CRM has gotten a bad rap of late, as a technology that has been “overhyped” and “under delivered”.  But all too often it is not the technology itself that is wanting.  Here’s an example that illustrates the extent of the problem. 

As an unrepetant gadget freak about 6 months ago I signed up to get notified when a particular gadget came into general availability through the T-Mobile service.*  Just this week a sales person from T-Mobile called me.  Now forget about the fact that the device in question came into general availability several weeks ago.  And that I signed up (via the carrier’s website) to get “advance notification.”  My real issues is not that T-Mobile fumbled the timing but that they completely dropped the ball. 

Over the last 6 months, T-Mobile never sent me a single communication.  So imagine my reaction when the sales person called me – out of the blue – to ask:

“I was told to call you.  But I don’t know what about.  Is there some reason you would have gotten in touch with T-Mobile?”

There are simply too many products, vendors, stores, and buying opportunities to expect the customer to be able to recall what they might

have been interested in 6 months ago.  Especially when the company had not bothered to communicate with me (at all) during the intervening period. 

Technology can help here but only if the sales people are trained how to use it.  I can’t help but think that the same database that served up my name and phone number also served up the product I expressed interest in.  Instead of blaming an expensive piece of software for this marketing mishap, companies must recognize that when it comes to customer marketing people, processes, and technology need to be in alignment.  Getting to this alignment isn’t easy – but it is necessary.  So lets not blame the software folks.