A key aspect of CRM is ensuring that at the moment of contact with the customer, events unfold as both you and the customer want them to, ensuring the highest levels of satisfaction and improving the likelihood of sales. As such, the document distribution system needs to be linked into the broader CRM solution. This ensures that the material is up to date, that it has been personalized, that it builds on previous interactions. Many firms understand this with regard to their Web sites, but forget about it with regard to physical collateral material. But this is a major inconsistency. Simply because a customer prefers physical documents doesn't mean that his or her experience should be any less consistent. However, we find only about 15% of all CRM projects include any sort of document strategy. So, firms need to ensure that all collateral, physical and electronic, consumer or business, be linked together, consistent, and appropriate to the customer's needs. Emerging marketing automation solutions (MRM) take this a step further, by linking into the CRM process flow the creation, review, approval, "warehousing" and retirement of these documents before they even reach the customer.
This was first published in August 2002