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The Art of CRM

By Max Fatouretchi
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  1. Free Chapter
    What is CRM?
About this book
CRM systems have delivered huge value to organizations. This book shares proven and cutting-edge techniques to increase the power of CRM even further. In The Art of CRM, Max Fatouretchi shares his decades of experience building successful CRM systems that make a real difference to business performance. Through clear processes, actionable advice, and informative case studies, The Art of CRM teaches you to design successful CRM systems for your clients. Fatouretchi, founder of Academy4CRM institute, draws on his experience over 20 years and 200 CRM implementations worldwide. Bringing CRM bang up to date, The Art of CRM shows how to add AI and machine learning, ensure compliance with GDPR, and choose between on-premise, cloud, and hybrid hosting solutions. If you’re looking for an expert guide to real-world CRM implementations, this book is for you.
Publication date:
May 2019


Chapter 1. What is CRM?

Orchestrate your business and get your team on the same page with a central repository of customer data.

In a nutshell, customer relationship management (CRM) is about process efficiency, reducing operational costs, and improving customer interactions and experience. In today's world, building a deeper and closer relationship with customers is critical to any business’ success. Harder economic fundamentals, increasing competition, stricter regulations, digital disrupters, demanding customers, mobility, and price sensitivity are shifting the power from companies to customers.

If you are starting your CRM journey and you're an architect, project manager, business owner, or a business analyst, never be shy in asking each and every key stakeholder on your team about their view on CRM. You could ask them:

  • Where do they want to go with it?

  • How do they view the outcome?

  • What do they expect from the system?

  • What is the role they play in this journey?

The never-ending CRM journey could be beautiful and exciting; it's something that matters to all the stakeholders in a company. One important idea that I live by is that CRM matters to people in all roles in a company and everyone needs to feel a sense of ownership right from the beginning of the journey.

The sense of ownership in a CRM project, regardless of whether it's a new or even an upgraded project, is important and needs to be nurtured right from the start by all employees at all levels. From the CEO to business leaders, managers, sales, marketing, and service personnel, everyone is affected by a CRM implementation, and they all need to be involved. It's important for stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the vision statement of a CRM project. This can be achieved by maintaining good communication about a project and building a solution that will address individual business pain points.


The three main pillars of CRM

The main role of the architect is to design a solution that can not only satisfy the needs and requirements of all the stakeholders, but at the same time provide agility and structure for a good foundation that supports future business needs and extensions, very much like the Taj Mahal, which has changed its role over the years while remaining robust and with low maintenance costs.

Having understood the drivers and the requirements, you are ready to establish the critical properties that the system will have to exhibit in order to identify scenarios and characterize each one of them. The output of the process is a tree of attributes, which is a quality attribute tree including usability, availability, performance, and evolution, which are all things we will explore in more detail throughout this book.

You always need to consider that a CRM rollout in a company will affect everyone. Above all, it needs to support the business strategies while improving operational efficiencies, enabling business orchestration, and improving customer experience across all channels.

Technically speaking, there are three main pillars for any CRM implementation and they deliver value to the business:

  • Operational CRM: The operational CRM is all about marketing, sales, and services functionalities. We will cover some case studies later in this chapter from different projects I've personally engaged with across a wide area of applications.

  • Analytical CRM: The analytical CRM will use the data collected from the operational CRM and provide users and business leaders with individual KPIs, dashboards, and analytical tools to enable them to slice and dice data about business performance as they require. This foundation is for the business orchestration.

  • Collaboration CRM: The collaboration CRM will provide the technology to integrate all kinds of communication channels and frontends with core CRM for both internal and external users: employees, partners, customers, and so-called bring-your-own devices. This includes support for different types of devices that could integrate with a CRM core platform and be administered with the same tools, leveraging the same infrastructure, including security and maintenance. The focus is on using the same platform, same authentication procedures, and same workflow engine, and fully leveraging the core entities and data.

With these three pillars in place, you'll be able to create a comprehensive view of your business and manage clients' communication over all your channels. Through this, you'll have the ingredients for predictive client insights, business intelligence, marketing, sales, and services automation. Later on in this chapter, we will see examples of these pillars.

Before we move on, Figure 1.1 is an illustration of the three pillars of a CRM solution and related modules, which should help you to visualize what we've just talked about.

Figure 1.1: The three pillars of CRM

It's also important to remember that any CRM journey always begins with either a business strategy or a business pain point. All of the stakeholders must have a clear understanding of where the company is heading and what the business drivers for a CRM investment are. It's also important for all CRM team members to remember that the potential success or failure of CRM projects remains primarily on the shoulders of business stakeholders and not on those of the IT staff.

Typically, the business decision makers are the ones bringing up the need for and sponsoring a CRM solution. Often, but not always, the IT department is tasked with the selection of the platform and conducting the due diligence with a number of vendors. More importantly, while different business users may have different roles and expectations from the system, everyone needs to have a common understanding of the company's vision.

Team members need to support the same business strategies at the highest level. This means that the team will work together toward the success of a project for the company as a whole, while having individual expectations.

In addition to that, you will notice that the focus and the level of engagement of people involved in a project (the project team) will vary during the life cycle of the project as time goes on. It helps to categorize the characteristics of team members from visionaries and leadership to stakeholders and owners. While key sponsors are more visionary and, usually, the first players to actively support and advocate for a CRM strategy, they will just define the tactics. The end users will ultimately take more ownership during the deployment and operation phases.

In Figure 1.2, we see the engagement level of stakeholders, key users, and end users in a CRM implementation project. The visionaries are here to set the company's vision and strategies for a CRM, the key users (department leads) are the key sponsors who promote the solution, and the end users engage in reviews and provide feedback.

Figure 1.2: CRM role-based ownership

Before we start the development, we must have identified the stakeholders and have a crystal-clear vision of the functional requirements based on the business requirements. Furthermore, we must ensure that we have converted these to a detailed functional specification. All this is done by business analysts, project managers, solution specialists, and architects, with the level of IT engagement being driven by the outcome of this process. We will explore some really great examples and case studies later in this chapter, where we will highlight the importance of aligning team members with business strategies in order to achieve expected benefits from the CRM investment.

This will also help to identify the metrics for the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the business and consequently the metrics that you will need later on to measure the Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment (TCO/ROI) of your project. These metrics are a compass and a measurement tool for the success of your CRM project, and will help to justify your investment but also allow you to measure the improvements you've made.

You will use these metrics as a design guide for an efficient solution that not only provides functionalities supporting the business requirements and justification of your investment, but is something that also delivers data for your CRM dashboards. This data can then help you to fine-tune business processes going forward.

In Figure 1.3, you'll see a graphic illustrating the process of defining the TCO/ROI metrics. Right now, don't worry too much about it as we will be looking more at this subject from different angles later on throughout this book.

