You might think VRM is your company’s process or tech system for managing the contracting and invoicing of vendors, contractors, or outsources. VRM does indeed stand for “vendor relationship management.”
But what I’m talking about today is customers having just such tools for managing purchases from you. You are their vendor, after all.
As marketers we assume selling and buying will always work like this:
⇒ We make a great product. ⇒ We find you. ⇒ We promote to you. ⇒ You consider our product. ⇒ You agree to buy from us. ⇒ You follow our purchase process.
With CVRM – Customer Vendor Relationship Management – it works more like this:
⇒ I find you. ⇒ I consider you. ⇒ I promote to you. ⇒ You agree to sell to me based on my conditions. ⇒ You follow my buying process.
This is, of course, hugely simplified. But for now what should strike you is that the customer actively initiates the marketing process.
This means that our Marketing focus becomes:
- Company is visible and discoverable for ideal and near ideal customer;
- Company is prepared and available to respond to customer purchase intent and signals;
- Company requests access to customer to promote;
- Customer defines under what circumstances s/he will buy;
- Company agrees to customer’s parameters for completing purchase;
- Company becomes a trusted vendor for repeat purchases.
Why the marketing process is flipping is a deep and wide topic going on here and elsewhere in marketing circles, but the web of technologies that is enabling this is now starting to hit the marketplace.
CVRM isn’t coming to you in the form of a big-and-shiny-splashy launch of a new “Customer Salesforce.com.” But the technologies that allow companies to efficiently manage their business relationships is being incrementally “consumerized.”
It takes a village to make a this new class of tools. CVRM is being built by dozens and dozens of tech companies in the CVRM space, each contributing pieces of the puzzle to make this new kind of marketplace emerge. That CVRM community of technologists are putting the pieces in place to give customers these very capabilities, ones only marketers own today.
How do you prepare as a savvy marketer?
Start working on building great, real relationships with your customers. That way you’ll be sure they will invite you to sell to them inside their CVRM.
Capgemini has a nice explainer video: What Is Vendor Relationship Management in the New Customer-Centric Age?