Introducing the modern CRM Manifesto

I know that a lot of CRM administrators and project managers are not happy with how CRM is being used within their organizations. I also know that a lot of them are not able to use CRM to the fullest. Implementing, using and refining CRM they will face a lot of issues, problems and challenges.


A written statement to publicly declare your intentions, motives, or beliefs. From the Latin manifestus — to manifest, to clearly reveal, to make real.

I believe that CRM can not survive in isolation. The strategy and the tools you need and develop must be consistently used troughout the organization. How will CRM look like when it is fully used? What kind of improvements will that make to way we do business? In a world rapidly changing, it sets new boundaries, opportunities and challenges for everyone involved in a modern business.

Here follows my Modern CRM Manifesto with its suggested six constituents. Its aim is to outline why I believe CRM is more than just a state of the art software system.

#1 CRM is about the customer

CRM is customer relationship management and we must not forget that CRM is used for the customer. So every aspect of CRM, wether it is developing a new process, gathering new insights and acting on it should be in favor of the customer. It can result in an improvement of a customer touchpoint, channel or just the customer satisfaction.

#2 CRM is for the whole organization

How often does marketing or sales decide to implement a CRM strategy on its own? Or worse: IT who is pulling the strings. If you commit to a CRM strategy, make sure the whole organization is involved. Not just IT, marketing or sales. It means everyone who has a responsibility of at least one customer touchpoint. All of sudden, CRM extends to all sorts of departments: customer support, finance, logistics and maybe even production.

#3 CRM is a tool to achieve a goal

Focus on your goal and then decide if CRM is the right tool for you.

With many CRM software tools available we tend to forget one thing: CRM should be used to achieve a certain goal. All CRM software providers focus on the stuff they like: functions and features. Forget about your co-workers activity feeds, avatars and all of the other fancy stuff software providers came up with. Focus on your goal (for example to improve your sales team’s succes rate, get a higher service level or reduce customer churn) and then decide if CRM is the right tool for you. Compare it to a buying a car: your need is something that will take you from A to B. Of course, you can already imagine a nice car with a lot of power, cool buttons and a multimedia system that syncs perfectly with your smart phone. But if you try to reach the moon, will a car be of any help? Look at it in the right context.

#4 CRM can only exist with a good strategy

CRM strategy defines the value of your insights

Since CRM is a tool to achieve a goal (see #3), you will need a good strategy to accomplish that goal. CRM software enables you to generate powerful insights, but the strategy (and only the strategy) defines the value of those insights. Your CRM strategy must also include a well written mission statement and the tactics needed to pursue your goal. Only after you defined your strategy and the tactics, you are able to have a good CRM software system implementation.


#5 CRM software is just a database

Don’t get blinded by all the amazing things CRM software companies want you to see.

This one refers to #4 and #3 as well. Don’t expect CRM software to do the work for you. Behind those screens and pretty interfaces CRM software is still just a database. Don’t get blinded by all the amazing things CRM software companies want you to see in their demos and white papers. CRM is a database and a database needs to be filled. Of course, a lot of that data will be entered automatically (created from order data, eCommerce platforms or social media), but some must be entered manually. If you are trying to get a 360 degree view of your customer, all of the touch points should be logged in the database. And that means your users have to enter data manually too, which can be quite some work.

#6 User acceptance is key to good use of CRM

The whole succes of CRM is the users accepting your solution. Therefore, user (colleague) acceptance is key to good use of CRM. That means your CRM strategy should be clear, so all employees understand. It also means your CRM software should focus on User Interface and training, right from the start.

In short..

So how should CRM be used by any organization in my opinion? Here is a summary of what you just read.

  1. CRM is about the customer
  2. CRM is for the whole organization
  3. CRM is a tool to achieve a goal
  4. CRM can only exist with a good strategy
  5. CRM software is just a database
  6. User acceptance is key to good use of CRM

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