The following are the steps that are taken toward defining the TCO/ROI metrics:

  1. Business strategies and pain points are the main drivers of the investment.

  2. A business KPI for the measurement of process improvement is selected.

  3. CRM functional requirements address pain points and support business strategies.

Figure 1.3: Defining CRM KPIs and metrics for success

The TCO/ROI metrics, which are the last definition in Figure 1.3, are measurement tools that are used to evaluate the business improvements compared with the investment in a CRM solution. You define these metrics based on business goals and selected processes that are to be improved, versus the cost of implementing the functional requirements.

Throughout this book, we will engage in deeper discussions on this topic of defining CRM KPIs, with a number of real examples that could be applied in your business. Our discussion has so far presented a very simplified way of looking at things, and real life can be a lot more complex; here’s an example.


A bank and a new CEO

I was the architect and project manager of a CRM solution for a large bank with eight totally different divisions, all with different types of clients and business models. The bank went through a period of financial difficulties, and the CEO of the company was replaced by a new entrant from another country and another company. This new CEO had to make some tough decisions and therefore cutting costs by canceling some of the ongoing projects and planned investments was a priority for him.

He was commissioned to turn the company back to profit within a three-year time window by reducing operational costs and improving market share in what was a very tough environment.

At the very start of his assignment as the new CEO of this company, he called all the business leaders and board members to a meeting and asked them to provide him with a clear picture of how often they, and their respective staff, were interacting with their customers and what the outcome of all these interactions was.

In some cases, the same customer was connected with different business units for different subjects on various occasions. The new CEO wanted to know what the subjects of interactions were and what was moving customers and the market. He also wanted to know how the staff were capturing this valuable data and how they followed up on interactions and opportunities. In a nutshell, he wanted to know if the bank had a central repository for all customer interactions and the detailed data related to these interactions in order to slice and dice the data.

The new CEO wanted to make decisions based on important business metrics and so he needed this data. You would expect every organization would have this data repository, especially a large, multi-division bank, yet unfortunately, this was not the case, and actually, in many companies today, this is still not the case. We know customer interaction data is highly valuable for any business and you would agree that every company needs to capture this data.

Customers will contact your company on many different occasions and for many different reasons. They are typically asking for your advice on your products. They may submit a complaint, submit a request for support, respond to a marketing campaign, or even give you information about your company and your market.

Your customers will happily provide, at no cost, continuous feedback about your products and your services. They very often tell you what your competitors are doing and they share their sentiment with you on every single connection. You will know whether they are very happy or not so happy with every interaction. Just think about how valuable all this data could be to your business if you had a central repository of structured data about all these interactions. You could slice and dice the data for better business insight and through that, make informed business decisions.

In this bank, the new CEO found out that all these client interactions were not managed and captured systematically by all eight business units. There was no central repository of customer interactions except that of the call center, which collected limited information when capturing a customer complaint or a service request. Each business unit had its own tools and its own way of managing interactions with its clients. Clients were categorized into different segments in several databases, depending on revenue and profitability, and sometimes the same customer was managed by multiple departments. Each business unit was using a different process to manage and collect client interaction data. In some scenarios, a single client interaction was captured with different tools and different databases.

So, in this company, a central repository of the client interactions, their relationship with different business units, and the overall view of customer contacts was missing. There was no data available to the new CEO to make insightful decisions. He wanted to have the data to build data marts and eventually make decisions based on the data.

The CEO wanted to know how often customers were connecting with the company's staff, how they connected, what channel they used, how long they interacted with the employees, and what the subjects of these interactions were, along with outcomes and business opportunities with different departments of the bank. He wanted to use this data to improve processes, products, services, marketing campaigns, and customer satisfaction.

As an example, if a customer has a product or service issue and has opened a case with the customer service center and the very next day, she or he is connecting with your company's relationship manager in private banking or facility management, how is this data collected and connected? Is the information available and considered in all interactions with the customer?

Is the relationship manager informed about the open customer case while interacting about a business opportunity with her or his client? From the CRM point of view, the CEO was asking for a comprehensive 360-degree client view with full data on all the interactions, over all channels, stored as structured data in a single repository. This is often the first step toward any successful CRM implementation and is something we will cover in Chapter 2, Getting to Know Your Customer.

In this particular case, the CEO formed a task force to implement an enterprise-wide solution that would capture all interactions between clients with all eight business units, something that would be deployed within three months. The requirement was for a strong interaction management tool to efficiently capture, acknowledge, assign, track, and resolve all the different types of customer requests. The application would provide a facility for inter-department collaboration. He communicated his vision over all available channels with all the staff of the company over and over again, repeatedly explaining what his expectations were and why the company and all the staff needed to support this initiative.

This was a great success, mainly because of strong top-management support. We completed the requirements of gathering workshops with the eight different business units within three weeks. We then spent another three weeks compiling both the Business Requirement Document (BRD) and detailed specifications.

Next, we got approval from business leaders in three weeks, with another three weeks spent on designing and customizing the solution, based on a standard CRM packet. Parallel to that, we completed the integration work with the Data Warehouse (DWH) and the initial data load.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and System Integration Testing (SIT) each took a week, before we started the Train-the-Trainer (TTT) sessions in parallel to UAT and end-user training in parallel to SIT. We went live on time and on budget in less than four months!


Jumping on board with CRM

As the preceding example shows, a CRM strategy should be extended to the overall business strategy. A while back, I had a workshop with the business leaders of a company about CRM investment and CRM strategy, and the CEO of the company decided to be there for the first day as well.

The company's strategy was straightforward enough. It wanted to grow the business by 5% each year, increasing its market share by 5% year on year, and improving operational costs by 5% every year. If it should succeed with all these objectives, then the company would become the number one company in its market in five years based on actual data. This was the business strategy at the highest level and it needed to be broken down into business tactics.

I asked the CEO if it would be possible for him to share the business tactics plan with us. I wanted to know what specific steps and actions the company was taking to support the business strategy. Obviously, implementing CRM was not the only factor that could achieve this ambitious goal. There were other factors including people, processes, and infrastructure, but the chances were that CRM would be affecting other pillars as well, and the plan would help us to understand metrics and design solutions.

What follows is the plan the CEO shared with me:

Figure 1.4: The company's business tactics plan

The company was obviously taking a number of steps to innovate both the backend and the frontend applications and processes. It wanted to improve its business intelligence and infrastructure, in order to support the five-year growth plan.

Everyone in that workshop agreed that CRM was needed not only for improving the customer experience and managing the relationship with the clients as the first pillar, as shown in Figure 1.4, but also as the backbone of the business strategy to support almost all other pillars of that strategic plan. It would help the company in improving operational efficiency, business intelligence, agile application services, and more. CRM needed to integrate with all processes and include all people involved in the process of innovating the business in order to work.


Introducing case studies

We're now at a point in this chapter where I can share some case studies of CRM implementations that I have been engaged with over the course of my career. Each of these case studies will help us in underlining the processes involved.

For each case study, I will be outlining the business visions, the pain points, and the environment. We will then explore how I mapped this data with the functional requirements needed to create the KPIs and metrics that will help us to build a good TCO/ROI, and justify a CRM investment.

