Why CRM Projects Fail


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are not a new idea. Businesses and organisations have been using these systems for several years now, in order to manage their relationships as effectively as possible with customers, but these systems are not always used in the most efficient or effective way.

Modern customer expectations of service and information need to be delivered instantly and in a way that suits them. There are more channels of communication now than ever before – Email, telephone, social media and mobile are dominating the way that we interface with the world, and businesses need to keep up. When done well, a good CRM platform can provide huge benefits, a complete view and control of the customer experience.

So why do studies suggest that up to 60% of these projects fail? And what can you do to prevent your project from becoming part of this statistic? These are Eqauntiis’ top 6 mistakes made when implementing a CRM system.

Starting for no real reason

A CRM system affects the entire business and any change needs to be well considered.  It shouldn’t be driven from an IT upgrade or an individual department’s requirements, it needs to support an overarching strategy – supported by the executive team to drive this change.

Don’t forget the C!

Without customers, a CRM wouldn’t exist. It’s important to remember that the focus of implementing these systems is to improve your customer’s experience as well as your own. Ask them questions. What do the customers want? How can we meet their expectations? How can we avoid disappointing them? If you listen to them, they will begin to define your strategy for you. CRM is not about manipulating customers, it is about collaborating with them. Create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Inform and Motivate

Following closely behind customers, the second group of people who need to be considered are your own employees. This means everybody within the organisation regardless of seniority. A lot of CRM projects fail because the new system is too unfamiliar to the people using it, they haven’t been asked for input into the design or they don’t understand why they should be using it. Take time to educate staff at all levels of the “how’s” and “why’s” of your new system. Allow them to understand why the change is important and they will be motivated to commit to it.

Like a well fitted suit

A CRM system should be tailored to the specific needs of a specific company. It’s a bad idea to simply look at a competitor’s/collaborator’s system and decide that “I want that.” Compare the available tools to your specific needs. Where do your problems lie? Designing a system requires the gathering of business requirements and this ties directly with our previous points.  What are the overall business objectives and how will the system support this? What do the customers require? What do the employees require? At this stage it’s easy to overspend on useless software or inversely throttle the project by oversimplifying your needs. Prevent this with clear communication and a concise idea of your requirements.

Not just for nerds

A common mistake made when implementing CRM is the view that it is purely technological, something for the IT department to deal with. Leaving CRM to just one team will prevent you from realising its full potential. Sure, your IT department will be able to show you trends and implement smarter advertising, but it’s about much more than that. How can sales use CRM? How can management processes benefit from CRM? How can customer facing employees use the information?

A CRM is a business tool to enable business success, it requires the business to own this and drive forward the change

Redefine, Redesign, Realign

CRM implementation cannot be a side note to your business strategy. It must be a core component. Customers are the vitality to any business and CRM is about aligning all aspects of the business toward customer satisfaction. Companies who fail to fully integrate CRM are companies who will not adapt to it, companies who will ultimately feel that the project has failed.

About the Author

Janine Chasmer
Executive Consultant

Background - Janine’s skills and experience include consultancy, project management, facilitation and delivering transformation working across a number of sectors, including Insurance and Higher Education, and as an experience Membership professional, with over 11 years’ experience in the third sector. Role – As an Executive Consultant, Janine guides and support organisations undertaking significant change or transformation and manages and delivers consultancy support on a wide range of technology implementation projects. Responsibilies – Janine is the sector lead for Higher Education and Not for Profit. Passion for…. Books, films, theatre and holidays with friends.

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