Alan Joenn
posted by Alan Joenn on December 14, 2018
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The term “CRM as a Service” has been used recently, and it always seems to be people talking about technology. They’re talking about software and platforms in the cloud that house the technology. So CRM as a Service, really, means Software as a Service.

We’ve been working with CRM for a long time, and we believe that CRM is not just about software and the platforms that you might run in the cloud. CRM is about a business culture. It’s about making it easier for your people to do their jobs dealing with customers, and it’s about making it easier for customers to do business with you.

So – if CRM as a Service is not about software, we need a new meaning! What should CRM as a Service mean?

Watch this video – a short presentation on the subject of CRM as a Service and what it should mean.

In order to define CRM as a Service, I’m going to start with an “O”.

“O” is for Opportunities

Everyone wants CRM to help them identify opportunities. They want opportunities identified in the market in a business development sense; opportunities on how they can grow customers, opportunities on improving business conversion rates, KPIs and the other ratios that you might use to measure your performance; opportunities to improve staff retention. If you’ve got people who find their jobs easier to do and they’re happy with their work, then you’re going to reduce your churn rate. These are some of the opportunities that people will look for, from CRM, in order to improve their business.

To develop these opportunities you need information, and information becomes the decision support tool that you need. So, I need a “D” before the “O” in this storyline.

“D” is for Data

Data is the lifeblood of CRM. We have an acronym: CART – Consistency, Accuracy, Relevance and Timeliness – that we use to find the attributes of good data in CRM terms. It’s essential that data is consistent so that people can trust it; that it’s accurate and relevant so that it makes for good decisions; and that it’s timely, so that CRM can inform you of what your next best action is and what the right time is to take it.

But! Data doesn’t manage itself – people do. So, we need a “C” before the “O” –

“C” is for Community

… the community of people that are in your world. The customers that you have today, the customers that you’re going to win tomorrow, and the committed staff who work hard at their jobs. The competent managers who put it all together, keeping teams motivated, making the right decisions based on taking things forward and helping to develop the opportunities that we’re focused on in our CRM world.

If this community is going to deliver the information that you need, they need some technology to help them deliver that to you. So we need an “I” before the “C”.

The “I” in this case is for Infrastructure

By infrastructure, I mean the tech tools that you use every day. You might have software on your own servers, you might use Software as a Service (SaaS) where things live in the cloud. Your customers will be dealing with your webpages, the content that you publish and the calls-to-action that you push out – those might be linked to action plans. And certainly your internal community will have calendars and things to do lists; they’ll be scheduling activities in Outlook or some other tech tool. You might even be going through a process of trying to move towards more cloud computing in order to eliminate server costs in your organisation.

Making the most out of this infrastructure and using this infrastructure to help you develop opportunities through CRM requires help from somebody. This is not something you do every day. So you need a little help from somebody’s who’s in the know, who understands the infrastructure. And therefore, you need an “S” before the “C”.

The “S” in this case means Support

It means the expert help you need to make sense of the infrastructure and the data demands that you’re putting on your CRM through that infrastructure. The support is there so that your user community can actually understand the tools that you’ve provided. Your internal community needs to understand the way that CRM works and the requirements that you’ve asked of them in order to get consistent, accurate, relevant and timely data. Your external community needs to understand the tools so that if you’re using webpages and calls to action, they need to be simple to understand and simple to operate so that the support you get for your infrastructure makes it easier for people to engage with you from outside using those tools. You need support so that you can really get your managers to understand the data that’s coming in, so that they can manage their teams better, so that they can help you towards developing opportunities that’s the very raison d’etre for the CRM system in the first place.

In our opinion, we need to address a problem that the industry has. The CRM supply industry does not work for you in the long term – it works upfront. Its raison d’etre is to charge you time and materials and money typically to deploy and train people on a CRM system and then leave you to get on with it. And fundamentally, that thought is not providing you with the long term help that you need. That support is not sharing the risk that’s associated with making CRM successful. You’re left to carry that risk yourself.

So if we’re looking for a new definition of CRM as a Service, we need to make a sea change in the way the industry works so that support is long term, not just upfront, and that that support shares the risk with you of making CRM successful. The only way you’re going to get that level of expertise is by working with people who provide this support as their business, who do it every day. You probably only work with CRM as a necessary toolset within your mainstream business, which is not CRM.

So! To make CRM as successful as it can be, we need to string all these things together – and we’ve now put this word “DISCO” into the equation.

Let’s make that absolutely clear. We’re talking about CRM as a Service being about expert support. For it to work in the ways that I’ve just described, it needs to be fixed price and long term. There should be no upfront fees, just an annual payment that’s agreed in advance. That payment comes with your expert support organisation, delivering a promise that they’ll do whatever it takes for CRM to be a success. That means that there are no extra fees along the way as you make small changes to your system and improve the way you collect and manage data. That there are no extra fees when new people join the organisation and need to be trained into this business culture that you have, that’s supported by CRM. In fact, no extra fees at all! It’s a promise that this support organisation will do whatever it takes to make CRM a success.

Now, in the case of Collier Pickard, that expert level of CRM support comes with 25 years of experience working exclusively in CRM.

So, to summarise: we were looking for the bottom point here; we were looking for CRM to deliver opportunities, to improve the whole of our business environment and therefore we needed data, we needed an infrastructure to support that data; we needed good CRM support and expertise to translate that infrastructure into an easy-to-use CRM system for the whole community. And DISCO was our definition.

If you would like to find out more about CRM as a Service, please come and talk to Collier Pickard or visit our website at Thank you for watching!

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