The aim here is to give you an overview of what these cases have in common and how business vision could drive the functional requirements in different scenarios. In addition, we really want to be looking at and understanding why it is so important to align with the business objectives.

These case studies are derived from the BRD, the Request for Information (RFI) document, and the Request for Proposals (RFP) document, as well as both the implementation and the delivery of the solution. They include information about the environment, organization, processes, and integration with current and future systems, along with the foundation to enable flexible development, low-cost maintenance, and ongoing operation of the systems.

There are other factors influencing the design of a sustainable CRM solution, such as security, usability, portability, performance, and possibly the regulations, which we will address in more detail across other chapters in this book.

In these case studies, we focus on:

  • The business environment

  • The pain points (or drivers)

  • The business objectives

All of those are factors that are important to the key stakeholders, processes, and functional requirements. Your design will need to consider business strategies/objectives, the business pain points, the existing application environment, the processes, the functional requirements, and the strong buy-in from key users.

In Figure 1.5, we see the top three drivers for your solution design, including business objectives, business pain points, and the application environment. All of these will provide functions and processes to enable key users to improve the operational efficiencies:

Figure 1.5: Key elements for functional design

For confidentiality reasons, these case studies have been fully anonymized, so if you find some similarities in the stories with your organization, then it is purely accidental.

The reason behind having five case studies here is to demonstrate a rich variety of business objectives, how they resemble or are different to each other, and how factors such as company size, market, and business objectives influence the functional requirements and the design of a solution.

Even though every business is different, I have tried to keep the same format when describing the use cases, to make it easy to compare and draw a conclusion from them.

Case study 1 – A mid-size European retailer selling goods

This is a CRM project from a mid-size company with about 1,000 employees in a small country in Western Europe. The company is selling goods and services into the retail (consumer) segment. The market size is about two million consumers, while the company is selling to about 200 local and foreign commercial customers. It has many local competitors in this small country and is facing even more competition from abroad and digital disruptors.

Pain points

The proliferation of choice in this small country has changed customers' behavior and attitudes, with an increased demand for transparency, and individualized or customized products or services. Most products and services in this segment have become commoditized within a very small market. Customer loyalty, customer retention, and share of the customer wallet have become increasingly challenging for this company.

Channel integration has also emerged as a key requirement to ensure a uniformed customer experience across all the channels, including the Internet when addressing the younger generations. This includes integration with social media for social selling and social advertising. To meet these challenges and business pain points, the company decided to implement a CRM strategy for its consumer sector.

In Figure 1.6, we see the top three business pain points for case study 1:

Figure 1.6: Business pain points for case study 1

For this company, the top business pain points were unsatisfied customers, losing market share to digital disrupters, and a lack of social media integration with the sales and marketing channel.

Business objectives

The company's business objectives were to implement a CRM strategy in order to transform its consumer business into a customer-centric business. It aimed to offer more individual products and services with the following tactics:

  • Use CRM capabilities to understand existing customers, in addition to providing a single company-wide view of customer interactions. This would allow the company to model current and future value potential to offer effectively individual services and products.

  • Launch targeted and effective marketing campaigns based on customer value segments to increase the share of wallet, optimize lifetime value, and reduce marketing costs.

  • Gain a competitive advantage from superior customer service through interaction management across channels.

  • Provide customers with consistent and uniform experiences across touch points of the contact center, direct sales, outbound sales, and retail stores through channel integration.

  • Increase the profitability, revenue, and ROI through directed cross-sell and upsell efforts using propensity to buy through the lifecycle stage of the customer.

  • Improve sales effectiveness and tracking.

  • Implement an appropriate CRM solution(s) that will support the preceding objectives.

Functional requirements

To achieve these business objectives, we then identified a number of key functionalities for CRM application, including:

  • 360-degree view: Provide a single company-wide view of the customer by aggregating the data from multiple systems about the profile, products, interactions, service requests, complaints, campaign history, and so on. CRM is able to display the details from various systems without replicating them in a CRM database, which is sometimes not practicable. There should be an ability to aggregate this data before displaying it on the user interface (UI), in order to avoid performance issues.

  • Campaign management: Primarily, there are four types of campaigns that need to be supported first:

    • Acquisition of new clients and cross-selling to existing clients.

    • Pre-approved offers for existing clients.

    • Usage-based offers for existing clients.

    • Running of special programs based on predictive modeling.

Over a period of time, the business intelligence unit built a data mart. The data mart extracts data from different source systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, and loads it into the data mart on a regular basis. The CRM application is able to run various campaigns on this data mart.

The key capabilities are:

  • Campaign planning.

  • Campaign definition.

  • Customer segmentation.

  • Event detection.

  • List management.

  • Campaign delivery (contact center, SMS, email, direct mailer, Internet, and so on) and response management.

  • Campaign effectiveness analysis.

The segmentation capabilities of the tools support the building of a logical layer over the existing data mart and provide UI support for developing the target list intuitively without writing any SQL queries. The application allows the scheduling of multi-stage campaigns for recurring programs:

  • Service request management: The consumer department receives various types of service requests via emails, calls, stores, and so on. The requirement is for a strong case management tool to efficiently capture, acknowledge, assign, track, and resolve the requests. The application provides a facility for inter-department collaboration and workflow management, along with an automation facility to define standard routes for different types of requests. The application is able to talk to multiple systems for data updates and provide a facility for Service Level Agreement (SLA) management.

  • Contact center management: The company has established a 24/7 contact center as part of its alternate delivery strategy to provide a channel for customer service requests either through a toll-free number, email, or the Internet. The contact center's role is to capture customer requests, feedback, inquiries, complaints, and suggestions. The contact center currently operates on the Avaya platform, and a CRM platform integrates with the Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) infrastructure to be able to search the customer data, leverage Interactive Voice Response (IVR) functionality, manage call scripts, and log the interactions. This channel can also use other interaction means such as email management, online chat, or co-browsing.

The other functionalities provided by a CRM application are listed here:

  • Lead management:

    • Lead acquisition

    • Lead duplication

    • Lead qualification

    • Lead assignment

    • Lead tracking

    • Lead source analysis

  • Sales management:

    • Sales planning

    • Activity management

    • Pipeline management

    • Calendar and task management

  • Customer analytics including customized dashboards and ad hoc reporting.

In Figure 1.7, we see the top functional requirements for case study 1:

Figure 1.7: Functional priorities for case study 1

The top functional requirements were to create a comprehensive 360-degree client view and provide a single company-wide view of the customers to enable various types of service requests via emails, calls, stores, and so on. It was also required to introduce sales and service automation for better service request handling and improved sales-pipeline management.

Case study 2 – A mid-size Eastern European retailer selling consumer goods

This is a mid-size company in a small Eastern European country, selling high-end service-intensive commodities to consumers. Currently, it is number three in its market, and has the ambitious plan to become number two in just over five years. The company is planning on achieving this by increasing marketing, sales, and services effectively, in order to gain a higher market share.

