7 Ways to Avoid CRM Failure


When you get CRM right - it adds revenue, decreases employee turnover and leads to legendary customer satisfaction and loyalty.  When you get it wrong, profit, employees and customers will quickly leave and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a costly disaster. 

Don’t Make These Mistakes!

1.  Being sold rather than making an important business decision

A successful CRM will appreciate in value over time and lead to order and harmony between the users.  The most effective way to select this technology is to look at your own business systems first.  Find a CRM program that supports your company processes – not one that offers the most overall features.
Look to your goals in the future to make sure this will be the best CRM over time.  It is a great business investment with a great ROI.  But only when you get the right program and implement it well.  Keep in mind - the wrong solution at the right price is not a bargain.
2.  Losing focus on improving customer relationships.

The goal of a good CRM is to acquire, grow and retain your best customers.  Never lose sight of that goal when you are selecting and implementing a new CRM program.  The biggest differentiator in the current marketplace is offering an exceptional customer experience.
Talk to your customers and learn their priorities.  Identify the areas where you have had complaints and engineer systems that can be automated to solve the issue.  Customer focus must become part of the company culture if you want the CRM to give you a competitive advantage.
3.  Applying new CRM capabilities to a broken business process.

Don’t automate chaos.  For example, one of the reasons why a CRM benefits a company is having accurate lists of customer contact information available to everyone.  Without CRM, you may be missing opportunities to reach out to customers on a regular basis.
If your current system has lots of outdated and inaccurate contact data, it would be best to clean up all the information before you migrate the data to a new system.  Look at your bounce rate when you send out a broadcast email.  It will give you a clue about the accuracy of your current list.
Carefully analyze and improve your business processes before you even select a CRM.  Your best solution will support the efficiencies you have developed and help you achieve success.
4.  Trying to please the CFO more than the support staff.

CRM needs to work for everyone on the team instead of just requiring aggressive reporting for the “bean counters”.  Many CRM deployments fail because the users resist using the system.  
The data will only be useful to management if everyone on the team buys into the process.  Look for ways to include effort-saving features like capturing emails into the client record automatically.  Help the support staff see the many benefits to their workload.
5.  Creating suppressive sales management metrics.

Sales people – by nature – tend to be independent minded.  
When done right, a CRM makes sales easier and the sales rep’s time more productive.  However, when the new system is perceived as a way to monitor their activities, you will find some of your best producers going out of their way to resist implementation.  
The sales paradigm has shifted in the past decade and sales people need systems to do a better job.  Today’s buyer is more informed and expects more from the sellers.  Prospects don’t trust what is claimed by sales reps and they insist on being in control of the relationship.  
Online CRM can be a fantastic solution for the sales team.  The new role for sales managers is to provide resources, strategies and processes that improve over time.  CRM makes it possible.  Make sure sales people see the benefits instead of controlling demands from management.
6.  Systems that cannot be scaled and customized over time.

CRM done right changes how a company manages the customer experience.  Many companies experience major growth because of implementing an effective CRM solution.  You don’t want to be held back by a “cookie-cutter” CRM that is cumbersome to scale or customize to new levels of growth.
7.  Unrealistic expectations – doing too much at one time

When you recognize all the wonderful things a CRM can do for your business, it is tempting to try to do it all at once…a HUGE mistake.  The CRM program cannot do everything on its own.  With careful training and the gift of time to implement slowly, the users are what make the CRM work for you.  
With the new technology and the human beings working together you can eliminate cumbersome processes and resolve customer problems.  Take your time to ease into the new way of serving your customers.  In the beginning things will be intimidating and confusing.  Once they feel comfortable with the technology, users can be your best resource for improving things even more than you can envision at the beginning.

Bottom line: 
You can’t afford to be without the best CRM solution for your company.  However, you don’t want to be one of the many companies who have tried and failed.  Compare CRM solutions to find the one that fits.  You will never regret doing it right.

About the Author

Craig Klein

Craig Klein is founder and CEO of SalesNexus.com, the first online CRM solution to include complete email marketing and access to targeted contact lists.  Craig has published several eBooks and is a regular speaker on sales automation and lead generation topics.  Craig's passion is to help businesses grow so they can improve the lives of their employees, customers and communities.

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