Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers on CRM

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Don Peppers and Martha Rogers on CRM
January 2008 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary


Don Peppers and Martha Rogers on CRM
Founding Partners
Peppers & Rogers Group.


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  • A word about Peppers & Rogers Group
    Peppers & Rogers Group was formed in 1993 by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, after the publication of their first book, The One to One Future: Building Relationships, One Customer at a Time. On the basis of this book, Peppers and Rogers were frequently asked to make presentations to companies wrestling with the newly available interactive technologies of the World Wide Web. Technology companies launching new, interactive applications often relied on Peppers and Rogers for advice on how tomake these technologiesmore attractive and useful to

    their clients. Soon Peppers & Rogers Group launched a weekly email newsletter (nowcalled the "1to1 Weekly") and a bimonthly controlledcirculation magazine ("1to1").

    These publications are read by some 1,50,000 professionals involved in managing customer relationships and interactive marketing activities. The company also began hiring management consultants, and establishing other offices around the world. Peppers and Rogers themselves, meanwhile, wrote more books exploring the issues involved in interacting with customers Enterprise One toOne (1997), The One to One Fieldbook (1999), The One to One Manager (1999), One to One B2B (2001), Managing Customer Relationships (2003), Return on Customer (2005), and their latest one, soon to be released, Rules to Break and Laws to Follow (2008).

    In 2003 Peppers & Rogers Group officially became part of Carlson Marketing, themarketing services arm of the globally recognized firm of Carlson. Some of Carlson's other brands include Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Radisson Hotels, TGI Friday restaurants, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Outside of the US and the UK, Peppers & Rogers Group is still independently owned and operated, with a large number of clients throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

  • What is "One to One, End to End" all about? How has been the experience with this goal?
    The original goal of joining Peppers & Rogers Group with CarlsonMarketing was to be able to offer clients more than mere consulting. Increasingly, companies trying to use technology to improve their customer relationships require not just expertise and counsel, but execution. Programs have to be implemented and managed, individual customer dialogs need to be anticipated and guided, and the fruits of better customer relationships can only be realized after substantial investment of time, ingenuity, and labor. The PRG Carlson offering known as "One to One, End to End" is now a kind of all in one service, allowing a client company to get not just an effective strategy from the world's most respected relationship consultants, but also a seamless execution from the world's most experienced relationship program managers. So far, our experience with this offering has been very promising.

  • What have been the major changes in CRM practices during the last decade? Were there any strategic inflection points? Has 'digitization' (doing business online)brought in new dimensions to CRM? Is it getting to be more of a science (quantification and lot of statistics included) than an art?
    Ten years agomost companies had not yet implemented any serious customer relationship programs, and were still considering what strategies should be emphasized, and how the benefits should be measured. The early adopters usedCRMtechnologies primarily to streamline operations and cut costs, which are easily quantified benefits, but these goals had largely been achieved in many sectors by 1999 or 2000. The dot-com meltdown from 2000-01 not only substantially dampened many companies' enthusiasm for Internet applications, but also created a strong demand for measurable results on the revenue side. CRMcould no longer be justified purely on the speculation that increased customer satisfaction would result in financial gains sufficient to pay the costs, in other words. The main problem with justifying CRMon the revenue side of the business was quantification. CRM doesn't necessarily build short term sales, but it can have the effect of substantially increasing customer lifetime values, and while this principle is easily acknowledged, calculating the actual value created by a CRM program can be quantitatively ambitious.

    Nevertheless, it is not all math. There is still a substantial element of pure good judgment involved in treating different customers differently. The key ingredient of any company's success in this field is not so much their sophistication in analytics, but their orientation as a company toward earning and keeping the trust of customers.

  • Ninety nine percent of marketing focuses on how to sell to customers. Very little attention is paid towhy and how customers should sell themselves to marketers. As a customer, do you ever think about how you can get a leg up on your competition the other customers competing for the attention and goodwill of the seller?
    Companies that can be trusted by buyers to act in the buyer's interest are few and far between. Whenever a customer finds a company that can be trusted, it isworth some investment to ensure that the relationship continues. In the B2B space, buyers may actually compete with other buyers, and depending on the business, the most effective strategy for ensuring that an effective buyerseller relationship continues is to focus on constantly improving the trust, mutuality, and openness of the relationship. This means not just respecting the individual interests of each buyer, but protecting the commercially confidential information provided by each buyer. If you're the customer seeking to win the favor of a supplier, or to earn the 'loyalty' of a supplier, our suggestion is that the same basic formula applies: make it easy for the supplier to sell to you, remember important supplier information to minimize the trouble a supplier must go to in order to sell to you, and always deal openly and honestly with the seller, in order to earn the seller's trust.

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