Businesses of all sizes have embarked at some point in CRM implementation initiatives. In fact, according to Gartner, the CRM industry is 23 years old! Unfortunately, despite the time and experience, the failure rate of CRM projects is still very high. CIO Magazine stated that 33% of CRM projects fail, while in other analysts report you can see rates as high as 69%.
But when digging into the reasons for failure, most of the issues come around Implementation, not Technology.
So what are some of the key issues? One area is when companies get external help, and try to outsource the issues that can not be handled by a partner, consultancy or vendor, such as:
Definition of objectives. – Most companies go for a wide range of objectives, when it is very important to define priorities and avoid getting lost in one of the objectives. 2 objectives sometimes are to use CRM as a “monitoring and reporting tool” for management, while on the other side it should be an “acceleration tool” for sales reps.
Project and user requirements. – This is a key point when defining the objectives and the scope of the project, and verifying the successful completion of it. It is imperative to really take into account the needs of the target users and departments that should get the benefits from the CRM implementation. The needs from a Sales Director (like good reporting, accurate forecasting) are not the same like those of an account executive (e.g. the CRM system should not be a distraction and time consumption).
Executive sponsorship.- CRM initiatives typically bring significant changes to sales, customer service, marketing teams, and impact many departments within the organization. It is of highest importance to have a Senior Executive to actively sponsor the project. This means to actively engage in the project, through implementation overview, empowering the project teams, through using it, and of course exploiting the information and defining KPIs based on the new CRM solution (the system and processes) that can really show the results being achieved.
So, where does it make sense to get help from an external partner or vendor?
Best practices.- A CRM vendor and its partners typically have a lot of experience on prior implementations of the solution and in particular industries, and have built significant re-usable knowledge. Yes, each company has its particular business and operational challenges, but you can take advantage of others’ experience and avoid making the same mistakes. Probably you have heard people used to say that when implementing SAP as ERP, you would need to adapt to the system (by changing your processes) and not the other way around.
Advice on Project Execution. – Project execution is a key element, and it is of key importance to select a methodology that allows the company to see quick progress and deliverables rather than wait for long project stages to see some results. It is very important to have a combined multi-skills customer and external partner teams to make it a success. When entering into an Implementation of a CRM, it is important to allocate the time and internal resources to participate in the project.
User adoption strategies. – One of the key reasons for the failure of CRM initiatives is the user adoption. Prior to starting the CRM initiative, you need to define the strategy for training users, the reasons and added-value of why a user would jump onto the new CRM initiative, KPIs for measuring adoption and of course overall Customer Success.
Managed services. – Once you have the system running and with high adoption rates, you need to think about whether it makes sense that you actually run the system by yourself. Instead of managing a solution, you could invest the time and resources on identifying opportunities for growth, improvements, and innovation for your business.
As simple and repetitive as it sounds: CRM and Transformation of Customer Experience really requires well defined objectives, measurable results, and especially time and resources to adopt and implement the Changes.
Autor: Aklienta Marketing