DSC Tech Library
Customer Relationship Management
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Applications and Customer relationship management software and products. Providing timely customer contact information is vital to maintaining successful business environment. Accurate information provided in an organized and thoughtful manner is the key to any business success.
TELEMATION, our CRM and contact center software, was built on this foundation. The ability to modify your Customer Relationship Management software is just as important in this ever changing business environment.
Our customer contact management and CRM call center software was developed initially with this concept.
Our Telemation Customer Relationship Management solution and contact center software is ideally suited for call centers throughout the world.
The following article relates to the CRM industry.
Back To The Future:
A Retrospective and Forward Look at CRM
By: Glen S. Petersen, GSP & Associates, Inc.
Enter The Era of the Laptop Computer
True laptop computers became available at the $2000 level in the mid-80s. These early units had
black and white LCD screens and a footprint not radically different from today’s design. It is
interesting to note that the early providers of SFA software for laptops did not emerge from the
handheld community but rather from technology and sales consulting backgrounds. Early SFA
capabilities included (not universally across all vendors):
It is also noteworthy that networked solutions preceded standalone SFA applications; although
this might seem to be an illogical progression, it was network to standalone. User organizations
often required the vendor to operate their system for them because most IT departments, at that
time, were not interested in supporting the sales organization with this type of application. Thus,
the concept of hosting was fundamental to the beginnings of the industry and was a necessity for
vendors to support such as service in order to survive. Likewise, most vendors provided help
desk and inventoried spare laptops for their clients.
- Proprietary e-mail
- Territory management (customer profiles and call reporting)
- Word processing
- Report distribution
- Two-way data transfer
- Database synchronization
- Electronic software distribution
- Order entry (tended to be custom coded)
As impressive as the early applications were (and are), these tools represented an attempt to
reduce administrative costs as opposed to value delivery. Even today, justification often
revolves around the notion that the sales person will have more face-time. This is the most
tenuous of all arguments because it is completely dependent on the ability (or motivation) of the
salesperson to utilize this time. This type of cost/benefit analysis has led to many heated debates
regarding the creation of a viable ROI and influenced the adoption of the technology.
One industry that did clearly benefit from the limited capabilities of the early applications was
the Pharmaceutical industry. The ability to influence and manage coverage was inherent in the
territory management technology. Patterned Calling is key to productivity for pharma reps and
market penetration (particularly with high prescribing doctors) is strongly correlated with new
product profitability. These factors led to early adoption and success, which quickly led to wide
utilization across the major pharma companies. Another interesting parallel to today’s popularity
of PDAs is that some pharma companies purchased a small devise called the Casio Boss
(pocket organizer), removed the memory and replaced it with a capability to interface with the
sales person’s computer so that the sales person used the Casio device for calls and call reporting
and synchronized with the PC on a daily basis. This was 1988, and we still struggle with this
The Need For a Forum
Despite early successes, there were many failures. Poor selection of hardware and software,
projects led and dominated by the IT organization with little user interface, no ROI justification,
etc. were rampant. Just as today, technology galloped along with an increasing din of hype;
potential users needed insight. All of these factors created a huge demand for education and
networking amongst user organizations.
SFA conferences began in the late 1980s; Babson College (Boston) sponsored one of the early
SFA networking events and continued for several years. The Index Alliance (Sloan School of
Management) also sponsored briefings on the capabilities and function of SFA in this same time
period. Recognizing the need for specific methodologies and discipline regarding the
implementation of SFA, Dr. Paul Seldon founded the Sales Automation Association (SAA) in
the early 1990s. In addition to providing an annual networking event, Dr. Seldon created several
books and training seminars that pioneered a better understanding of how to successfully
implement these projects. Over the years, other shows and events have emerged along with
publications such as CRM Magazine offer an on-going source of information and insight.