Last updated: 5 Sun Tzu quotes to help create great customer engagement

5 Sun Tzu quotes to help create great customer engagement


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

CRM involves a whole bunch besides identifying the technology that fits best with the workflow of your sales and marketing team.

Gartner research regularly reports that around 50% of CRM programs are failing to meet business expectations, thanks not to the technology but to a combination of factors including strategic shortcomings, a misrepresentation of business requirements and a lack of user adoption.

And the reality is that in order to oversee a successful CRM project, you need to have more in your locker than pure technological know-how. You need to have a long-term vision for success; and the nous of a military strategist.

With this in mind, it makes sense to turn to one of the most quoted pieces of literature about military strategy in business, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and some handy metaphors that can help bring clarity to your CRM deployment.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

{I.e. – build a business case for CRM before establishing how to implement it}

As Paul Greenberg says in his seminal book, CRM at the Speed of Light, a CRM deployment is all about planning, which means having a proper understanding of what you want to achieve. So to put in place the technology without knowing what your business objectives are and who the project will affect can be a recipe for disaster.

Asking yourself some key questions helps quantify if you have a business case for CRM:

  • What is the reason for the project and the business change?
  • What are the benefits that are expected?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the likely costs?

If your answers are positive, you’ll end up with a grasp of the likely ‘wins’ your CRM project will deliver, come implementation. These will in turn help you deliver a coherent argument when it comes to communicating to your co-workers the reasons for undertaking a CRM project in your organization.

“Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.”

{I.e. – seek help with deployment from across your business}

CRM should arguably be an organization-wide objective, and considering its effect across all business departments can too often be dismissed, especially in large organizations.

This may seem like a daunting task, but the trick is to identify people within your business who will lead the implementation. Research states that a crucial factor in the planning phase of your project is to understand that “the team that prepares the business case is different to the team that delivers the project”. I.e. – prepare your troops.

Identifying supporters of the cause in every department of your organization is the key, and briefing them on the benefits of the deployment in their individual departments will get them onside.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

{I.e. – apply a phased implementation across your business}

Given the multi-departmental nature of a CRM deployment, it is often regarded as an unmanageable risk to try and launch an entire CRM system all at once, and so an element of phasing must be considered in your planning.

Who represents a quick win? What data can associates least risk in being input first? Who will need more time to get to grips with new processes? A strategic vision is one thing, but knowing the order in which you’re going to deliver means avoiding “the noise before defeat”.

“If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight.”

{I.e. – You’re going to need to get your sales team onboard…}

The reality of CRM is, your sales team are probably not going to want it.

However, historically, salespeople have seen CRM projects as a simply a way to “keep score,” because in a vast number of ‘failure’ cases, that’s what it was. But nowadays it’s very rare that that’s the predominant vision for a project. Referring back to the business benefits and ‘quick wins’ related to revenue, productivity and return on investment (ROI) is a must.

It’s also worth broadcasting the evolutionary aspects of CRM. 2013 Jim Keenan research found that 78.6% of sales people who used social media to sell found they out-performed those who weren’t using social media, and a corresponding study from Nucleus Research found that mobile access to CRM applications increased salespeople’s productivity by 15%.

Given that your sales team will want to be mobile, and want to use social in the buying cycle, show them how your CRM project can help do that. The advances of CRM in recent years are making both these aspects just par for the course.

“A leader leads by example, not force.”

{Definition – get your executives to use your CRM}

CRM use across all areas of an organization is on the rise – from 56 percent in 2012 to 74 percent in 2014. The good news is, recent stats also show that C-suite executives are taking to CRM, placing it third in terms of technological importance, behind analytics and mobile apps.

However, the true challenge is getting the C-suite to use it. But if you’ve already established that your CRM needs to be multi-departmental, what’s more empowering to fellow employees than seeing that everyone from the top down is using your new system?

Given that you will presumably require some level of executive buy-in before your project even gets off the ground, you must clearly have some level of backing from your board. Ensuring they are a key part of the new process will help show employees down the rungs of the ladder that your CRM project isn’t just another system designed to keep tabs on them but a new mode of working for everyone in your organization.

It’s not your father’s CRM.
Boost customer relationships.
Win loyalty.
Drive revenue.
The future of business starts HERE.

Editor’s Note: Your CRM project isn’t just another system designed to keep tabs on them, but a new mode of working for everyone in your organization.

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with