Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com, Chairman of Kayak.com and CIO of Sabre, Inc was without a doubt the highlight of the event for me. I really enjoy hearing from those that have been through the trenches and tackled a lot of the issues that businesses always face when they adopt technology in their organizations. Terry had an incredibly well done presentation that illustrated some of the key challenges that we all face and also gave a few pointers on how to tackle those.
One of the things that stood out for me the most during his presentation was the definition of CRM. As he put it, most people are focused on the customer management of their customers rather than the customer relationship. The whole idea of CRM is to allow you to become that much more in tune with your audience to provide them an exceptional customer experience every time and it is true then a lot of organizations forget how important the relationship aspect is.
But what is a relationship? Obviously in today’s era of technology it isn’t expected that you know off the top of your head every little detail of your customer but it is extremely important to be able to access that information within a few seconds and no more than a minute. You need information at your finger tips to be able to properly understand your customer base. Sales people today can be working on anywhere from 50 – 100 different deals at a time and when they do that it is always unrealistic to expect them to be able to hold all of that information in their heads.
A powerful CRM system can capture the right information to help you make the right decisions but from a marketing stand point also target the right customer segment. Terry had a humorous example of the wrong marketing. He had recently signed up for a newsletter at Zappos and instead of a targeted message sent his way he ended up receiving non-targeted messages. His example was that of a woman’s bra shown on sale and sent to his email with a large graphic. Oops.
Terry set the stage for an incredible end of SugarCon along with some incredibly informative sessions throughout the day. I think customers and partners alike took a lot away from these few days at SugarCon in New York.