While business executives overwhelmingly agree that technology has helped them strengthen relationships with their customers, more than half (55 percent) say that customer relationship management (CRM) shortfalls can be attributed in part to inadequate support from top management, according to a survey released by Accenture.

The survey's findings are consistent with Accenture's opinion that despite a solid track record of delivering value to companies, CRM has not achieved its full potential. Some 74 percent of executives say they believe CRM fails because of flawed execution of plans, echoing Accenture's view that the full potential is achievable by making sure there is no gap between the organization's vision and its execution.

"Too many CRM projects focus on the mechanics – specific tools and technologies – rather than the ultimate goal: increasing the value of the customer relationship," said John Freeland, Accenture global managing partner for Customer Relationship Management. "CEOs are now challenged not only to deliver more sophisticated sales and service capability, but also to deliver and manage these capabilities more quickly and cost-effectively. Companies face some significant challenges in making their CRM initiatives pay off."

According to the survey, executives say that better data and customer insight obtained through CRM can increase sales by as much as 20 percent.

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