I am the Director of Member Retention and CRM for a non-profit business membership organization. I am trying to create a CRM strategy without the addition of any CRM technologies, as we have an organization specific database management system with limited CRM capabilities. Do you have any suggestions on implementation of a CRM strategy without the purchase of CRM software? The lack of information on the CRM "philosophy" is disheartening and makes my task all the more difficult.

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a challenging question. The success parameters for a CRM program, in any market or company circumstances, are at least somewhat set by the availability and scope of high quality customer information. I would say that, in the absence of supporting customer demographics and other specifics, the more you know about customer needs, problems, expectations, and complaints, the better you will be able to develop a viable relationship management program - with or without the added benefits of data management software.

I've attached an article which describes the process we've developed to help our clients design and evaluate CRM programs. Our 'philosophy' with regard to CRM is that it is component-based: customers, relationships, and management. Customers represent the complete range of individuals or groups touched by your organization, including Staff. Relationships are the means and media of maintaining contact and feedback. Management has to do with marshaling scarce resources to optimum effect - time, money, people, facilities, technology - and, as in your case, information.

This was first published in February 2002

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