CRM “Customer Relationship Management” is a business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase revenue, through streamlined processes and improved customer satisfaction. It provides a holistic view of the customer, enabling the sales/customer service teams to make informed decisions.

CRM software has evolved through the need to put the customer at the centre of the strategy.  Once the strategy has been defined, typically CRM “products” such as SalesForce.com or Microsoft Dynamics are introduced.

These “horizontal” products are customised throughout the implementation.  This process is often underestimated, resulting in poor integration with internal systems and manual or duplicated processes.

For a CRM strategy to succeed it requires companywide user adoption; which will only happen if the implementation is successful, delivering immediate benefit to the user.

In the media industry there are additional complexities.  The SOP “Sales Order Processing Systems” are very complex, particularly advertising.  These complexities include the management of customers, copy, orders, packages, building advertising, managing materials, planning, billing and AR.

The answer is not to replicate the SOP functionality in the CRM, but instead create a “mashup”. Elements of user interface from two or more solutions are combined into one consolidated user interface.

For example, by embedding a leading browser based advertising solution in a leading CRM solution, you provide the user with the benefits of two leading solutions in one GUI “Graphical User Interface”.

This tight integration is possible when both products are built on open standards and adopt SOA “Service Oriented Architecture”.

Sales data can be combined from multiple SOP’s and displayed on a dashboard, providing a real-time overview of the business.

It is important to observe key performance indicators throughout the implementation to enable successful process change.

With an increased likelihood that there will be user adoption, it will be possible to realise the CRM business strategy.

6 thoughts

  1. Its fine using salesforce but that does not help us get the campaigns into our advertising system. An advertising system is more than just a sales system. It nice that the sales guys have a pretty screen but then we have to rekey the campaigns and find that the inventory they are requesting is not available. The sales guys must use the ad booking system or work closely with us.

    1. Carol, thanks for the comment. The point you make about getting the sales team to use CRM and having a separate ad booking, copy chasing/production system is well made. I am suggesting they work together. The selling process performed in a leading CRM solution and the same user interface is used to take sufficient booking information to rate & reserve the space. The data is retained in the relevant systems so they can work independently. You didn’t say what advertising system you are using, though in this model the advertising data would be entered into the CRM system and put into the advertising system, so that the rest of the workflow can be completed (allocating inventory/approval, production, billing).

    1. funkwagon, you are absolutely correct. Most of them are capable of managing the sales process for the advertising, though many of them are not capable of handling other sales workflows & products, such as events, physical products, licenses… This means that you end up with multiple customer database and a disconnected view of the customer.

      That resulted in many media companies deciding to chose one of the horizontal solutions, such as Salesforce, Dynamics, Sugar, Tiger … The issue was then, how do with deal with very complex product definitions & rating, while understanding multi-part relationships, brands, markets, contracts, inventory, approval processes & complex multi-department workflows.

      Many companies tried to build all of that functionality directly into the CRM. Some got there but most failed. Some tried to pick up “fast start” solutions from vendors who had built out some of the functionality, but then struggled to develop the rest of the requirements.

      The answer was simple. Leave the systems to do what they do best, but provide the users with an appropriate user interface. Problem solved. It then doesn’t matter how many SOPs you have.

      Also, while I haven’t addressed it in this article, you come onto the additional benefits of agility. Suppose for a second we have one CRM and multiple SOPs. We can introduce changes into the sales process without having to update the SOP technology, making the introduction of change significantly more agile, with less risk.

      Then we have the benefits of platform solutions, which means changes can often be introduced without installing a new version, but by light coding and configuration.

  2. David I understand what you are saying but that means we have to double the cost of tools for sales. We need an ad system & a sales system. Our business needs to reduce costs not increase them.

    1. Yes, there is a commercial consideration. 1stly I would say, if you accept that salespeople would prefer a well known CRM solution, then you are down to putting an ROI case together. So, there are cost in paying the monthly fees or licenses. There will be on-going cost savings in training, changes to business practices, introduction of new sales models/products. Having the mashup in place will save costs in rekeying, oversell/underselling inventory…Then it is a case of the advertising vendors commercial model. Are they charging for “full use” in a mashup, are they charging a technology access fee/connector fee? Some vendors have different commercial models for accessing an API to having full access to the GUI. These things do need to be checked out; though I would say, more often than not, the operational cost benefits will out way any additional licensing costs, should they exist. The other option you have, is choose a vendor that has the ability to integrate with horizontal sales solutions, but also have a CRM solution. Implement the CRM solution that comes with the advertising solution. That will give you the option to move with relative ease in the future if you need to.

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