webCRM’s international experts have years of experience getting companies started with a (new) CRM system. Many of our experts’ projects follow in the wake of customers’ earlier unsuccessful implementation attempts. We have asked our experts why CRM implementations go wrong, and the same picture emerges across countries. CRM implementations fail for two reasons: 1) Uncertainty about business benefits – what the system needs to deliver. 2) Lack of involvement within the management team.
No matter how carefully you select your CRM supplier there is always a risk that the sales representatives don’t buy into the concept. Successful CRM implementations start with engagement from (sales) management. Managers who are willing to spend time finding out how the CRM system can contribute to better results with new and improved business processes and data.
Appointing e.g. a sales representative or a colleague from either Marketing or IT to own and drive the implementation won’t do it. These people don’t have the same necessary insights into the company’s current challenges, where it wishes to go and how to achieve that. Management formulates business goals, management knows all the challenges and management sets the direction. Therefore, management needs to drive the business analysis phase to formulate the key benefits of the new CRM system – what needs to be achieved. A benefit could e.g. be “every lead is followed up correctly and promptly” and according to our experts, the benefits usually help management focus during this phase.
Management involvement in the business analysis phase is one thing. Driving user involvement is another. For this, management is just as important. Nevertheless, our experts see it quite often: Failed CRM implementations because of unengaged managers who rarely enter the CRM system themselves. Consequently, they make rules for their sales team on when to update the system. But what’s the use of a system which is updated every Friday afternoon simply to avoid management kicking or to prevent losing the monthly bonus? This rarely results in reliable and accurate information and it really doesn’t benefit the users. Dissatisfied users lead to poor information, which leads to poor management reports and analysis, which leads to system blame and failure.
When management engages in the CRM system, the sales representatives are much more likely to do the same. Management can use it for effective pipeline management, segmentation and analysis of customers and improving support and retention. Good user adoption hinges on a system, which offers benefits and can be updated quickly and conveniently. So management needs to show it, not just tell it - management can set the perfect example. Our experts suggest CRM evangelists among the management team and using the carrot rather than the stick approach, as it gives the CRM system a much better start within the organisation.