Now in its 11th year, CRM-expo has kicked off in the German city of Nuremberg. According to the organizers, the two-day customer relationship management conference is the leading event of its kind in Europe. Among the 175 exhibitors are, for example, software powerhouses such as SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, CAS, Sage, and Gedys. But smaller companies found their way to Nuremberg, too – because, after all, specialist solutions are in great demand in many different industries. Following in the footsteps of past CRM conferences, the topics of mobile CRM, social CRM, software on demand, and open source formed the highlights of the exhibition.
In the exhibition hall, you’re more likely to meet marketing specialists, sales employees, managers, and IT experts than mere mortals. With a focus on real-life examples for real-life situations, CRM-expo 2009 addresses areas such as corporate communication, data management, customer acquisition, and market research. In the presentations, discussions center on the right way to address customers and how to analyze the needs of certain customer groups. Questions such as “How can I manage my customer data effectively?” and “Can I improve my sales margins even though times are tough?” are also on the agenda.
When it comes to customer communication, many believe the future lies in the two popular smartphones BlackBerry and iPhone – because mobile access to all the relevant data can be a crucial factor in putting a company ahead of its offline competitors. Nevertheless, the reality doesn’t always live up to the marketing hype. For the time being, some providers are offering access using a Web interface rather than software (or apps) for the BlackBerry or iPhone.
Customers have their say
It’s on everybody’s lips right from the start of CRM-expo: The roles have been reversed in the market for customer relationship management. Now customers are having their say, instead of accepting what providers think they need. It no longer makes sense for providers to develop a product well in advance and then launch it on the market. Now, close cooperation with customers is called for – because only customers know just what they are looking for.
That’s why technologies and products, CRM strategies, best practices, mobility concepts, and security concepts are introduced in forums. From Twitter, through XING and Facebook, companies are discovering Web 2.0. And the eternal question is: How can organizations tap social online communities to acquire customers? SAP.info will soon be devoting a special issue to this very subject.
In total, the event comprises 130 presentations that grapple with hot topics such as social CRM and mobile CRM using iPhones or BlackBerrys. And there’s no denying that the mobile Internet is indispensable for today’s field sales employees. Smartphones, netbooks, and other mobile end devices are now tools that no one can afford to be without.