CMOs and CIOs of large global firms have realized a CRM Transformation Innovation Agenda should be not just about blocking and tackling but should include Greenfield thinking and leapfrogging as key components of a CRM transformation projects. CRM innovations, such as AI (Artificial intelligence), Analytics etc., should be a part of every CRM transformation roadmap.

CRM Transformations are fraught with challenges and at the end of a multi-year project, lack of innovation will result in a suboptimal desired state and a collective sense of under achievement. Instead, companies that include a key set of innovative ideas and concepts in their CRM Transformation journey tend to get better results. It is the classic tenet of skating to where the puck is going to be and thinking beyond current problems.

Of course, if there are burning issues and transformation imperatives driving CRM implementation, focusing on the quick wins is a good idea. But at the end of the project, a point of arrival should include innovations and leapfrogging ideas.

So, what should a CRM Transformation Innovation Agenda look like? It depends on a variety of factors that typically drive the CRM transformation innovation agenda – such as size, global footprint, business and sales models, sales channels, and types of stakeholders.

However, Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud should be no-brainers, but the CRM transformation innovation agenda should go beyond those:

CRM Transformation Innovation Agenda Items:

  • Reason to Call: Just smiling and dialing is old school. Instead, the sales team can be very productive if thru data mining and other analytical techniques, there is a list of customers prioritized based on reasons to call.
  • Insight driven interactions: Like arming the sales team with reasons to call and whom to call, every interaction with customers should be based on data-driven insights – whether it is online, thru a call center, a retail store, or a social media account. Insight driven interactions which leverage the omnichannel and provide value to customers during every interaction and transaction will be a powerful way to attract and retain customers.
  • Internal and External Brand Champions: Exploiting the exponential effect of internal and external brand ambassadors and champions is a powerful concept. A new generation Social CRM systems can harness the power of such voices – within and outside the company – to the enhance brand equity and social cache.
  • Beyond Net Promoter Score: Today’s cloud-based, analytics-driven CRM systems can help companies think beyond a single metric. Real-time sentiment analysis and other techniques not only allow a firm to keep tabs on the pulse of the market but also react instantaneously as events unfold and sentiments change.
  • Social Engagement Strategy transcending likes: While Facebook likes, LinkedIn Shares and Twitter mentions are a good start, the customer relationship strategy should go beyond these basics. Social media based client relationship management is both an art and a science, both a high tech and high touch concept, and a social marketing paradigm.
  • SAAS (Software as a Service) as Table Stakes: Today, with a plethora of CRM tools, from pioneering platforms to emerging niche offerings, the SAAS model is here to stay. The question is how well do you integrate and harness other tools and technologies to inform, influence and shape the customer relationship management? Things like beacons, IoT (Internet of things), social sentiment analysis can be integrated with CRM systems to build not only a demographic profile, but transactional, attitudinal, and psychographic profiles of customers.
  • Omni Channel Optimization: Customer relationship should not vary significantly across different channels. Omni-channel optimization should be the nirvana, and based on the industry and the type of customers, it is essential to incorporate the subtle nuances into the omnichannel engagement strategy.

In any CRM transformation, including innovative items, helps focus on the company on what’s next, and helps teams be motivated by leapfrogging the status quo and elevating CRM to the state-of-the-art and beyond.

What innovations and creative solutions have you incorporated into your CRM transformation journey?

Please also review CIOPages.com CRM Transformation Resources including the CRM Transformation Framework and the CRM Transformation Toolkit.