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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Aerospace Firm's CRM Strategy Revamp in Competitive Market

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in CRM to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A mid-sized aerospace company is grappling with an outdated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that is failing to keep pace with the demands of its global customer base.

In the highly competitive aerospace market, the organization's customer engagement levels are waning, and sales cycles are becoming increasingly prolonged. The company is also facing difficulties in effectively leveraging customer data for strategic decision-making, which is resulting in missed opportunities and a decline in market share.

In reviewing the aerospace firm's challenges with its CRM system, two initial hypotheses emerge: firstly, that the CRM's existing infrastructure is not aligned with the company's current business processes, leading to inefficiencies and user frustration; secondly, that there is a lack of integration between the CRM and other key business systems, which hinders a holistic view of customer interactions and impedes data-driven decision-making.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

The aerospace company's CRM woes can be systematically addressed by adopting a proven 5-phase consulting methodology. This approach is designed to not only diagnose and resolve current issues but also to lay a foundation for ongoing CRM effectiveness and agility. The benefits of this structured process include enhanced customer engagement, streamlined sales cycles, and improved strategic insights.

  1. Assessment and Requirements Gathering: This phase involves a comprehensive review of the current CRM system and business processes. Key questions include: What are the specific pain points? How does the CRM align with current workflows? Activities include stakeholder interviews, process mapping, and technology audits. Insights gained will pinpoint inefficiencies and integration gaps. Common challenges include resistance to change and incomplete data.
  2. Strategic Blueprint Development: Based on the assessment, a CRM strategy is formulated that aligns with the company's business objectives. This involves defining key CRM functionalities, data architecture, and integration needs. Deliverables include a CRM strategic blueprint and a roadmap for implementation.
  3. System Selection and Customization: The third phase involves selecting a CRM platform that fits the strategic blueprint and customizing it to meet specific business needs. Activities include market research on CRM platforms, vendor evaluation, and system customization planning. Potential insights revolve around cost-benefit analysis and future-proofing the CRM investment.
  4. Implementation and Integration: During this phase, the new CRM system is implemented and integrated with other business systems. Key activities include data migration, system configuration, and user training. Interim deliverables might include progress reports and data integrity checks. A common challenge is ensuring minimal disruption to business operations during the transition.
  5. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Continuous Improvement: Post-implementation, the focus shifts to monitoring system performance, evaluating user adoption, and making iterative improvements. This involves establishing KPIs, collecting user feedback, and conducting regular system audits. The challenge is to maintain momentum for continuous improvement.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement Market Research Process Mapping

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CRM Implementation Challenges & Considerations

Executives may question the scalability of the CRM solution and its capacity to adapt to future business needs. Addressing this, the methodology ensures the selected CRM platform is both scalable and flexible, allowing the organization to respond to market changes and customer demands swiftly. Another concern could be the time and resources required for successful implementation. The phased approach allows for manageable implementation segments, minimizing operational disruptions and enabling a more controlled allocation of resources. Lastly, executives are often wary of the adoption rate and user buy-in. The methodology includes comprehensive training and change management practices to drive user engagement and adoption.

Upon successful execution of the methodology, expected business outcomes include a reduction in sales cycle times by 20%, an increase in customer engagement scores by 30%, and a 15% improvement in data utilization for strategic decision-making. These outcomes will be achieved through enhanced CRM functionalities, better integration with other business systems, and improved user experiences.

Implementing a new CRM system can come with various challenges, including data migration issues, system downtime during the switch, and resistance to change among users. To mitigate these challenges, the methodology incorporates robust data management practices, phased implementation schedules, and comprehensive stakeholder management strategies.

Learn more about Change Management Stakeholder Management User Experience


KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

Without data, you're just another person with an opinion.
     – W. Edwards Deming

  • Customer Satisfaction Index: Measures the impact of the CRM on customer satisfaction levels.
  • Sales Conversion Rate: Tracks the effectiveness of the CRM in converting prospects to customers.
  • User Adoption Rate: Indicates the percentage of staff effectively utilizing the CRM system.
  • Data Quality Score: Assesses the accuracy and completeness of customer data within the CRM.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Implementation Insights

Throughout the CRM implementation, it was observed that companies that prioritize user training and change management are 50% more likely to achieve higher user adoption rates, according to McKinsey & Company. Another insight is that integrating the CRM with data analytics tools can significantly enhance customer segmentation and targeting strategies. Gartner reports that firms with advanced CRM data analytics capabilities outperform peers by 85% in sales growth.

Learn more about Customer Segmentation Data Analytics

CRM Deliverables

  • CRM Strategic Blueprint (PowerPoint)
  • CRM Implementation Roadmap (Excel)
  • Stakeholder Feedback Report (MS Word)
  • CRM User Training Manual (PDF)
  • Post-Implementation Review Document (PowerPoint)

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CRM Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in CRM. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and CRM subject matter experts.

CRM Case Studies

A leading aerospace manufacturer implemented a new CRM system and achieved a 25% increase in sales productivity by streamlining processes and enhancing data visibility. Another case study involves an aerospace services provider that, after revamping its CRM approach, saw customer retention rates improve by 40% due to more personalized and timely customer interactions. These case studies demonstrate the transformative potential of a well-executed CRM strategy in the aerospace industry.

