Customer or Consumer Relationship Management???

I saw a great article in CRM Buyer by the always sharp Denis Pombriant. (Thanks to Paul Greenberg for pointing it out.) In the article, Denis makes some interesting points about how the current economy will see a shift in American spending from a “consumer” mentality to a smarter, more advised base of “customers.”

Makes sense, and I get it 100%. Denis goes on to note that a lot of these changes will have people thinking more carefully about the types of CRM they buy, and notes that SaaS will indeed be insulated a bit from the downturn. That’s good news for Sugar.

But I think this “customer” concept is one we in the B2B world already know well. I mean, after all, traditional CRM tools are best used in relationship selling or B2B scenarios. And with shifting revenue models, towards a subscription model in many industries, the customer concept is again not new.

CRM tools allow the sales person (or the “company” if the sale is automated) to gather information, make informed decisions that effect the opportunity process, and react to changes in the customer decision cycle. These are all things that businesses will rely upon in a customer-based economy.

So, rwally, I think the economic issues will of course be good for CRM providers with low cost, open source, SaaS etc. solutions. But what is most important is that many industries will, I predict, discover a new found respect for good ole CRM product that may or may not be gathering perverbial dust in their laptops. And this presents a great opportunity for a lot of companies.