Surprisingly, one of the most difficult and frustrating problems organizations face with customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives is identifying the customer. The problem isn't the classic retailer's issue of not being able to capture customer names from cash transactions. Rather, it's the more complex organizational issue of knowing which of many customer constituent groups to emphasize.

It's no longer as simple as one person in your organization identifying the buyer and developing a relationship with that buyer over time. In fact, depending on your business model, these various customer constituencies might require that you identify and distinguish end users from influencers, decision-makers and perhaps even facilitators in administrative or accounts payable staff. Or, if you operate through a number of channels such as in the high-tech or healthcare industries, your customers may also consist of different groups such as agents or partners in addition to the end consumers or users.

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