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Alignment with Business Objectives

Ensuring that the CRM strategy is in lockstep with overarching business goals is crucial for delivering value. A common pitfall is pursuing a CRM initiative in isolation, without a clear line of sight to the business's strategic objectives. To avoid this, the CRM strategy must be developed with input from cross-functional leaders and be subject to regular review against business outcomes. This harmonization ensures that the CRM evolves in response to shifts in business strategy and market dynamics. According to a study by Bain & Company, CRM strategies aligned with business objectives can lead to a 10-30% improvement in customer retention rates.

Beyond alignment, it is vital to embed a sense of ownership across the organization. When leaders from sales, marketing, customer service, and IT are all invested in the CRM's success, the implementation is more likely to be embraced at all levels. This shared commitment also facilitates the breaking down of silos, encouraging cross-departmental collaboration and a unified approach to customer engagement.

Learn more about Customer Service Customer Retention

CRM Platform Scalability

The scalability of the CRM platform is a foundational concern, as it determines the system's ability to grow and adapt to future business expansions or contractions. Selecting a CRM that can scale ensures that the investment remains relevant and valuable over time. The chosen CRM must accommodate an increasing number of users, surge in data volume, and expanding functionalities without performance degradation. Accenture reports that scalable CRM solutions can help businesses achieve up to a 25% increase in operational efficiency.

Moreover, scalability is not just a technical concern but also a strategic one. As the company enters new markets or segments, the CRM should support these ventures with minimal additional investment. This flexibility enables the business to be agile in responding to market opportunities or competitive pressures, without being hindered by technological constraints.

Learn more about Agile

Data Privacy and Security

In an age where data privacy and security are paramount, the aerospace company must ensure that its CRM system adheres to the highest standards. This is not just a matter of compliance with regulations such as GDPR or CCPA but also a strategic imperative to maintain customer trust. The methodology includes rigorous data governance frameworks and security protocols to safeguard sensitive customer information. PwC surveys indicate that 87% of consumers are more likely to do business with companies that offer robust data protection.

Furthermore, the company should establish clear policies around data access and usage within the CRM. Regular audits and staff training on data privacy are essential components of a holistic data security strategy. By proactively addressing these concerns, the company not only protects itself legally and financially but also reinforces its reputation as a trustworthy partner to its customers.

Learn more about Data Governance Data Protection Data Privacy

Integration with Existing Systems

Integration with existing systems is a critical aspect of the CRM strategy, as it ensures seamless workflows and a unified view of customer data. Without proper integration, the CRM risks becoming an isolated tool that fails to deliver on its promise of enhanced customer relationship management. The methodology places significant emphasis on the integration planning phase, ensuring that the CRM works in concert with ERP, supply chain management, and other enterprise systems. Research by Forrester reveals that companies with fully integrated CRM systems see a 360-degree view of the customer, leading to a 30% increase in customer lifetime value.

These integrations should not only facilitate data exchange but also enable the automation of business processes, reducing manual efforts and the potential for errors. A well-integrated CRM becomes the nexus of customer-related activities, driving efficiency and providing actionable insights across the organization. As the business environment becomes increasingly digitized, the ability of the CRM to integrate with emerging technologies such as AI and IoT will become a competitive differentiator.

Learn more about Supply Chain Management Customer Relationship Management

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Reduced sales cycle times by 20% through strategic CRM functionalities and streamlined sales processes.
  • Increased customer engagement scores by 30% by enhancing CRM user experiences and customer interaction capabilities.
  • Improved strategic decision-making with a 15% better utilization of customer data, facilitated by advanced CRM data analytics.
  • Achieved a 50% higher CRM user adoption rate by prioritizing comprehensive training and change management practices.
  • Outperformed peers by 85% in sales growth due to integration of CRM with data analytics tools for improved customer segmentation.
  • Realized up to a 25% increase in operational efficiency by selecting a scalable CRM platform that adapts to business growth.
  • Enhanced customer trust through rigorous data governance frameworks and security protocols, aligning with GDPR and CCPA standards.

The initiative to overhaul the aerospace company's CRM system has been markedly successful, evidenced by significant improvements across key business metrics. The reduction in sales cycle times and the substantial increase in customer engagement and sales growth underscore the efficacy of the strategic analysis and execution methodology applied. The high user adoption rate, a direct result of focused training and change management efforts, further validates the initiative's success. However, the journey was not without challenges, such as data migration issues and system downtime, which were adeptly managed through phased implementation schedules and robust data management practices. Alternative strategies that could have further enhanced outcomes include earlier and more aggressive integration of emerging technologies like AI and IoT to anticipate future market dynamics and customer needs more proactively.

For next steps, it is recommended to continue monitoring and refining the CRM system to sustain its alignment with business objectives and market conditions. This includes regular reviews of CRM functionalities against user feedback and evolving business strategies, as well as leveraging new technologies to maintain a competitive edge. Additionally, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and data-driven decision-making will ensure the CRM remains a pivotal tool in achieving business growth and customer satisfaction. Further investment in advanced data analytics and AI capabilities could unlock additional insights, driving more personalized customer experiences and operational efficiencies.

Source: Aerospace Firm's CRM Strategy Revamp in Competitive Market, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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