Pain points

This company had two different CRM applications in place with limited capabilities that were not integrated. One was an in-house CRM, while the second one was from SAP (a German enterprise software company), which was expected to be discontinued. The systems were used mainly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and corporate clients, and offered management for the consumer clients in a 360-degree view, campaign management, Next-Best Offer (NBO) propositions, sales processes, and reporting.

The company felt the pain of not having the capabilities to support social media sales and marketing initiatives. Likewise, by having two different CRM systems that were not interoperable and not supporting the latest technologies, such as AI, the company was struggling.

In Figure 1.8, we see the top three business pain points for case study 2:

Figure 1.8: Business pain points for case study 2

The top business pain points for this company were two separated CRM systems, and therefore the lack of a single repository of customer data; the growing competition from digital disrupters; and an aggressive growth plan that needed additional management tools.

Business objectives

The company wanted to implement a new enterprise CRM system to replace its two existing CRM applications and to support the company's growth plan by leveraging newer technologies.

The new system would enable improvements in the performance and capabilities of operational CRM in the areas of sales, service, and marketing automation for existing and potential customers across all segments, including consumer, SME, micro, and corporate clients, including but not limited to:

  • Generation and distribution of sales leads.

  • Increase sales generated through effective marketing campaigns.

  • Improve the rate of sales opportunities converted to a product sale.

  • Improve knowledge management and leverage machine learning in order to increase the ability for targeted marketing and sales.

  • Provide supporting applications and business intelligence (BI) tools for stores and regional offices to manage and analyze a client's product portfolio.

  • Provide operational reports and dashboards for CRM data and sales.

  • Provide tools to improve employees' collaboration in order to increase employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.

  • Give the ability to support and to maintain different sales and product pricing management processes.

  • Improve marketing automation with additional BI, AI, and effectiveness measurement tools.

  • Increase engagement of the clients through community buildings including Facebook and other social media platforms.

  • E-channel and social media integration, including the ability to provide the business logic of a CRM platform to customers via social media platforms, and adding a social media profile of clients into a CRM 360-degree client view.

Functional requirements

The following functional requirements were identified as top priorities for phase one of the project:

  • 360-degree client view across all customer segments.

  • Event management for sales and marketing events.

  • Campaign management, with the ability to set campaign targets, generate target lists, and create campaign performance reports.

  • Prospects, offer, and preference management.

  • Pricing tool.

  • Task and staff management tool.

  • Sales processes, showing client needs, referrals, and onboarding, and so on.

  • Both reporting and individual role-based dashboards.

  • Accounts management and monitoring, including call reports.

  • Automated tasks and templates for predefined events.

  • Client revenue management.

  • Microsoft Office integration, including Outlook.

  • Integration with an SMS platform.

  • Mass mailing solution.

  • Social CRM.

  • Integration with both the Cisco system and Altitude for the contact center.

  • Real-time integration.

  • The interaction between CRM and DWH.

  • Integration with all core systems, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

  • Integration with analytical tools and old CRM systems data.

  • Integration with Active Directory.

  • Provide the ability to use external data solutions.

  • Intra-company and intra-group collaboration management.

  • Provide clients with business analytics.

  • Integration with the company's Advanced Data Analytics system.

  • Provide business insights.

In Figure 1.9, we see the top functional requirements for case study 2:

Figure 1.9: Functional priorities for case study 2

The functional priorities for this company were to implement a better customer onboarding process, improve customer lifecycle management, integrate with social media such as social selling and social advertisement, and introduce business intelligence tools for better reporting and dashboards.

Case study 3 – A new entrant in the UK retailer sector

This is a new entrant in a very tough consumer market in the UK, with giant competitors that are already very well established in the same market. The company sells commodity products to the mass market and currently has 100,000 customers. It has the ambitious goal of growing the business fivefold in just five years.

Pain points

There are tough market conditions for a new company, especially while competing with the big market players in a saturated market. In a nutshell, the company decided to implement operational CRM in order to gain process efficiency, reduce operational costs, and improve marketing. The company wanted to build a customer-centric business, and effectively and securely underpin the next five years of growth aspirations.

In Figure 1.10, we see the top three business pain points for case study 3:

Figure 1.10: Business pain points for case study 3

The top business pain points here were that this was a start-up company in a very saturated market and there was a need to have strong growth in order to survive.

Business objectives

The company aims to exceed the expectations of customers every day and make them "fans." It introduced a number of quirky programs to entice new members, such as dog-friendly environments with free biscuits and a kids' corner, along with a host of other services in stores to make clients feel at home.

With over 2,000 new customers being added each week, the company rapidly needed to update its systems to cope with the demand and deliver better service levels. To accommodate the rapid growth, it decided to go fully into the cloud for all of its customer-facing applications, including CRM.

The business leaders of the company want to achieve higher process efficiency, continuously improve operational costs, and improve marketing operations to support the strategy of growing the business in the high-street market (mass market). They have the vision to grow the business in the next five years from:

  • 100,000+ to 500,000 customers.

  • 600 to 3,000 employees.

  • 15 to 150 stores.

To support its aim of becoming one of the UK's leading players and support its growth, the company is investing heavily in client relationship management to support customer strategies including:

  • Supporting and engaging the company's staff and employees in all customer interaction processes and when promoting the company's culture of excellent service delivery.

  • Building a trust relationship with customers by letting them feel that the person they are talking to is well informed about who they are and is in a position to provide excellent customer service.

  • Helping the client processes within the company to happen efficiently, effectively, and to prescribed SLAs.

  • Working with the company's sales forces and sales managers to ensure they are supported with KPIs, tools, and the visibility they need to do their jobs effectively.

  • Supporting the company's infrastructure/environment in the processes of growth. This should be reflective of the progressive growth the company is expecting to have.

Functional requirements

The first and most important functionality for the company is to create a comprehensive 360-degree client view. The solution provides integration with Single Customer View and Agile Analytics. The Single Customer View and the related Customer Data Management/Analytics capability are developed as enterprise capabilities outside of the current client applications and provide both an operational Single Customer View and an analytical view.

The analytical view is based on the company's data warehouse platform. All CRM components and processes are integrated with the Single Customer View including operational and analytic components to support:

  • Data management

  • Integration

  • Analytics using external and internal datasets

This is a multi-year investment in developing the capabilities and key functionalities that the company has identified for a CRM application, in order to achieve its business objectives and bring a lot of automation, such as:

  • Deeper client insight: For example, role-based Single Client View across the company and business areas.

  • Richer functionality: A capability that supports the full breadth of client processes, recognizing that these differ by client segment and across businesses.

  • Automation and usability: Improved front-office efficiency through automation and access to responsive and easy-to-use tools.

  • Enhanced controls: Provide a robust control framework that can manage role-based access to client data, control client service consumption, and ensure compliance with policy and regulation.

  • Scalable and modular architecture: Build capabilities iteratively with the ability to scale with evolving requirements and meet the customized needs of particular product areas.

  • Productivity improvements: This will allow the company to realize business efficiencies that are required to support the ambitious growth plan at lower operational costs.

