Improving customer relationships is a secondary benefit of implementing a CRM and not the main goal. The main goal should be business process management. Not having this as a goal leads to a majority of CRM implementation failures. Let’s take a closer look at the BPM aspect now.

Consider the number of people and the number of internal business processes involved in finding, developing, and acquiring a new customer — and then maintaining customer satisfaction as an existing customer. At a minimum, one is typically looking at direct sales, marketing, FAEs, support, operations, finance, and likely the executive staff. In many industries this expands to external partners such as reps, distributors, integrators etc. Now consider the volume of information that flows between these different organizations via email, phone calls, spreadsheets, forms, or internal systems such as ERP, CRM, internally developed databases etc. account information, contacts, call reports, activities, opportunity information, quotes, samples, forecasts, registrations, POS, ship, and debits. Every customer I engage with has most if not more of this information traffic within their organization, and far fewer have strong internal processes to manage this flow of information — instead resorting to using a number of disparate systems trying to maintain and access it.

Fixing the Process of Capturing Sales is the Way to get Results – CRM is the Solution

The prevailing thought is that implementing a CRM or expanding a current implementation and having all of one’s information in one place will solve issues and greatly improve customer relationships. Right? No, no, no and finally NO! The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” is an old adage for a reason. Taking relevant information and sticking it under one roof solves nothing. In fact, back to the main point, not having strong internal processes and not being able to match a CRM’s attributes to strong processes is the main reason 55% to 70% of CRM implementations fail.

Three  keys to a successful implementation are:

  1. Make sure your internal business processes and information needs are well defined and WORK!
  2. Match the CRM to your business processes and information needs.
  3. Make the system and processes align to the business results you need to achieve and measure performance to drive change.

In the next blog in this series, I’ll discuss and give examples of how matching strong processes to CRM attributes leads to success.

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