The Association for the Advancement of Relationship Marketing CRM REPORT - Volume 6 Issue 4
A Relationship is a Terrible Thing to Waste! by Richard Pinnock, MBA
“Relationship Management” is about leveraging the most complex and important assets in any enterprise --the relationships that exist between the company and it’s key constituencies. There are four constituencies that generally can be considered to be most important: (1) Clients and Prospects, (2) Sales Team and Distribution Network, (3) Operations Team, and (4) Other Stakeholders. An effective Relationship Management Program must create an environment that will maximize the performance of the individuals who are charged with effectively (and profitably) executing the day-to-day activities of the company.
As the Director of Relationship Management for a leading global provider of outsourced CRM services, I was responsible for managing the myriad of relationships that resulted when we focused on our top 40 clients, 25 Sales Directors, and over 12,000employees. This becomes even more interesting when we included the other Stakeholders (private investors, market analysts, our top 200 Vendors, and the media) into the Relationship Map. To effectively execute this program we created more than twenty “virtual teams” made up of employees selected from our locations around the world. These team members relied on Webinars, tele-conferencing and eMail. In most cases, they never actually met face-to-face. For example, all five employees who previously formed our internal communications department were recently “down-sized”.
We had to devise a new way to continue communicating to our 12,000 employees. The answer was to assemble a small group of volunteers who would form a “virtual team” that would direct, film and edit a monthly video. These 12-minute videos were then duplicated and sent to our 53 global locations (yes, that means PAL conversion). Our video magazine reached our employees at a cost of 7 cents per employee viewing – less than 1/3 the total cost of the printed newsletter it replaced!
Over 1,000 employee surveys were returned with very high scores for (a) look and feel, (b) content, and most importantly, (c) interest level --as compared to the newsletter format. The open-ended feedback was heavily leveraged in creating content for subsequent episodes. The challenge was in choosing the right “virtual t e a m ”, and having the full support of the Leadership Team for this Relationship Management initiative.
After many successful virtual team initiatives, I have learned that Expected Performance of team members can be predicted using the following formula:
That is to say that the expected performance of an individual within any virtual team equals the product of the relative scores (1 to 10) assigned to Loyalty, Capability, Commitment and Confidence. These four performance variables are what the Relationship Manager must ultimately maximize in order to optimize performance. A low score, (or negative score), for even one performance variable will adversely effect the performance of that individual –and may impede the performance of the virtual team.
This formula can be applied to virtual team members from all four key constituencies, and even works in predicting the performance of personal relationships. The integration of new technology has become an affordable reality. The Federal Government's pre-election promise to make high-speed broadband Internet services available everywhere in Canada by 2004 suggests that finding effective ways to fully integrate our employees into this integrated world of technology will provide companies with a formidable competitive advantage.
The really good news for Marketing Practitioners across Canada is that we will be the most familiar with the CRM technologies, most capable at articulating relationship-building key messages, and the best at creating and implementing these important new Relationship Management initiatives. Collectively, we can further promote the science and art of marketing to help enhance and leverage the relationships that exist between our company and it’s key constituencies.
An effective Relationship Management Program must create an environment that will maximize the performance of the individuals charged with effectively (and profitably) executing the day-to-day activities of the company. It’ s logical. So, get out there and lead the charge. Remember that a relationship is a terrible thing to waste!
Source: The AARM CRM Report Volume 6 Issue 4, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Relationship Management/Marketing p.10
Richard Pinnock has seventeen years of progressive sales/marketing experience including extensive CRM and Relationship Management experience in Canada, the United States and Europe. If you would like to share your thoughts on how Relationship Management can be used to provide companies with distinct competitive advantages, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.