The system provides a rich marketing functionality for these purposes:

  • Create and manage campaigns across events, email campaigns, and online campaigns.

  • Use segmentation tools to create dynamic lists.

  • Full company view and role-based dashboards of events and campaigns.

  • Automate marketing distribution, integration with third-party email blast tools, campaign file and distribution lists determined by client preferences/subscriptions, and/or bespoke campaign lists. Capture readership/bounce-rate metrics for analysis.

  • Target events to specific clients based upon user-defined filters, client preferences, and segmentation rules.

  • Attendee management for attendee information, invites, preferences, feedback, and recent attendance.

  • Service awards, management surveys, and awards.

  • Mail merge and Office compatibility.

  • ROI analysis tools and campaign statistics. Measure the effectiveness of campaigns, through tracking the campaign member through the sales cycle from lead, to opportunity, to sale.

A rich call list functionality to provide:

  • Default and user-defined call lists based upon user preferences.

  • Configuration of dynamic call lists based on market events, trigger points, call-level alerts, and so on.

  • Search and filter facilities.

  • Single click, intuitive interaction capture, and fully configurable forms.

  • CTI capabilities, including click to dial, and the ability to integrate CTI connectors into telephony systems.

  • Call logging: single or group (mass action) with fully customizable call reports required.

  • Workflow management with bespoke workflow required.

Comprehensive case management to:

  • Incorporate email and case handling into customer service, including:

    • Automatic case creation rules from a single email queue.

    • Routing rule sets.

    • SLAs.

    • Queues.

  • Enable effective tracking of customer email requests between multiple departments.

  • Track SLA and escalations of customer requests received via email.

  • Create flexible and extensible workflows, and dialog capabilities that allow you to drive repeatable and predictable service experiences.

Extended reporting and dashboards analytics:

  • Standard report types.

  • Report customization tools.

  • Report-writing template tools to create a template, define formats, and chart types.

  • Formulas and conditional highlighting.

  • Formatting compatibility; for example, with mobile devices.

  • Excel compatibility.

  • Customizable dashboards, both through real-time and historical snapshots, allowing the drag-and-drop creation of customizable dashboards; that is, pie charts, bar charts, and line graphs.

Better collaboration, including:

  • Chat groups and forums (private and public); for example, clients, contacts, opportunities, documents, and so on.

  • Social media integration, through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Follow topics and make recommendations.

  • File sharing and feedback.

  • Alerts and notifications.

  • Mobile capability.

  • History and audit trail.

  • Integration with video conferencing tools.

  • Workflow approval through collaboration tools.

  • Thematic and thread search.

In Figure 1.11, we can see the top functional requirements for case study 3:

Figure 1.11: Functional priorities for case study 3

The top functional requirements for this company were to introduce mass marketing tools that would enable addressing consumers in the high-street market, be able to create a collaboration platform for employees both in the back office and front office, implement automation in customer processes, and use powerful analytical tools to enable better insight into the business and market.

Case study 4 – A large financial services company in Africa

This is a well-known financial services provider in Africa that is operating in a very competitive market across continental Africa. It is no longer defined by its products or even its brand. Its expectations are not limited to comparing its products and services to its industry competitors, but also to providing the best customer service it can in a time with digital disruption posed by Fintech companies. The Fintech sector will undoubtedly be in a permanent state of disruption within this industry, especially in Africa. The company realized that it could no longer ignore the reality that it needed to focus on keeping up with its clients' expectations rather than competitors.

Pain points

Customers being highly influenced by the Internet and mobile applications was taking the market share of this bank away. As a large and long-time player in the market, it still had many old legacy applications and had fallen behind with the latest technologies.

The challenge was how efficiently the company could leverage its existing investment in applications, data, and skills in order to enable the digital transformation needed. The bank wanted to provide customers with better service and a positive experience in every interaction, using all kinds of channels.

Figure 1.12: Business pain points for case study 4

The top business pain points here were that this company was losing its market share, customers' expectations were increasing, and it was facing challenges from multiple digital disrupters.

Business objectives

The goal was to enable the bank to transition from a predominantly product-centric organization to a more client-centric one. The task for the bank was to differentiate itself in a very competitive marketplace by engaging clients to win new business. It needed to grow its clients in Africa and international markets. In a nutshell, the bank's vision was putting the clients first, creating sustainable shareholder value, striving for excellence, igniting energy in others, making people think and act as an owner, making diversity happen, and building upon the bank's reputation of being a trustworthy partner.

Figure 1.13: The company's interaction with clients

There were two desired outcomes from a fundamental transformation of the bank's client and digital offering:

  1. Client advocacy: For this brand, its name is synonymous with client centricity, and the value that it adds to clients is recognized and respected by them and the market. Clients are its best ambassadors, with the power to promote excellence to other prospective clients.

  2. Breaking client inertia: Offering a level of measurable value that is so significant and unique to clients that they are excited about their relationship with the bank, and so they put effort and urgency into pursuing that relationship.

The bank's client-centric strategy is now being driven through two primary approaches:

  1. Via cultural messaging and reinforcement through bank executives, bank-wide communication, strategic presentations, and the activation of the lead purpose statement with an emphasis on brand principles.

  2. Via the delivery of the Customer Experience Program (CEP), which is a set of projects aimed at building the data, processes, and technology platforms from which the bank's client onboarding and maintenance processes are being designed, with a mindset to be more client centric.

Considering the preceding, the bank is simplifying and improving the way in which it interacts with clients, with the initial focus being establishing a solid foundation on which to build. The CEP's vision is to create a differentiated, seamless, and first-class client experience throughout the bank's client value chain, from prospecting and onboarding, to product sales and maintenance.

Functional requirements

Due to the depth and breadth of the strategy for the bank's business and digital transformation, its CEP was split into two phases. Each phase had one year of implementation time and one year of window in between to let employees adapt to the new changes.

Phase one of the CEP focused on data architecture alignment and data clean up in order to achieve a single view of the client, as well as the establishment of a single client team to assist clients from an onboarding and maintenance perspective:

  • A simplified technical and data architecture for the optimization of processes for end-to-end client onboarding and maintenance functions.

  • The creation of a definitive bank Client Master List for client-friendly, simplified, and reusable client forms, legal agreements, and documents.

  • Improvements in client data governance and data quality for the implementation of the Know Your Client (KYC) API utility.

  • Implementation of a workflow solution for client onboarding for a reduction in client touchpoints.

In detail, these are the functional requirements for the Client Golden Record system:

  • Define which client attributes make up the Master Data Record (MDR) for clients and hierarchies, as well as the different views required.

  • Define which target system will be the master for each attribute as part of the journey to simplify the client architecture (what are the fields and where will they be hosted?).

  • Client data store.

  • The group has made a decision to make Customer Information Mainframe System (CIS) a master data source for Proof of Existence (Core Customer Data) purposes as part of the customer strategy. Core customer data is stored and maintained on various systems without automated integration. This has resulted in different versions of customer information existing on various systems.

