Big data can play a key role in CRM's success by helping marketers to maximise customer engagement and profitability but, as earlier CRM failures have shown, the focus needs to be on the business need for actionable analysis rather than on software alone, according to a white paper published by loyalty marketing agency Customer Communications Group (CCG). This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The paper, entitled 'Building the Case for CRM', was published to provide marketers with a primer showing how to build a business case for a full-scale customer relationship management programme that can both leverage big data and build sales.

Recent research from Gartner predicted that CRM will be a US$36 billion market by 2017, but there are a number of commonly encountered hurdles that businesses will need to overcome in order for CRM to contribute to their growth and success.

The white paper goes on to explain the ten most common ways that businesses fail when setting up and managing a CRM programme, including:

  1. No corporate-wide CRM strategy; failure to develop a shared management perspective of CRM opportunity.
  2. Lack of clearly defined and measurable business objectives.
  3. Attempts to develop skills and infrastructure too quickly, looking for the "big bang".
  4. Little or no attention paid to employee skills and abilities; too great a focus on tools and hardware, not "humanware".
  5. Change in the organisation is not managed well, leading to functional barriers as well as philosophical roadblocks. Everyone must see and understand where they will benefit.
  6. Inappropriate sequencing plan for CRM investments, e.g., building technology before strategy or expectations.
  7. Failure to understand which business processes must be optimized to support the strategies.
  8. Programme unaligned with brand position and customers' expectations.
  9. Quality of data not properly addressed.
  10. Failure to create rigorous controls and testing.

"Successful CRM starts with a solid business case that will demonstrate why the CRM programme will be a strategic winner, quantifies the benefits at a detailed level and specifies how the programme will achieve those benefits," concluded Sandra Gudat, CEO for Customer Communications Group. "A strong case sets a plan in motion to gain the resources and funding needed for the CRM programme, including its backbone - the customer database and big data potential."

The full white paper has been made available for free download from CCG's web site - click here (zipped PDF document; no registration needed).