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August 27, 2010

CRM: 'Not Dead,' Says Guru Greenberg

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Reading uber-Yankees fan Paul Greenberg’s writing on CRM is getting as close as we can to the word from the mountain on the industry. So you’ll be pleased to know that no, CRM is not dead.

Note how manfully we’ve resisted the urge to throw in yet another Mark Twain knockoff line? You’re welcome.

Greenberg spares no words to back up his point, and the entire piece is well worth your time, but if you want the two-minute summary, here you are:

Take CRM vendor RightNow -- please. Their CEO Greg Gianforte (News - Alert) “is a good human being and a good CEO,” has made lots of smart moves, but their messaging is, in Greenberg’s studied conclusion, “ugh... just plain dumb because it actually hurts the company that’s doing it” by saying things like “the time for CRM has passed.”

In a recent interview Jason Mittelstaedt, RightNow Technologies’ (News - Alert) CMO said, in re CRM, “Certain terms and topics only have so much life – there is nothing you can do to re-beautify a topic that is dead,” He cited a recent Gartner (News - Alert) conference where “Customer 360” took the place of CRM as the new branding buzzword, saying the reason attendance was twice last year was because it had been rebranded away from CRM.

“Simply not true,” Greenberg says, contending that SocialCRM was the focus -- “Not social media, or social bladeeblah, but SocialCRM.” He says he has no problem with RightNow’s focus on customer experience, “It very well could be the right thing to do for them. They are right about having a focus there. The customer’s experience is still at the core of the success or failure of a business - and is the basis for the retention or loss of customers.”

In fine, Greenberg says, “to call a $13 billion industry all in all projected to keep growing to at least 2015, which is as far out as anyone seems to forecast as of now, dead and that ‘no one wants to hear about it’ is just plain not the case -- and beneath what this usually quite fine company does.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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