If you have a phobia of acronyms, you might want to look away now – otherwise, use Redspire’s guide to what CMR, CEM and sCRM mean for CRM and your business.


You & Your Customers

It all begins with…

… Customer Relationship Management.

Customer Relationship Management is both a business strategy, and a software designed to enact that strategy. Traditionally, CRM has been about…

… controlling and managing your customers’ relationship with your brand…

… through analysis and metrics…

… to understand, exploit and bring order to your database, boosting efficiency and productivity while driving up sales.


The Tide Has Turned

In recent times, the customer’s journey has changed dramatically:

You are no longer in control.

The customer is.

They choose the rules of engagement now, not you.

To help deal with this new consumer landscape, CRM thinking has evolved to keep you ahead of the curve.


It has led to the creation of different strategies and business philosophies to exploit every aspect of the new customer’s journey, including:


Customer Managed Relationships


Customer Engagement/Experience Management


Social Customer Relationship Management


They’re all subtly different strategies/approaches to using CRM software, but share many common themes between them.


Don’t be.


What is Customer Managed Relationships (CMR)?

At its core, CMR is about engagement wherever the consumer is in their buying journey.

Whether they’re…

… browsing in-store…

… chatting online with your company’s help desk…

… reading online reviews…

… CMR ensures that wherever they are, you can act as a real-time ‘anchor’ for the customer to come back to when they are ready. To misquote ‘Friends’:

Wherever your customer is, you’ll be there for them.

And your interactions with prospects and existing customers can then be fed back into your CRM, creating a living, always-on database of critical metrics.


What is Customer Engagement/Experience Management?

“[CEM is] the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

Gartner’s definition

In practical terms, imagine CEM as a specific focus on managing and improving the touchpoints where customers actually engage and experience your company.

From call centres’ recordings and surveys…

… to monitoring if a customer is, say, struggling with a trial of your product…

… CEM offers you the chance to go the extra mile, winning over your customers with your service wherever they are on their journey, while offering assistance exactly when the customer most needs it.

Call it a sixth sense – but with the right CRM platform in place, it’s actually common sense.


What is Social Customer Relationship Management (sCRM)?

Social media has dramatically transformed the way customers interact with businesses.

Whether it’s digital word of mouth…

… or company social channels being used to engage with customers…

… social is critical to companies serious about competing in the 21st Century digital marketplace – and your CRM needs to be optimised to monitor your customers’ interactions on your social platforms.

It’s why Social Customer Relationship Management is becoming so critical for companies wanting to create a true social engagement strategy, which enables them to…

… listen…

… track…

… engage…

… new leads to drive them through the sales funnel while increasing upselling and cross-selling opportunities with existing customers, all with the aim of boosting loyalty and creating social advocates to boost your brand’s messaging in the social space.

Remember, none of the acronyms are replacements for CRM.

After all, it is predicted that CRM will be worth:

£36.4 billion

worldwide by 2017 according to Gartner.


The Dos

  • Do see each as subsets of CRM which, when focused, can transform your customer relationships.
  • Do understand that there are crossovers and similarities across each; this is a joined-up world after all.
  • Do hire in a CRM specialist to help create a bespoke, unified CRM platform that works for you and your business’ unique needs.


The Don’ts

  • Don’t be confused by the acronyms or regard them as disparate, unjoined-up systems competing for your attention.
  • Don’t dismiss these critical subsets of CRM out of hand; your competitors aren’t.


The reality of CRM is not the same as the theory. Find out more with our free report: Report: what people really think about CRM

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Uncover six thought-provoking trends for the future of CRM.

We all know CRM’s story so far: its early promise, its hits and misses and its broad adoption as understanding of its role deepened.

But what about the future of CRM? And not just in the next year, but the decade to come?

These six trends are on the upswing in order from those in play today, to those further out.


1. Fewer winners, more losers?

Oracle is buying up smaller CRM providers, HubSpot is entering the space, LinkedIn is musing about it and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is taking CRM outwards into social media.

