Is Your CRM System Meeting Your Enterprise's Needs?

In the past, CRM served a simple purpose inside your enterprise: It kept track of your customers, their addresses and their orders. Now, though, there's far more that comes under the CRM umbrella, from connecting with your customers through social media to being able to instantly transmit customer data to a call center agent when customers call in for help.

That's why it's a good idea to regularly take a close look at your CRM infrastructure: With all the new functionality available in CRM tools today, you need to determine if your existing system is still meeting the needs of your business and customers.

But while your CRM applications and all of your data is critical, the real analysis has to start with the customer relationship strategy inside your enterprise, says Mary Wardley, an analyst with IDC. Without knowing what you want, where you've been and where you are going, it will to be hard to reach your goals, she says.

"One of my main tenets regarding CRM as a discipline is that you have to have a CRM strategy inside your organization, regardless of whether you even have CRM applications " Wardley says. "No matter what kind of company you are you, you must have a customer relationship management strategy because that is your customer service strategy."

With a CRM strategy in place, you can then bring CRM applications into the discussion to ensure that they support your strategy and help you meet corporate goals, from sales to revenue to market share.

One key to remember, according to Wardley, is that your go-to-market strategy changes and evolves frequently, sometimes daily, depending on your business and the competitive landscape. This always-changing data can help your enterprise ultimately make the right decisions about how your CRM systems are working and what needs to be updated, reworked or replaced.