  • The client data store delivered a Client Golden Record and a Master Client List that is comprehensive, accurate, and accessible to everyone who has an impact on the client experience.

Single client team structure:

  • Create a single back office team for onboarding and maintenance of clients across corporate investment banking.

The system of record:

  • Update the CIS and the bank's client systems with the updated KYC client information.

  • De-activate all invalid client records.

Client onboarding workflow:

  • Introduction of workflow to enable account management processes and lay the foundation for a streamlined, scalable, and automated client onboarding and maintenance discipline for corporate clients.

Building blocks for phase one:

  • Streamline corporate bank onboarding and maintenance forms, as well as introduce the overall Master Service Agreement (MSA).

  • To reduce the amount of paperwork and duplicate information requested from clients during the onboarding process, both for new clients as well as for existing clients.

  • Create an API that enables the bank system to interface with the outside vendor KYC utility.

Phase two of the CEP aims to deliver several value add-ons that are impossible to deliver without the foundation put in place by phase one; for example, improved and predictive client insights, service management, sales collaboration, customer relationship management tools, and a digital omnichannel experience for the bank's clients as it strives to be a more client-centric business.

Onboarding and maintenance:

  • The continuation of the development and implementation of a workflow in the client service teams across the organization.

  • Continuation of the simplification of client and product onboarding forms.

  • Service optimization and improvements.

Replacing the old CRM:

  • Implementation of a new CRM solution and decommissioning the current CRM. The objective is to improve the sales management (leads/opportunities and client interaction management) as well as cover marketing management (manage and track campaigns and events), plus service management (create and manage client records, related contacts, and service requests).

Client data utility:

  • The client data utility project will seek to implement the Golden Source Client and counterparty module. A project will perform a proof of concept undertaking to establish the suitability of the Golden Source platform to meet the bank's client data consolidation requirements, testing its master data management, workflow, onboarding, rules engine, and data integration capabilities.


  • Implementation of an omnichannel solution for the bank, which facilitates the creation and delivery of inbound and outbound communications and content, including for marketing, new product introductions, notifications, instruction confirmations, and product lifecycle correspondence.

Africa and international:

  • To streamline and standardize the onboarding processes for Africa and international subsidiaries, including onboarding, product forms, document storage, server maintenance, and client service requests.

Client analytics:

  • Establishing and embedding client analytics, providing client insights to client-facing business units, with the capability to profile clients and accordingly tailor propositions.

Corporate banking service:

  • Create a client-centric service model commencing with the Corporate Banking business. The most important element is to have a structured call report.

Social media:

  • Providing social media integration such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a similar African (social listening) activity overview in the 360-degree client profile.

  • A CRM should be able to monitor social networks under predefined parameters, in order for the bank to be able to better react and respond.

  • On social media platforms, if a client asks for advice on credit or discusses issues (advice, complaints, or praise), the bank should be able to respond in real time by communicating with clients. In addition, a change of profile information should initiate changes to the system, including entry to marketing.

In Figure 1.14, we see the top functional requirements for case study 4:

Figure 1.14: Functional priorities for case study 4

The top functional priorities for this company were to enable predictive customer insights by measuring customer sentiment and activities. In addition to this, it also wanted to implement an omnichannel process engine for handling customer requests over all the different channels, integrate with social media for social selling and social advertisement activities, and apply call reports to create better insights for capturing the details of all customer interactions.

Case study 5 – A very large global private bank with international operations

This is a globally successful private banking and investment firm. I would like to extend the case study into details of processes, as private banking and investment is one of the most sophisticated sectors, and there are more comprehensive requirements here than any other CRM project I have ever seen. This firm is one of the largest subsidiaries in Western Europe.

The company wanted to leverage years of investment in developing processes, procedures, and commercial tools to support the business goals of being a global player in private banking in terms of winning, maintaining, and nurturing current and potential clients (leads). While at the same time, it wanted to create superior sales processes, including those processes that would help, in a sustainable manner, to accomplish the vision of the company.

Pain points

The company had a sophisticated CRM application in place, but it was still not doing exactly what the business users and relationship managers would expect from the perspective of having an efficient way of serving high-end customers, such as dealing with the vast amount of data about customers. Business applications have become more complex in the course of the last few years, and relationship managers and investors have become increasingly overloaded in dealing with the many applications and data sources.

In a nutshell, the company had developed a successful sales process that technically could not be managed with the existing CRM tools without heavy investment.

In Figure 1.15, we see the top three business pain points for case study 5:

Figure 1.15: Business pain points for case study 5

The top business pain points for this company were the increasing amount of data from business applications, the growing business and customer base, and the very complex sales processes that needed to be better managed.

Business objectives

Currently, the company has a set of applications and processes to support business management and customer care within the private banking and investment business sector. With the new CRM, it intends to improve all the client tools by means of the implementation of an enterprise-wide CRM application, which will serve to support the excellent management of client relationships.

The new system is designed to unify and centralize the diverse tools, and the vast amount of data available to investors and financial advisors in the company across the many different applications and data stores. This is to support the business processes of the whole organization with faster response times, and lower operating costs to improve the business efficiency and elevate customer relationships to the next level.

A CRM application is designed to give a better user experience in order to:

  • Improve financial advisory sessions by providing better client services and having the capacity to analyze client conditions accurately, along with offering financial planning that meets their requirements.

  • Facilitate the efficient management of the business processes in which the advisory service articulates the unique position of the bank; that is to say:

    • The winning of customer trust by providing better customer insight to Financial Advisors (FA).

    • Improving customer loyalty by providing faster and more profitable services to investors.

    • Managing the abandonment and recapture of client processes in both private and institutional investors.

    • Allowing higher productivity across the organization through integration with applications to support collaborative functions across a global team of investors.

    • Supporting the daily activities of the FAs, including follow-up with client activities for a faster response to market and client needs.

    • Supporting centralized, territorial, and local workforces by means of generating alarms for related events in the market supported by the global workforce.

Functional requirements

This project is framed fundamentally in the scope of the private banking and investment business unit of this global financial services provider. It is based particularly on the requirements of the financial advisors for Private Banking (PB), but also it covers the requirements of related business entities such as the business development unit, research, and Corporate Investment Banking (CIB) groups. Last but not least, the project needs to support a digital transformation the company is going through.

There are a few challenges when attempting a successful transformation, starting with the question of costs versus output. Remember how we talked about ROI? How does this company transform and what does it get back from the investment in this transformation? How smoothly and intelligently can it manage the transformation without any major investment and business disruption?

Finally, how does the company leverage the enormous amount of data it is collecting every day and every hour while serving its customers? As the processes and roles in the PB and CIB groups are the most sophisticated when it comes to a CRM solution, we will cover some of them in more detail here.

This is not only related to private banking, but could be applied in any other business where customer relationships are an essential part of the success of the business.

