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5 Reasons why CRM fail

CRM - Colossal Ruinious Mistake?
According to a variety of different reports, between one half and two thirds of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementations will fail. Here are the top five reasons why that
1. Lack of Leadership
Selecting a CRM system is a strategic and critical decision. However, the tender process is often delegated to a junior staff member who doesn’t understand the business drivers behind the need for a CRM vendor. And any system is only ever as good as the brief behind it.
Actions to prevent this failure:
  • Have a brief on the business drivers you need to achieve. Ideally with tangible numbers.
  • Build a criteria list - a good example for UK people would be a UK telephone based support team, why? Because you don't want to wait for the US to wake up to get an answer.
  • Be involved - that simple.  Nobody is going to make a better decision than you.  Make as many of the meetings as possible.  Use your PA to line up the meetings, but attend them yourself.  CRM is mission critical to your organization, do you really want to delegate that?
2. No Defined Goals
The decision to buy a CRM system is motivated by the soft ambition to improve customer service; but all too often insufficient thought is given to the hard business goals that will decide whether the implementation fails or succeeds. You can’t measure success if you haven’t defined it.
Up to 70% of CRM systems fail, how do you know if it's a success or failure if you don't have the goals defined?
Actions to prevent this failure:
  • Define your goals based on business value (your job is not the technical part)
  • A good example is help to provide sales best practice with a result of increasing revenue per sales person.  A CRM system can give you some great data insights to help achieve this.
  • What about reducing customer churn?  What would you need to help reduce customer churn?  An overview of whats happening at the the customer?  Access to your top engaged contacts at that organization?
3. Driven by IT
Don’t get me wrong – we love IT people and you can’t implement a CRM system properly without getting them involved. But detailed information into sales processes and service levels is not their forte. Line of Business leaders in Sales and Marketing have to be calling the shots if a CRM system is going to work effectively.
Do you really want the IT people defining your new sales process?  When did they become sales process consultants?  
Actions to prevent this failure:
  • Business unit leaders need to lead - they need to be responsible for what they need to achieve.
  • Involve different levels of user to assure adoption.  A good example is a sales person may use CRM on a daily basis, but theres one "required field" right at the bottom of a form... your users will get annoyed with scrolling very very quickly.  Simple things make a difference.
  • IT should be involved with technology elements e.g. infrastructure (needs to fit), coding (if needed) and being able to support it.  But business decisions are made by the business teams.
4. It's My Way or The Highway
For a CRM system to be gain traction with your employees, it must be able to adapt to their way of working. People must be able to customise their view of the data to match their individual work styles. If a piece of software forces people to change their working practices in order to use it properly, then it’s simply not going to be used at all.
Actions to prevent this failure:
  • Ensure your CRM has the ability to be customised to the individual.  Good examples are make sure the lists can be changed so the user can select the columns they need for their job.
  • If your global make sure the CRM can have country orientated versions but with a core company/contact data set.
  • Ensure country managers bring their local requirements to the table.
5. Limited Storage
This feels like a nerdy one but, believe me, it’s of vital importance. If a CRM system puts limits on the amount of data that can be stored then you are forcing people to make decisions about what data is kept. And the chances are that the stuff that gets thrown out is exactly the stuff that senior management need to make the right decisions about the business. And if the data they need isn’t in the system, they can only assume that the system is no good. Watch out for that one!
Actions to prevent this failure:
  • Ensure you understand what you're buying and the limits be it contacts or storage are understood.
  • Negotiate a larger data allowances, or ideally unlimited.
If you want to make sure that you are in the minority whose CRM implementations actually succeed, then feel free to get in touch – and, if you liked this post, please take the time to share it with your community.
You can connect with Richard on TwitterLinkedin or call me +447768876221
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