Discover how the role of the modern CIO shapes modern CRM systems that bridge Sales and Marketing.

Traditionally CRM has been seen as a sales tool, but modern CRM systems span all of the functions within an entire enterprise. Modern CRM systems particularly concentrate on aligning Sales and Marketing to permit the undertaking of customer data analysis and the generation of customer insight.  Modern CIOs can make this happen because their role has become less about fighting fires and delivering technical support than it used to be. Their remit is now more strategic.


The CRM Goal

The key goal is to have the ability to obtain a single view of each customer, which can allow sales or contact centre staff to cross-sell and up-sell additional products and services that are similar to the ones the customer has either just bought or previously purchased from the company.

Modern CRM is about ‘people, processes and technology’. It helps businesses to use a combination of its human resources, its operational and transactional processes, as well its technology to get closer to each customer or customer segment.

The technology aspect of it can’t just be implemented off-the-shelf and then expected to work. So Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to work with their marketing counterparts to deliver an effective and efficient CRM strategy that will enable the business to increase revenues by:

  • Providing products and services that fit the needs, wants and desires of each customer or customer segment.
  • Using transactional history and data analysis to get to know each customer better, so that customers believe you know what they’re about and what they are likely to want whenever they call a contact centre of sales department.
  • Recording interactions with each customer. These interactions may come from a variety of sales and marketing channels, but they can be used to develop a ‘relationship’ with each customer in order to be able to cross-sell and up-sell to them.
  • Reducing the time required to close a sale. When Sales and contact centre staff know more about each customer, they can deliver a higher level of customer service and satisfaction. There’s also no guessing about what an existing customer wants; customer insight can inform a salesperson, for example, about what to offer a customer and how to close a deal. Similarly, a contact centre will be able to better resolve any customer issues.
  • Creating more loyal customers. Modern CRM enables organisations to capture the data required to paint a detailed picture of their customers and achieve their organisational goals through on-going analysis. For example; an organisation may wish to increase brand loyalty though making more informed decisions regarding the development new products and services. A correctly implemented CRM system can provide them with the necessary tools to achieve this


The modern CIO

With the growth of shadow IT and cloud computing, marketing has more choice than ever before and it can bypass the CIO in the process. Jay Henderson wrote about the changing role of the CIO in October 2012 for DestinationCRM magazine:

“CIOs should take the reins, give marketers the space they need to experiment, and if outside vendors are needed, make sure IT is the one managing those relationships. CIOs should also consider leveraging cloud infrastructure and SaaS solutions, which tend to shorten implementation time, as well as pre-integrated solutions, to minimize custom-built applications wherever possible.”

He adds that IT has to be at the heart of a customer-centric approach. CIOs therefore should:

  • Build a relationship with their Marketing Directors/Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs);
  • Understand the needs of the business, of sales and marketing the CIO can make better and more informed back-office technology-related decisions;
  • Ensure that any cloud services don’t compromise the organisation, while allowing sales and marketing a certain amount of freedom to use the cloud services they require;
  • Become involved with strategic business planning and develop not just technical skills, but soft business-related ones;
  • Focus on the desired business outcomes of the organisation because the ability of an organisation to develop and deliver new applications and services to market more quickly than any competitors can lead to the development of a competitive advantage.

CIOs should also note that Gartner predicts that “CMOs will influence more of the IT budget by 2017, [and so] the onus is on CIOs to ensure that marketers make the right purchases”, says Henderson. CIOs therefore need to begin this journey by understanding the front and back office needs of Sales and Marketing. Such a collaboration as this will improve their performance through heightened sales and customer satisfaction. The entire organisation will then become more profitable. So modern CRM systems help enterprises to have a promising future – that is if modern CRM systems are implemented correctly.

Discover more about how modern CRM can drive growth in your business by downloading your free eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM’ today