With this new CRM, the company is consolidating all existing business solutions and processes that have helped to successfully grow the business and support the overall strategy of the company. The new CRM should build on the investments of the last few years. This includes integrating the tools that were supporting the daily operations of the business and all 100+ financial advisors.

The new CRM system needs to incorporate both commercial and non-commercial applications, including all the sales tools and processes that were developed with in-house resources.

In the definition of commercial systems, the best practices of a company are obtained through a set of critical processes, information, and business standards, with the main goal of serving each customer or potential lead effectively in terms of advising, relationship management, product offering, and services, in order to win business, develop, grow, and ultimately avoid losing customers.

The company has established a system for each particular segment of clients; for example, the minimum contact annually with a particular client segment (calls and visits (activities)) to guide FAs.

The four main processes that make up the client lifecycle are:

  • Winning a client (pick-up process).

  • Nurture and development processes.

  • Grow customer loyalty.

  • Management of abandonment and recapture.

These processes constitute the client lifecycle at a very high level and the processes that follow are the supporting pillars. The new CRM solution will then need to bring all these procedures under the same umbrella and build a central repository of client data with role-based dashboards and control panels to orchestrate business more efficiently.

For the pick-up process, which is how this bank is defining the process of winning a new client, success relies mainly on the principles of teamwork and co-management. The teamwork is guaranteed through the allocation of client teams within the company. Each team has several FAs who will have to deal directly with their assigned clients.

Throughout the process of pick-up, which is a company-developed process that is used to identify and manage those potential leads who are susceptible to becoming clients of the company, you'll also encounter those who are nonqualified references (non-qualified leads), references, and opportunities to manage. A client is managed by the new client process when they have spent less than a year with the company. This is reflected in the particular processes, views, and dashboard listings of new clients.

The next step is the nurturing and development processes that are carried out on existing clients. Nurturing is mainly those activities in the day-to-day life of the relationship manager or the FA, whereas development process is about increasing the entailment of existing clients; for example, an increase of portfolio or share of wallet. These processes start with the identification of new business opportunities and go up to the closing of deals.

Next is customer loyalty management. This includes all of the activities developed with the purpose of maintaining and increasing relationship lifetime with the most profitable clients; for example, through specific campaigns and events that are organized for these clients.

After that stage, there's the process of abandonment and client recapture. This is activities developed with the purpose of anticipating (early detection) and managing the loss of customers, as well as recapturing those profitable clients who were lost.

Figure 1.16 illustrates the complex client lifecycle for this company, including the client pick-up stage, the process of onboarding a new client, the nurture and development of a client relationship, improved loyalty management tools, and last but not least, the process of a client leaving and winning them back (recapture):

Figure 1.16: The client lifecycle

This company created a very comprehensive customer lifecycle management process for its High-net-worth Individuals (HNWI) whose investible assets (such as stocks and bonds) exceed €1 million.

The sales team

The sales team consists of different roles from different business units and the new CRM platform, which needs to fully support the complex organizational structure and processes that play a significant role in the architecture of a CRM solution. This is actually an integral part of the successful CRM solution for the company. Therefore, we have to take a closer look at the roles of the protagonists who deal with clients:

  • Coverage: These people have a clear focus to activate, develop, and increase business with new clients or increase business with a profitable existing client base of the company in order to increase the share of wallet. They are called hunters internally.

  • Developers: They focus on the relationship with existing clients, right after customer onboarding and throughout the relationship lifecycle, in order to develop new client opportunities.

  • Research specialists: They support the FA and the relationship manager in the identification of business opportunities, as well as supporting the preparation for visits with new potential customers or with ex-clients. The research specialist assists the FA in overcoming possible objections, while supporting developers with due diligence research.

  • Middle office: Its mission is to support the FA in putting together financial proposals for investment and customized information specific to the client (comparative evolution of a portfolio, risks, studies, and so on).

  • Group leaders: This includes the director of the office/branch (if large enough) and is the central piece of the process of management and collaboration. Group leaders report to the regional directors and are able to delegate certain activities to the team leaders. The group leader has, therefore, a superset of functions of an FA and is also directly involved in the processes with clients through winning, maintaining and development, loyalty, and recapture.

  • Golden Pipe Sales (GPS): Throughout the last few years, the company has developed its own sales methodology, which is a unique sales process (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-process-) based on its market and products. GPS is a new in-house business solution that is managing these sales processes consisting of a number of processes for the Gold client segment.

FAs and relationship managers start the day with their sales funnels created in GPS. GPS has been successfully piloted and deployed in most branches of the company, and it supports the commercial network of the company across Europe, managed by locations and territories. 70% of the total business is already managed by GPS and it has been proven to be a successful sales methodology for the company. GPS will be on everyone's home page at the start of the day with the new CRM.

In Figure 1.17, we see GPS implemented within a CRM. This starts with lead management, before moving to developing business opportunities, improved customer onboarding processes, and business planning.

Figure 1.17: The GPS process

All of these processes will be explained in more detail in this book. In summary, the new CRM implementation includes an FA desktop, supporting the definition of roles and organizational structure within the team, supporting GPS processes, presenting related KPIs, supporting commercial workflows, providing role-based control panels/dashboards, and being supported by applications and functions managing the sales pipeline, which is placed on the home page.

The implementation of the system articulates through use cases, which are associated with activities and are monitored by a reporting tool that lists the client activities. GPS was developed with only one goal: to support processes and provide transparency to business leaders by monitoring the activities of clients and FAs. It needs to integrate with an automated agenda of activities and facilitate the change management that is crucial to streamlining the consultation processes. As the processes have been successful, the company decided to extend the GPS both in functionality and territory.

All offices will receive the new CRM system, as well as extended functionalities of GPS, including automated agenda management, individual KPIs, and control panels, so that all FAs of the commercial network can use the new enhanced system based on the success of GPS.

All of this will help to build a centralized repository of all sales activities that are aligned with and supported by a global network of investor relationship specialists. This will enable better business insights and orchestration, which will be a supporting pillar for continuous business improvements and even higher profitability in the coming years. The solution provides a portal enabling the FAs to have a better insight into their clients, sales pipe, activities, and more. The main function is to provide a client 360-degree view.

The portal includes the most critical operations of an FA, including:

  • The control panel, the entry page, or home page: Mainly for the FAs and investor relationship managers. This page provides a quick view of daily activities, emails, and business-related alerts. It is the starting page to search/look for all related elements. It includes a dashboard for the FAs, which is individually tailored for each member of the team. The page also supports extended GPS processes for users such as FAs, relationship managers, and administrators, along with supporting the consultation process and financial planning.

  • The client card: Allows FAs to consult and store commercial-related data about their clients. It's also the integration point with other systems; for example, the order entry. This is an extended 360-degree client view, which we will cover extensively in the next chapter.

  • The client flash: This page gathers and displays the most important information about the client; for example, position holding, transactions, last activities, conversations, and more. It provides a quick snapshot of the business in terms of a particular client.

