Survey: Top Management Support Crucial to CRM Success

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While business executives overwhelmingly agree that technology has helped them strengthen relationships with their customers, 55 percent said CRM shortfalls can be attributed to inadequate support from top management, according to a survey released yesterday by Accenture.

The survey also found that 74 percent of the executives said they believed CRM fails because of flawed execution.

"Too many CRM projects focus on the mechanics -- specific tools and technologies -- rather than the ultimate goal: increasing the value of the customer relationship," said John Freeland, global managing partner for CRM at Accenture. "CEOs are now challenged not only to deliver more sophisticated sales and service capability, but also to deliver and manage these capabilities more quickly and cost-effectively."

Highlights of the survey include:

* 56 percent said their businesses would grow from 1 percent to 20 percent if they could gain access to comprehensive customer data.

* There was overwhelming agreement that technology capable of delivering "historical, current and real-time data" on customers would drive sales: 35 percent said sales would increase to "a great extent," while 43 percent said they would increase "to some extent.

* When asked whether technology was helping their companies gain better insight into customers, 33 percent said "to a great extent," while 54 percent said "to some extent."

Among the reasons most frequently noted for the shortfall of CRM programs were: no long-term CRM vision; weak business case for investments; investments are not prioritized; and return on investment is not calculated properly.

Accenture conducted the survey in conjunction with Wirthlin Worldwide, which conducted telephone interviews with more than 100 of the leading executives in the Fortune 1000 in May.

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