Whatever CRM system you adopt, make sure it’s infrastructural: general, extendable and customisable, with throngs of third parties providing specialist plug-in apps for your business. Key to the  future of CRM  will be the role of consultants and resellers who can guide you through the mass of options.


2. The CRM ecosystem will deepen and broaden

Another sign of a mature market is a multi-tiered support ecosystem around it. Thousands of vendors, both in the cloud and standalone, have made a business from selling plug-in apps. This trend will be deepening within the future of CRM, with plug-ins for plug-ins–and perhaps even plug-ins for them!

It’s a good thing. While you’ll perhaps need outside help to configure your CRM’s infrastructure, it’s infinitely extensible once in place. You just need to ensure that you make the right choice at the outset.


3. Ever-intensifying legal shenanigans around data

Unfortunately, one area where the future of CRM won’t get any simpler is data protection. The EU has some swingeing new laws on the way. With many CRM vendors being American, how you store EU customer data will take careful thought.

CRM consultancies will be of increasing help here. They know a great deal about data protection law already.


4. An understanding that CRM is more than email campaigning

Industrial-strength CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics CRM – which scales to thousands of users without the rather high costs-per-seat of Salesforce – are capable of being your complete marketing communications system. Many customers have used it principally for email campaigns but that is now fading.

As Sales and Marketing departments come closer together, they are both beginning to learn new things. Sales are deepening their understanding of the brand equity of good communications, while Marketing adopt the precise metrics used by the sales team. Both teams are using CRM to manage the entire customer relationship, from first tickle to project engagement. That’s the way the future of CRM should be.


5. Event-driven triggers from social listening

The future of CRM is set to become a lot more social. With the rise of sCRM (Social CRM), a leading CRM application can now “listen” to what your audience is talking about across social media. It can pull tweets and posts out of the clickstream for you to respond to.

Today, it’s mostly mentions of a brand name and associated positive or negative phrases. (Let’s face it, any tweet with “yourname” and “incompetent” in it is something you want to know about.) But automatic responses to such red flags – even if they’re only an acknowledgement – is already common.

The next stage is for machine logic to not only respond, but decide what to do. In the next few years, CRM systems will respond intelligently to events they “hear” on social media – for example, sending out a reassuring email if a competitor has a data breach.


6. Artificially intelligent marcomms

There are signs that Artificial Intelligence will create our marketing in the future of CRM.

It’s not going to happen tomorrow (at least, marketing departments hope not) but services like Persado are already providing useful clues as to what’s next.

At the moment, such applications do little more than customise “hot buttons” like the Call to Action of a marketing email, but it’s certainly a trend to watch. Will the need for human writers go away?


Summing up, the future of CRM includes:

  • Broader and deeper market understanding of what CRM can do.
  • An increasingly complex legal environment around data.
  • Trigger-driven events and decision logic which will be used to automate marcomms.
  • A continuation of marketing and sales working together.

Discover how to improve use of your CRM in the future by downloading: The ultimate guide to: why slow user adoption affects 49% of CRM projects


It’s been a weird but wonderful quarter, uncover how to optimise your CRM platform using rock music, stockings and a steak sandwich…


Rockstar, Not Marketer

Who says marketing can’t be rock ’n’ roll? Just ask Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger who’s generated a $60 million fortune by deploying five essential CRM principles to sell his music*, making the band more like a ‘vertically-integrated supply chain’ than a rock group. Is that the sound of Jimi Hendrix spinning in his grave?


Your CRM: Epic Fail?

Or is yours flying? It might just be worth double-checking as 63% of CRM systems are failing their organisations. From low, slow adoption rates to disinterested boards, we list the top five mistakes that are leaving company CRM investments rushing to meet the reaper, rather than reaping real rewards…



Be My Valentine

Ensure your CRM platform isn’t a needy, whiny long term commitment for your sales team. Instead, use this blog to turn your CRM into the perfect partner for them, building a rewarding career-long relationship; not a disappointing one-night stand and embarrassed looks the following morning…



Meet Old-Timer Bob

Every company’s got one – the old-school sales guy who likes golf, steak sandwiches and chatting with clients. The young sales bucks think he’s more dinosaur than dynamic, but in reality? This blog reveals Bob is actually a human CRM system. Networking, nurturing and knowing his clients, discover why he could well be your company’s greatest CRM asset…



Happy Xmas, You’re Fired!

