CRM: The Greener Pastures are on This Side of the Ocean

Customer relationship management (or CRM) has been a staple of business for as long as people have been exchanging goods and services for money. The goal of selling your product and keeping the customer after the sale remains one of the most important tenants of a successful business. Although the goal of retention hasn’t changed over the years, the information technology and sophistication surrounding customer relationship management has evolved leaps and bounds over previous generations. Today, CRM requires its own strategy. By combining marketing efforts with technology, CRM enhances business intelligence and helps manage the simplest relationships to the most complex. But in order to truly optimize their CRM, businesses need to be aware of the implementation pitfalls.

Research conducted by Gartner shows that more than half of all CRM implementations fail and a survey by the National Retail Federation in the U.S. showed that only 30% of companies are getting the most out of their CRM. Most enterprises simply don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to fully operate and integrate their CRM services. Some businesses may be strong on the technology side and others may be equally as strong in marketing, but striking the balance between IT and marketing while involving a large database of names and getting employees to buy-in is a much more difficult task. Luckily, North America is a hot-bed of world class companies specializing in CRM management, implementation and support.

North American service giants like Oracle and Salesforce provide full scale automation of sales, marketing, customer services and remote support. At the same time, Salesforce and other cloud providers are revolutionizing the business environment through cloud provision and, more specifically, software as a service (SaaS). Through the cloud, businesses can have their CRM up and running at reduced costs; start-ups and small firms can implement CRM with very little up-front costs or infrastructure requirements. Simply plug-in and purchase a basic CRM subscription through one of North America’s emerging cloud providers—be it Salesforce, Rackspace Hosting or the rest of the emerging market that is opening the doors to cloud-based CRM and other IT services.

Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft are all headquartered in North America, with well established footprints in communities from coast-to-coast. North of the border, Canadian owned and operated Salesboom has emerged as a dominant global player, now offering its services to 159 countries. So why go elsewhere with your CRM needs when the best is right here at home? With the growth of cloud computing applications, your CRM needs are also available in a delocalized environment, on-demand and scalable to your needs. So as your business grows, so too does your CRM interface.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of outsourcing your IT internationally, but does this apply to CRM in the same way it applies to call centres? CRM software and applications host sensitive information about an enterprise’s contacts, the nature of their relationships and, ultimately, valuable business intelligence. Outsourcing your CRM functions to a part of the globe that may not share similar security standards leaves a company’s privileged client information exposed. This is a critical point, given the premium businesses place on security. Cyber insecurity poses a significant threat to organizations operating in every sector. This is why investing in a CRM vendor with world-class security infrastructure, like those offered by Canadian and U.S.-based vendors, is as important a decision as implementing CRM in the first place. By investing in a home-based solution, customer information enjoys physical security, unsurpassed network perimeters, data encryption and user-based authentication.

In addition to the heightened security standards of North American service providers, emerging technologies like cloud computing, digital platforms and mobile apps are all being driven by the North American market. As these emerging techs proliferate, they will interact with customer management software and provide businesses with limitless opportunities for staying ahead of the curve.

The choice of which vendor to allocate its CRM functions to, if at all, ultimately resides with the enterprise itself. Given the implementation challenges much of the enterprise market faces, doing-it-yourself is one headache companies should avoid if they are prudential about enhancing their business intelligence. Given these realities, enterprises operating in Canada and the U.S. can take comfort in knowing that they have a reliable CRM provider in Oracle. Those wishing to integrate emerging platforms and slash their operating costs have the option of the world’s largest cloud provider in Salesforce. As international businesses look to Canada and the U.S. for CRM solutions, the greener pastures are on this side of ocean.