As the co-inventor of ACT! contact management software, the product credited as the catalyst for the Customer Relationship Management industry, I’m surprisingly not a champion of the concept of ‘managing relationships’ at all. I don’t think entering data, scheduling activities, or even communicating with someone amounts to ‘management’ in any meaningful way.
Even if the concept of managing customer relationships was the premise for the industry, the actual result is little more than a tool for Management to oversee an employee’s activity, communication, and progress with their customers and prospects. CRM systems are often positioned as an employee’s tool for building or maintaining meaningful relationships is little more than a method of ‘keeping tabs’ on salespeople.
Networking Alone Isn’t the Answer
It’s never just what you know, but whom you know that matters. But anyone can purchase a list of names. No matter what industry you’re in, the quality of your connections trumps the sheer quantity of names in your database. Attending events, shaking hands, collecting business cards – nothing wrong with that, per se, but the person with the most business cards doesn’t necessarily win. The same can be said of social networking: sending dozens of connection requests doesn’t equate to building relationships.
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About the Author
CRM pioneer Mike Muhney, the co-creator of ACT! software, is CEO of mobile relationship management purveyor vipOrbit – the first relationship-centric contact manager solution enabling mobile business professionals to manage their contacts, calendar and client/customer interactions across Mac, iPhone and iPad platforms. He may be reached at www.VIPOrbit.com.