CRM failures, pre-empting them and making CRM work – Part Three

Part Three – No Continuous Process Improvement  ̶   a recipe for CRM failure

The internet is chock-full of lists of reasons for the failures of CRM.  We have honed these down to around 10 main ones (and we may find more as we go along), which we will examine in a series of blogs to see how significant they are, how we can avoid them and how we can secure the goal of making CRM a success. 

Should CRM be considered as a one-off implementation? 

What are the limitations of approaching CRM as a ‘technology only’ solution?  

At what point do we stop treating our CRM projects as just technology and start addressing business needs and objectives, our customers, staff and goals?

A limited approach is to take a short-term view, implement changes as required and then move on. But how do you set about addressing your business development objectives? If CRM helps you grow and develop the business, shouldn’t the CRM project be continuous and grow with it in parallel?  Perhaps we should get away from the notion that CRM is a technology and start to regard it as a whole new way of doing business. 

Where to start

It goes without saying that you will need to make sure that you have a CRM technology that’s suitable for your platform and the integrations you need. But, after an initial check on your requirements, your focus should then turn urgently to what CRM does for your business:

• Does it fit your business needs?

• Will it help you achieve your business goals, aspirations and ambitions?  

Whilst the involvement and engagement of your technical team are essential, the real drivers are the business issues that remain to be met, solved or improved.  

The customer

Customers are the most critical ingredient. Without them there is no CRM.  Customers and their needs are key to its success. And what CRM systems are good at is pulling together all the information the business has gathered into a single view of individual accounts and their known needs. If this is done properly, and customers are more intelligently managed as a result, think of the positive impact on them and how that might in turn be reflected in improved financial success. 

Meeting changing needs

There is always a danger that you stray down the path of changing your business to accommodate the needs of the technology. CRM may well suggest or introduce new and valuable ways to improve and develop the business, but these should be considered only because they are good ideas, not because you have allowed the technology to force you down a new business process path.

If, where you have implemented it properly, CRM is working well for you, the expected outcome is that your business grows or develops in the way you intended it to when you embarked on the project. It is logical therefore to assume that your business will change. By the same token you should also expect that your CRM will not only need to change but will develop and grow with your business   ̶   not so much a ‘single project’ but more an ongoing, constantly evolving business tool.  It is imperative to have this longer-term picture in view right from the start and to understand that it is, or certainly should be, a continuous programme.  

Steady as you go

You have the right to expect both the CRM software and your solution provider to be with you for the long term, developing and growing with you and your business.  And given that most businesses cope better with small, incremental steps forward rather than with a massive overhaul of the CRM solution, you need to have the big picture in your sights at all times and aim to get there one step at a time.

Next Steps

Our research into what causes CRM failures helps our customers become successful now and in the future with CRM.

If you would like to know more, have a new project, or an existing installation which needs attention to get you on track, you can contact us at:   

Tel: 01992 661 244 



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