant difference when compared with the past?

What is CRM? Simply put, it is only about managing customer relationship. The next question is how to manage? Sales reps won't rely on software to manage relationship, because they know better than anyone that this is not going to work. Software is emotionless. Software is used to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, but software itself won't be able to generate any actionable solutions. It also helps record the number of touchpoints between the sales reps and the customers, if necessary. The number of touchpoints will increase when the number of IPAK increases. Human memory is beset by severe limitations of capacity. It is not rational to memorize everything, but things of value now and future. One major role of software is to help free up human memory, but definitely not to make decisions on behalf of people. In order to manage relationship, sales reps will put on a mask and speak the customers' language. Sales reps manage touchpoints.

The structure of software operation is simple: input, data mining, output. Without input, the power of software is zero. Even with input, the power of software is still zero if there is no data integrity.

If CRM is treated as a software, then it has to have data input, and the data has to be supplied by sales reps. Given the nature of sales reps, will there be data integrity?

How can CRM be a success if the sales reps provide irrelevant feedback, if any?

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