Never mind Yuletide spirit – it’s time for Father Christmas to hand out P45s to his elves, and employ CRM to be his little helper instead; our blog reveals how Microsoft Dynamics can help Santa create the perfect wish lists, take the strain off Rudolph – and uncover who deserves a stocking crammed with gifts and who deserves a lump of coal…


‘I’ve broken the internet…’

We unveil the daily schedule of successful IT managers; from fielding the phone calls of panicked luddite employees to educating the boardroom that IT is more than just ‘turning your PC off and on again’, it’s all here in one handy blog that’ll make every day a zinger, not a soul-sapping stinger.



Now you’ve armed yourself with this weapons bunker of CRM artillery, it’s time to turn it on the C-Suite – and we can help you there too with our free eGuide: ‘The ultimate guide to: winning board support’.


Your board may be reluctant to buy-in to a new CRM system. Our ready made presentation will help you to combat this challenge and encourage them to see the benefits.

If you already have a CRM system which isn’t delivering, past failures will have affected your directors’ confidence. These CRM failures can vary from leads going cold to customer complaints being mishandled.

More often than not, these issues go unresolved and you can’t pinpoint the cause of the problem. It makes business sense for you to adopt a new CRM, but your board may not be convinced. With news that 63% of CRM systems fail to deliver the expected business value, it’s no wonder some boards are reluctant to invest in new software.

It’s time to schedule a meeting where you convince your board to buy-in to a new CRM project.

Just slot these slides into your presentation and you’ll counter the 5 most common objections to CRM investment before your audience has a chance to speak!

5 objections from your board and how to tackle them

1.  Our business can cope fine without a CRM.

Whether it’s concerns about the cost or time needed for implementing a new CRM system, your board may prefer to continue working without one, believing that the business is running smoothly.

Your response: A good CRM system will simplify and organise the business’ data. It will keep all records in one place and alert people to critical tasks, enabling everyone to keep on top of workflows.

Muddling along is an option, but with a good CRM system others can step in if there’s a problem, or if someone’s away. Improving your business processes will keep your business competitive.


2. CRM takes too long to adopt across the business.

Your board may be concerned that unless everyone accepts the idea of CRM, it won’t work. After all, this was the case for 49% of respondents of a recent Gartner study.

Your response:

Employees will be more likely to see the benefits of a CRM system when they receive personal training. This will encourage staff to adopt the system more quickly and successfully.


3. The sales team won’t use it.

The board will of course be interested in attracting new customers, so will want to keep their Sales team happy. If they think Sales won’t adopt the CRM, the board will not buy-in.

Your response: Training, processes and management can be tailored to suit the Sales team – if they see that the system will help them, rather than just allow management to spy on them, they’ll be much more likely to adopt it.


4. We’ll lose sales time.

Your board may opt against a CRM system as they’ve heard it can cause a loss in sales time.

Your response: A customised sales CRM can minimise the data-collection, “time-wasting” elements of CRM and only ask for the most necessary elements.


5. Management won’t support it.

Your board might demonstrate concerns that management won’t care for the CRM system and so the rest of the team will fail to see why they should adopt it. Adoption will seem generally futile.

Your response: Demonstrate that management support is one of the biggest factors of successful CRM adoption. Paul Pitman at Collier Pickard led the way for his team by using a CRM system himself. Setting an example for the rest of his team, they soon discovered the benefits of CRM and the ROI it provides.


Don’t be beaten by the board, deliver reasons why the board ought to buy-in and strategies to prevent CRM failures. A customised CRM can:

  • Improve business processes and highlight critical tasks.
  • Be implemented and adopted quickly.
  • Maximise sales time.

Learn more about getting everyone on your side by downloading your free eGuide: The ultimate guide to: winning board support