My Site : What’s in a name? Why you risk boring your employees with the term CRM. My Site : What’s in a name? Why you risk boring your employees with the term CRM. My Site : What’s in a name? Why you risk boring your employees with the term CRM. My Site : What’s in a name? Why you risk boring your employees with the term CRM.

What’s in a name? Why you risk boring your employees with the term CRM.

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As we all know Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the given name to a well-known business & management approach that has had millions of words written about it and many organisations attempt it.

We have also seen (and we have written ourselves) that the term ‘CRM’ has many definitions and often means different things to different people.

So we aren’t going to attempt to add any more words to the various attempts to define CRM but instead take a step back. Let’s go back to basics and consider the use of the actual term ‘CRM’ and how it is perceived by our employees, after all, we need all of our people on board any CRM initiative. How they perceive the term is a key issue in how well they adopt the new ways of working.

From a personal perspective, I can’t help but think that it feels like an attempt by the business management consultant and IT industry to develop yet another 3 letter acronym to make the topic sound like something mystical that only they truly understand. This is despite the fact that underneath the façade of the term, the opposite is actually true as it really is a straight forward concept.

What could be more common sense in business than wanting to understand customers in more detail and then providing a more meaningful and personalised experience?  After all, that is what CRM generally seeks to do.

From my experience, when explained in more simple terms, many people (who are put off by the term CRM) actually begin understand it and are more likely to buy into it.

I recently carried out a CRM training session with a group of employees in an organisation embarking on a CRM project. I could see initial confusion when I used the term CRM but when I explained it in more simple and common sense terms the penny dropped. Their feedback was that they had previously felt the term CRM was a barrier to their involvement as it felt like something complex that only a select group of senior management could really understand.

As we have mentioned, a crucial aspect of CRM success is achieving ‘buy in’ from employees, yet we still tend to communicate the programme using a term that just feels plain boring and is a barrier to their understanding and involvement. So what can be done?

My view is that at the start of a new CRM initiative, time should be spent developing a CRM charter which clearly lists the various aims and objectives for the programme along with the key methods for delivering them. This will help the project team to explain in simple terms exactly what the aims are and how they will be achieved.

Once these have been created, then a completely new programme name can be established based on these principles, that is more inclusive and easily understood by all of the people involved, after all this should ideally be everyone within the organisation. In fact, the name could be chosen by the very people expected to deliver it (i.e. your employees) as initial involvement is often the biggest motivator within any business change programme.

So, if you are about to embark on a ‘CRM’ programme or refresh your current one, think about creating a new image and increasing buy in through a programme name that is more meaningful to everyone involved.

It should be clear, punchy, encapsulate the reasons for the project and aim to bring the programme to life, rather than a barrier to success.



Garry Adamson is Managing Director of Sports CRM and Data Agency 4sight Sport & Leisure.

For more information about 4Sight and the services they provide visit


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