If, like me, you’re a Bond fan, then your head is probably swimming with the events from Skyfall. And then, you come back to your desk, and it’s back to the real world, helping customers, helping grow the business, and you try to inject a little Bond into your day-to-day life.
And surely MI6 use a CRM system, don’t they? I’d have loved to have been involved in implementation of that one. I’m sure that 007 is on there as an employee, and M can access a 360-degree view of James Bond with all communications, contact information and ‘kills’ on one page. Surely?
So do forgive me if I wander off into an imaginary world, but I can’t imagine MI6 not having the best CRM system in the world…
CRM is all about intelligence
Us marketers like to gather intelligence on our customers and our prospects, but we’re amateurs compared to MI6 for whom intelligence is the name of the game. While Bond is out there on a mission in Istanbul, he needs to know exactly who he is dealing with, and who they are dealing with – which means having one of the most comprehensive ‘bad guy’ databases available.
Of course, you can buy this data in – in our case, it would be from a data broker. In MI6’s case, it would be from the CIA (perhaps). Either way, you have to ensure that your CRM is ready to accept that data, and that you are ready to act upon it. If you can prove that a prospect has previously worked for a customer of yours, then that’s intelligence you’d want to act upon – just like MI6 would love to know if one of Blofeld’s former employees has turned up at a new evil organisation.
For me, the very philosophy of CRM is about taking these systems and processes and making something concrete out of them – giving your sales force (or your field agents, whatever you want to call them) extra intel that they can take into battle (or a sales meeting, whatever you want to call it). It’s that little extra edge that you have on your competition; that knowledge that says “you may just be a prospect right now but I’m going to treat you like I’ve known you all my life”.
MI6 has to nurture its prospects, too
I recently worked on a large-scale prospect nurturing campaign that took prospects, graded them, and assigned them to various automated campaigns designed to bring them through to a sale at the right point.
MI6, as we know, has plenty of future 007s out there, but cannot advertise in the local press for a spy. Whereas we talk of customers in our CRM, MI6 talks of its own new recruits. How can it track them, nurture them, and bring them through into the fold in a seamless manner, ensuring that they get the pick of the best talent?
I’m quite sure that James Bond was entered as a contact into the MI6 CRM system before his university days, and any interaction with him was entered into the system so that a detailed record could be kept. Perhaps MI6 ran marketing campaigns to its future prospects so that they would always ‘engage’ with the brand, and eventually choose MI6 as their employer when they’re ready for the world of work.
CRM is about knowing when to act
Whether it’s recruiting someone at the right moment, or deploying your field agent to kill some bad guy in his lair, CRM is all about getting the right message (or bullet) in the right place at the right time. It’s about joining the dots before they’ve been joined together, and M’s team will be working around the clock to enter data into the system and join those dots before anyone else does.
In Casino Royale, we catch a glimpse of Bond going through the MI6 system at M’s house (obviously using cloud software, CRM geeks). He tracks down his contact and his contact’s associates using a telephone number, and matches that information to a location.
Bond knew to act because he found his contact at a specific location, at a specific time. In our world, we’d send them an e-mail or pick up the phone. Bond got on a plane and killed him.
And that’s where the comparisons end.