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February 12, 2009

CRM, Marketing And Lead Generation Are Vital In A Recessionary Economy

By Nadji Tehrani, Chairman and CEO

This editorial originally appeared in the January issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.
 
Record business failures of companies of all sizes from General Motors (News - Alert), Ford, AIG, Merrill Lynch, etc. to millions of smaller businesses ranging from mom and pop shops to mid-size companies, are obviously the result of the current challenging economic conditions. Every day it seems we hear of another major company filing for bankruptcy, along with countless other smaller firms going out of business. Unfortunately, it appears there is no end in sight.
 
Still in spite of the overall economic malaise, there are a handful of companies that are growing and setting record sales and profits. Indeed, when you analyze the performance of such companies, one will learn that there are outstanding in marketing, CRM and lead generation, all of which are vital in a recessionary economy. I must add that such companies also are extremely flexible and they constantly reinvent themselves as the economic environment changes.
 
Required Strategies for Survival
There is an old saying that dictates, “If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will continue to get the same results. In other words, if a company does not have the vision and savvy to realize that it must change its business strategies to align with the changes in the marketplace, then that company will not be around for long.
 
Clearly, in order to survive in today’s economy or any economy, you must change the way you do business.
 
The 10 Commandments of Going Out of Business
In July 1994, I wrote an editorial titled, “The 10 Commandments of Going out of Business.”
 
The first commandment is: “stop all marketing, advertising and promotion functions. If you do a good job at this, you don’t need to read any further.” In other words, if you stop marketing, promotions and so on, then you eventually will go out of business. The reason is very simple. In any economy, any given company can lose as much as 25–30% of their customer base for a variety of reasons that are beyond the scope of this editorial. However, in today’s near-depression economy, a given company can lose as much as 50–60% of its customer base due to bankruptcies, etc. and, the only way to survive is to religiously establish a solid CRM, marketing and lead-generation program with the objective of producing new sales leads so that you can replace the lost customers with new customers. And make no mistake about it, there is no shortcut and no other way around this basic fact of economic survival.
 
Why is CRM Important?
CRM, customer care, and customer service are the main ingredients of customer retention. There was a time when customer service alone was satisfactory, but that is no longer enough today. The customer today is extremely savvy, they know what they want and they are extremely demanding. That’s why customer relationship management (CRM) is vital to keep the customers continuously satisfied. It has been said, it costs 10 times more to find a new customer than it costs to keep the present customer satisfied. Indeed, this is another cardinal rule of survival in any economy particularly in today’s disastrous economic environment.
 
Why Marketing?
If you have been reading my editorials since 1982, you have read that one of the important concepts of business that I have been preaching all along has been that if you don’t market, you don’t exist. Of course, over the years, this particular rule of business has changed to read as follows: “if you are not on the first page of the leading search engine, you do not exist.” In other words, if you are truly serious about remaining in business, you must develop a new marketing strategy that would help to place your company on the first page of Google (News - Alert), Yahoo, etc. Believe it or not, there is no shortcut in this. You simply must dominate your online marketing to place your company not only on the first page, but ideally to dominate your industry, you need to be #1 on the first page. Indeed, one of the services that TMC (News - Alert) provides is to help companies to become prominent on the first page of the leading search engines. With up to 3 million monthly unique visitors to TMC’s Web site, TMC has been uniquely able to play a vital role in the marketing of leading corporations in technology and information, which includes contact centers, CRM, VoIP, and assorted other new technologies. I urge you to visit TMCnet.com and gain from its over 3 million pages of content.
 
Having said all of the above, without marketing, there will be no lead generation. I once defined marketing’s role as “the process of communicating a company’s product and services and how the company differentiates and positions itself from competition.” In this manner marketing generates inquiries from potential customers and such inquiries are commonly referred to as potential sales leads, which when placed in the hands of capable sales people, then it would eventually result in new business.
 
Why Lead Generation?
By now it should be clear what the raison d’être of lead generation is. There was a long time when corporate America was practically oblivious to getting leads from their marketing dollars. Either their advertising campaign was not good enough or the ads were placed in the wrong places or the nature of marketing was not properly selected. Every one of those companies, if they still exist, must change their way of doing things and leave the old marketing methods. They must acquire digital marketing skills to outdistance themselves from competition and survive in this economy.
 
The Bottom Line
Without CRM, you will lose customers even faster than the adverse economic conditions would force you to lose them. Accordingly, CRM is vital, just as marketing and lead generation, which are the results of digital marketing strategies the necessity for the survival for any company.
 
As always, I welcome your comments. Please e-mail them to me at nadjitehrani@tmcnet.com.

Nadji Tehrani is Chairman and CEO of Technology Marketing Corporation.

Edited by Greg Galitzine



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