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Table of Contents



Chapter 1

Shoulders of Giants

Applying metrics to marketing was what initially attracted me. As a finance executive, I was eager to find a comprehensive approach that could help us bring discipline and control to sales and marketing. The CRI Framework has put us on a path to both high-profit revenue and improved processes.

Kent Wegener, Vice President of Finance
Otis Spunkmeyer, Inc.


Back in the late nineteenth century, manufacturing was a craft. Everything was built by craftsmen, working individually or in small teams. The work was accomplished from beginning to end by those same craftsmen, with very little specialization.

Then, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Frederick Winslow Taylor made his groundbreaking “Time and Motion Study.” He looked at the smallest movements that made up every step in the assembly of a manufactured item. Motion was the “atomic” unit. His goal was to identify the process made up of those motions, and then reduce the time necessary to perform the assembly.

He and his followers were spectacularly successful. Not only did they codify assembly processes and reduce the time necessary to produce many products, but they laid the groundwork for the field of Industrial Engineering. That led to the reorganization of assembly processes, allowing whole new forms of organization, including the assembly line. Ultimately, both the scale and efficiency of manufacturing increased vastly beyond what had been possible before.

Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, sales and marketing is still dominated by a “craftsman” approach. There are some really great sales representatives, and some really brilliant marketing people. But it is still a “creative” field, and managers are loath to tinker too much with what is working fairly well.

Does sales and marketing have to go on this way? Not any more, now that Linda Sharp has discovered the “atomic” unit for sales and marketing, and a breakthrough way to measure it. The smallest unit of work is each interaction between a company and its customers and prospective customers. The objective is to increase the value of the relationship being built with the customer, interaction by interaction. To measure the value, she has discovered a new metric, missing until now. She calls it Relationship Value.

Sharp’s metric will have an impact on sales and marketing similar to the one Taylor’s Time and Motion Study had on manufacturing. The metric applies equally to the acquisition of new leads and the closing of sales, and to everything in between. In fact, as Sharp demonstrates, it applies to customer retention, including customer service, shipping, any part of the organization that deals with customers.

Sharp’s Relationship Value metric is revolutionary! Along with the change in perspective it inspires—having you consider customer acquisition, closing, and retention as a continuum—it will surely change the way you manage your business.

Nonetheless, I did not really get excited about what she had developed until I saw the entire superstructure she had laid out on top of this framework and metric. Sharp has begun to anticipate the sales and marketing equivalent of Industrial Engineering—all the while respecting the creativity and the humanity of the people in the field. This is not just another analytical framework or another strategy and planning tool; Sharp’s Customer Relationship Intelligence (CRI) Framework can become core to all of your day-to-day operations.

Finally, someone has figured out how to structure a plan that can be implemented with continuous feedback that is consistent and relevant for everyone—from the individuals making customer contacts, up through middle management, and on to the top executives. Sharp has figured out how to manage day-to-day operations so that continuous improvement principles can be applied to sales and marketing just as they have been to manufacturing. The potential improvements to a company’s efficiency and effectiveness are absolutely mind-boggling.

From my 30 years as an executive at DuPont and Charles Schwab, and a dozen more years as an independent consultant, I know that strategy and planning are only about two percent of an enterprise’s cost, and maybe five percent of its value. The money is spent, and the profits are made, in day-to-day operations. Sharp’s CRI Framework is operational as well as analytical, and that is the big breakthrough. Know that this book will truly change the way you look at your organization, forever.

James M. White, President and CEO
International Information Technology, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Linda Sharp

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