CRM technology showing demonstrable returns

Confidence is increasingly replacing caution in CRM projects with signs they are delivering more benefits than pain.

For Sydney-based Pacific Publications, a Siebel CRM deployment is yielding results according to the company's sales and marketing general manager, Peter Miller. The project is boosting sales conversion rates by 20 per cent, he said.

With smart data management and analysis critical to the success of the company's advertising sales business, Miller said the company had previously been operating archaically through a number of rudimentary stand-alone systems.

Realising the need to upgrade its data management processes, the company installed a Siebel CRM database solution to increase advertising staff productivity and improve its ability to identify and convert opportunities into sales. Miller said the efficiency gains appeared immediately - the solution enabled different business groups to network with each other, maximise cross-selling opportunities through better information-sharing on major accounts, and bundle advertising offerings more intelligently.

"With all of our staff CRM-enabled, we spend less time on gathering information and more time identifying sales opportunities through speedier operations and better forecasting."

Shafted over the last few years to the 'too hard' pile because of difficulty in yielding tangible business value from CRM projects, investments are now starting to demonstrate notable returns, according to the Aberdeen Group research director Dennis Pombriant.

"Most customers believe that their CRM technology is helping them to compete more effectively and generating larger revenues and profits, as well as helping them cut their overhead in ways that were difficult or impossible to accomplish previously," he said.

Meta Group believes the market has matured with an expected growth in CRM services of up to 12 per cent in 2003 and 20 per cent in 2004.

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