Soniya, the marketing manager of a leading multinational FMCG, organization was feeling the heat of business transformation. The corporate clients were switching to the rival company, the distribution cost were going up, the share prices were going down and the top management was losing faith in Soniya. Her professional career was on the brink, she was set to lose her job. Then she took time off her hectic schedule and went back to the basics to learn about the solutions to revive her falling career. She contacted her professor, Mr. Vishwanath, who taught consumer behavior in B-school.
Vishwanath, who taught Soniya, Consumer behavior and CRM asked her about the measures taken by her to rebuild the credibility of her business.
Taken aback by Soniya’s unclear concepts of CRM, Vishwanath explained her CRM. CRM, in its application form is not just about customer Management. What Soniya was thinking CRM was, that she thought it as sales management measure, but it can do a lot more for the companies.
Some of the nontraditional uses of CRM business are:
- Project and Bid Management: one of the basic functions of CRM is project management. In the current business scenario, when almost all the business follow a predefined timeline and every business is considered as a project, CRM can be applied as real time solution. To use CRM as a project management tool, having a centralized database is the basic prerequisite. The centralized database enables business to record all activities, right from forecasts, proposals, project purchase orders, inventory management. In case of an FMCG business, as that of Soniya, she can use it to effectively forecast the estimated business and cut cost by efficient inventory management. This can also help her in post market analysis through project bid win/loss ratios through business reporting.
- Enforcing compliance: Compliance is the buzzword of the newer business environment. For financial services like banks and NBFCs, legal firms and other industries, compliance play an important role to sustain and develop business. There is an extensive list of government regulations, which needs to be taken care of, for an efficient running of business as the Industries Act, FDI compliance, and so on. Though in this case, FMCG business is not regulated by many regulations and laws, still Soniya needs to focus on the issues like privacy and security. Using CRM process to build business rules can provide assurance that the employees may not put the company’s interest at risk.
- Corporate branding: The whole marketing process revolves around brand. Branding helps build an intangible value, which the corporate can leverage for long term profits. Let us take an example of companies like HUL. The corporate brand of HUL is such, if the company launches a new product, the market absorb the product with ease. There is more to brand building, than becoming just a “top of mind” product. CRM can help companies build trust, by ensuring consistency in brand message and creating a positive experience for prospects, consumers and channel, in short brand equity. With CRM, companies can have multiple points of contact, build brand loyalty and business reputation at the same time.
- Tracking investment opportunities: In today’s business scenario, companies look for newer business avenues to expand. With CRM, one can track investment avenues, and find new investors, who can potentially match up with their requirements. In this case, Sonia can look for various integration and diversification options available. For Soniya, optimizing cost is also an important consideration. After a bit of research, she can go for backward integration to build a strong distribution channel, which will optimize the cost as well.
The article is authored by Atul Gupta from University of Pune (PUMBA).
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