  • Identification and qualification: This page contains client information coming from the back office (current addresses, accounts, nationality, and so on). Also, it provides information about the sales team that takes care of this client and opportunities. Also included are qualitative documents (financial planning, assets, and so on), a professional profile of the client, opportunities, objectives, family data, and more.

  • Business actions: The management of business activities with clients. This data is extended and migrated to the new CRM system to support sales process automation and related data for regulatory authorities, such as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).

  • Holding: This page lists the positions of the client for any member of the client team. It allows for tracking loss and gains, movements of the account, and the composition of the portfolio (distribution of assets).

  • Share of wallet: On this page, the FA maintains information about the position that the client has with an outside company/competitor. It includes the share of wallet and also serves to highlight the interest that a client can have in other products (NBO).

  • Order entry: This page is simply a link to the application for order entry. This will be later realized natively in the new CRM system.

  • Notification archive: Provides the FA with a list of documents and notifications sent to his or her clients, allowing them to search, filter, sort, and print notifications sent to clients.

  • Documentation: For each client, group of investors, or corporate accounts there are obligatory documents that are scanned and stored in the file system. Under this page, the FA is provided with functions to manage and explore documents scanned for each client. This also supports the MIFID and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) processes.

  • Account planning: Here the relationship manager will do their account planning, see account-related notifications, see consultation plans, get alerts, and follow up on tasks.

  • 100 days: The company strongly believes that the first 100 days of the client life cycle are the most valuable for building a strong relationship and for cross- and up-selling opportunities. Here the FA will follow the processes for nurturing and building a long-lasting relationship with new clients.

  • Sales management: The FA will follow and monitor the progress of leads and consider opportunity management. This page keeps information regarding client telephone calls and visits (call reports) and turns a lead to an opportunity, which should turn into a client. This is basically reflecting the GPS processes.

  • Intermediation: Related to the intermediation of the type of news, analysis, and documents.

  • Learning: Contains the list of mandatory and recommended training and compliance courses, readings, questionnaires, and the tracking of the completion of mandatory courses.

  • Markets: Quotations of the different indices and values that have the ability to capture historical data and export it to Excel.

  • Financial planning: Designed to hold general information regarding the financial planning of the client and the investment objectives. This tool collects data that is duplicated in other systems including a profile of the client, the personal data of the client's contacts, their objectives, and a proposal. This is a mandatory process for regulatory authorities in most countries.


What to take away from the five case studies

As we can see in these five case studies, one of the most common elements of all CRM projects is building a comprehensive 360-degree client view that will be a supporting pillar for sales, marketing, and services processes automation. It is also important to support the company in building long-lasting relationships with clients, while managing the business and resources more efficiently based on insightful decisions, at a reduced cost of operation.

A comparison of these five case studies also reveals that every organization must implement its own unique sales process based on its vertical, products, industry, culture, and market position. What works for one company will often totally flop for another. As a case in point, I remember implementing a CRM solution for a company in Hungary that had the mother company in Norway. It was the same company, the same product, and the same industry, but each location had different sales processes that had to be optimized to the local company's culture and market position.

When you start the daunting task of designing the architecture of your CRM solution, you will find that you have some architectural questions that need to be answered in order to build a solid foundation:

  • What information will be managed, stored, and presented?

  • What are the main functional entities of your architecture?

  • How will these entities interact with each other and with the outside world?

  • What are the top processes to be supported by a CRM?

  • Will a development, test, support, and training environment be needed?

Then there are a few concepts that you need to think about when you're finding a balance of these viewpoints:

  • Static structures: Also known as cross-cutting concerns, these will impact all of the other architectural viewpoints.

  • Dynamic structures: This is where you apply perspectives to your viewpoints in order to build a dynamic structure to better satisfy stakeholders who have different ideas about the key requirements.

  • Quality properties: These look at performance, security, and availability.

Stakeholders, architectural description, viewpoints, and perspectives will be in your Solution Blueprint (SBP), along with a process catalog, use cases, and integration points, all of which we will cover in later chapters.

There are many dependencies to be considered; for example, the main users claim to need totally different information from what the staff members at the head office need. This is really connected information that supports a multistep process, which is often built on top of the same data from the central repository of customer data.

The business managers say it's crucial to have real-time summary reporting throughout the day, which may slow the transaction flow significantly, which is not acceptable to the main users of the system. Meanwhile, IT members are worried about adopting new technology, security, and compatibility issues. As you can see in the figure that follows, there are a number of different stakeholders involved in any CRM system.

The design of a sustainable CRM architecture will have to consider many dependencies, such as stakeholders, data centers, functional requirements, business processes, the feedback loop, and review management. In Figure 1.18, you can see these dependencies mapped out:

Figure 1.18: The dependencies illustrated

The case studies we've looked at in this chapter also demonstrate the need for an architect to identify and connect with all the key stakeholders. They need to understand stakeholders' objectives, perspectives, and conflicting priorities, and design an architecture that satisfies all the business requirements effectively within a reasonable TCO/ROI.

On top of a great CRM architecture design, there are a few important success factors that I will introduce here and discuss in more detail throughout this book:

  • Management and employees must get involved and work together towards the success of a project.

  • CRM is primarily a management and business issue, not an IT issue.

  • CRM will support all channels, business units, and users.

  • Business processes will define CRM processes and not the other way around.

  • CRM will enable the measurement of success, customer profitability, share of wallet, and business process automation.

  • Change management is crucial for success.



In this chapter, we've looked at all the important elements of a CRM system, including operational CRM, analytical CRM, and collaboration CRM. We also saw in five different case studies how particular business pain points and strategies will shape functional priorities for your CRM design.

We touched upon the TCO/ROI for CRM projects. These metrics are measurement tools that are used to evaluate the business improvements achieved through CRM compared with the investment in a CRM solution. You define these metrics based on business goals and selected processes that are to be improved versus the cost of implementing the functional requirements.

Throughout the rest of this book, we will engage in deeper discussions on all these topics, with a number of implementation examples that could be applied in your business.

In the next chapter, Getting to Know Your Customers, we will explore the most critical element in CRM, before we deep dive into CRM design techniques in Chapter 3, Conceptualizing the CRM Design from Business Requirements.

About the Author
  • Max Fatouretchi

    Max Fatouretchi's CRM journey began some 20 years ago as he started his small software business in Vienna, Austria, developing custom CRM applications for clients in Austria. Some 7 years, later he joined Microsoft's international team as a partner technology specialist and industry manager for Microsoft Dynamics 365 products for the next 13 years. Throughout these 20 years, he has been engaged in many CRM implementations across the globe. The first one was with his own software company in Vienna, where he developed a CRM system for several banking clients in collaboration with HP (Hewlett Packard). At the same time, he fulfilled a role as a mentor and trainer, teaching CRM classes across Europe. After joining Microsoft, he started working with Microsoft teams across Europe the, Middle East, Africa, the Asia, Pacific, China, and Latin America to develop and deliver CRM projects to enterprise customers. As a lead architect and industry manager with Microsoft, he has participated in many CRM implementations with some 100+ multinational companies, mostly in the financial services industry.

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