CRM Metrics That Really
Mark Graham Brown
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not
everything that counts can be counted (Albert Einstein
Customer relationship management or CRM, is yet another one of those popular three-
letter programs that have been implemented by most large corporations over the last
decade that has failed to live up to its expectations. According to a study done by
Bearing Point in 2003, nearly half of the companies surveyed reported that they are re-
evaluating their CRM initiatives because of poor ROI. The study of 167 companies with
at least $1 billion in sales indicated that although 82% felt that CRM was important, only
37% felt as if they were achieving expected performance. Many of the organizations I’ve
had contact with have no hard data on whether or not their CRM efforts have been
successful. Any effort that costs this much and takes up this much of your time needs to
be measured and evaluated.
Most CRM programs I have seen are comprised of two parts:
Processes for building relationships with customers that spell out behaviors and
sequences for those activities
Software for creating customer data bases and reporting progress in the
sales/relationship building process with each account.
The CRM consultants will sell you the software and the processes needed to supposedly
make all of your customers love you and buy more of your stuff.
What is CRM supposed to do?
The theory behind CRM is that if companies take a systematic approach to building
relationships with important customers, this will result in greater levels of customer
satisfaction, increased revenue from those customers, and greater loyalty. This is a valid
theory, but many CRM programs I have seen are thinly disguised attempts to cross sell
customers more stuff that they don’t really need. CRM has become a nice way of
referring to cross-selling or “would you like fries with that?” My personal banker at
Citibank wants to have a quarterly meeting with me so we can “review my holdings and