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Positioning yourself as a leading CRM IT professional

Positioning yourself as a leading CRM IT professional

In a one-to-one interview with Dick Lee, principal, High-Yield Marketing, a consulting group that helps clients develop customer relationship management (CRM) strategies and supporting systems, Lee is a noted CRM consultant and author, and as one of the founders of the relationship marketing movement, he has written two category best-selling books, The Sales Automation Survival Guide and The Customer Relationship Management Planning Guide. He recently released The Customer Relationship Management Survival Guide, and he is currently working on the sequel to "Planning Guide" - The Customer Relationship Management Deployment Guide.

According to Lee, there are five strategies for IT professionals working in CRM to employ:

1. Mentoring. The aging of senior IT professionals is a benefit most often overlooked by companies and fellow IT employees. IT professionals with 15-20 years of experience bring something to the table that new graduates cannot contribute - acquired wisdom. Not only wisdom with IT issues but wisdom with life. Seasoned professionals can often see the "big picture." They recognize the role that technology plays, and they can keep technology and the business objectives of the product or service in perspective. If you are a seasoned IT professional, share your knowledge with those who are younger and have fewer experiences. If you are a recent graduate

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just entering the IT profession, team up with a mentor who can provide guidance. It is a win-win situation.

2. Customer Perspective. Nothing is more important to an IT professional focusing on customer relationship management than to spend time with customers. By attending a sales call or listening to conversations in the call center, IT professionals can learn first-hand about the customer - who he is and what he needs. The customer is the driving force of the CRM movement. Technology is the support vehicle; it is never the end in itself.

3. Soft Skills Development. The world of the IT professional in CRM is not an isolated one. Developing skills in teamwork, leadership, and problem solving can only enhance one's ability to provide outstanding IT skills. IT professionals work with inter-disciplinary issues in cross-functioning teams. Learning supporting soft skills is imperative in positioning oneself as a leader in technology and customer services.

4. Communications Skills. IT is not a foreign language (even if some colleges allow it to fulfill a foreign language requirement!). Learn to speak English well, especially when discussing technology issues. As an IT professional, you are now in the role of an educator. Upper management has recognized that IT is the driving force of business. It is your job to communicate your thoughts in concise, non-technical terms for everyone to understand.

5. Education. Continue to grow both personally and professionally; however, do not focus exclusively on technical skills. Develop general management skills. The career ladder through the company to the top no longer starts in marketing. The business leaders of tomorrow are the technologists of today.

Dick Lee will be joining Site Editor Carol Smalley and the registered users of SearchCRM for a Live Expert Q and A. Watch your emails from SearchCRM for additional information about this upcoming event where your question about your IT career can be answered by a leading voice in CRM.

Carol Parenzan Smalley is the Site Editor for SearchCRM.com.

This was first published in August 2000

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