What's In A Name?

A guest blog post by Anne Cramer, CXM subject matter expert

With Salesforce co-opting CRM, what do we mean when we look for tools to help us connect with customers?


You may recognize the first three of these references if you have been in marketing for a while. The last one of course stands for Three Letter Acronyms, which have befuddled and bemused many a marketer as tools have become more plentiful and complex.

Unfortunately, the increasing complexity in sales and marketing software means three letter acronyms cannot be avoided. It is therefore up to various tools to differentiate themselves in terms of what they can or cannot do to help marketers with the daily tasks of communicating with their customers. This means what you think is a rose may be actually a tuna sandwich, if you aren't careful.


What’s that you say? Tools don’t do a good job of explaining themselves?

Then we have to go look elsewhere for a third party perspective. Wait, what? Trusted third parties are hard to come by and may charge an arm and a leg for their opinions? Sigh.

Marketers have to practically get a degree in software deconstruction to be able to fully understand what’s out there and who can really get the job done. Then, once you think you understand the industry, all the TLAs change and you have to start over.

Since Salesforce.com rose to power, however, the concept of CRM has morphed into a limited set of tactics for customer acquisition. Clients ask for “a CRM” and they mean a tool to manage their sales leads.

Customer Experience Management (CXM) has emerged as the latest acronym to define the intended broader reach of the discipline.

What is particularly frustrating is how the third party advisors seem to be perpetuating this move to define and redefine niches. For example, a quick glance at the most recent Forrester Wave™ ratings of the top software providers includes Social Depth Platforms, Social Relationship Platforms, Content Management for Digital Customer Experience, and Innovation Management Tools (whatever that means). BPM, EFM, AD&D, SRP, WCM, MPLS… are you confused yet?

There is no single source of truth out there who can strip away the smoke and mirrors and tell you what you need to stop the pain you and your customers are experiencing.

The best consultants will be “software agnostic” and attempt to help you find the right tool for your needs. People like Melinda and her team at TimeShareCMO can help make sense of constantly changing information; and keep you--the marketer--at the forefront of their corporate mission. So we can all make sure a rose will forever be a rose.

Anne Cramer is a seasoned strategy and management consulting professional with deep expertise in creating and implementing data-driven, customer-centric business strategies. Anne has served as a Partner at East Bay Group and is a co-founder of SuiteCX.

Having been in the consulting and professional services industry for over 12 years, Anne’s passion lies in finding and replicating best practices all over the world. She believes that all clients can learn from other successful organizations regardless of their size, business model or country of origin.