Understanding customers – Where is value created?

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Understanding customers – Where is value created?

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This question is fundamental when attempting to identify, unblock or accelerate a Sage CRM opportunity. In fact, it is so fundamental that often the customer may not even have sat down and thought about it in any detail. Why? Because most decision-makers are so caught up in the day-to-day operational details of running their business or department, that the BIG questions don’t get much time.

However in the CRM world, understanding customer value is crucial. Particularly when faced with the challenges of explaining to a small or medium-sized business owner what CRM is… and where it can deliver business benefits.

So let’s address this question.

Four Types of Value

Most customer strategies (and I say this as someone who has spent a chunk of my pre-IT career working in distribution, manufacturing and selling to small retailers) focus on the big four. So we need to position Sage CRM in each of those categories:

1. Growth

“This one’s easy. Mr. Customer, Sage CRM will help you reinvent your customer relationships. This will drive revenue and grow your business”.

How? The examples are too numerous for one blog – an automated lead generation campaign will help you acquire new customers. PLUS, all that data on your current customers will be in one location. This will allow you to serve them better, perhaps cross-sell or up-sell other products or services. That’s the benefit of having all that data in one location – the “single customer view”.

2. Innovation

“Sage CRM can help you here too Mr. Customer. We want you to focus on all those things that make you different to your competitors, and valuable to your customers.”

How? By centralising all that data – from your sales team, marketers and critically, from your service team – you can decide which new products and services are worth developing further. What’s more, CRM is scalable – while you may be able to get that data in other ways (by doing interviews, or maybe pushing out the occasional survey to a few customers) – Sage CRM will provide you with this data in real-time. This will flow from hundreds or even thousands of customer transactions and interactions with your business.

3. Transformation

“This one is really easy Mr. Customer. Just by going through the steps of analysing a customer-facing process you use every day, you can make transformative decisions.”

That’s empowerment for a small business owner. Do you know how your business makes money? How you sell? What your sales process is? Do you have a sales process? Let’s map this out in a simple workflow using Sage CRM, from lead generation through to payment and post-sales service and let's see: Are you running your business, or is it running you? Transform your business processes, or even your entire business model!

4. Cost Avoidance

“Slam dunk, Mr. Customer. Not only can CRM do all of the other things, it can also drive down your costs.”

How? Get rid of cumbersome administrative tasks through automation and improved collaboration – why should your sales team use multiple versions of the same spreadsheet for monthly forecasting when they can work off just the one, located in a central system? A CRM system will improve your entire business’s productivity, and most importantly, free up your best people up to work where you need them most.

So next time your prospect “hums” and “haws” around CRM, why not remind them of what this is all about – creating value – and see if you can move the conversation in a new direction.

If you have any good stories about creating value, why not share here or elsewhere on the community!

Good luck,


  • As David notes, highlighting where the value is created is so important  - particularly in a world where customers routinely make "no decision" on a CRM project.  

    However, showing how the Sage CRM proposition meets a prospect's strategic goals is only the first step.  If the delivery of the CRM project fails to acknowledge or meet the business goals identified during the delivery process, the customer will view the project as a failure.

    To that end, capturing and building a system to this value creation promise is also critical.

    See my earlier post (community.sagecrm.com/.../delivering-value-more-pieces-to-the-framework-to-help-you-successfully-deliver-sage-crm-projects.aspx) on some example templates