CRM Implementation – Where it Fails

Between the decision to implement an enterprise-wide software solution and its implementation and acceptance, lies perhaps the most treacherous ground in the corporate IT landscape…

Research group after research group report that an extraordinarily high percentage of software projects either fail to meet their goals after completion, are delivered over-budget or late, or are simply cancelled outright.

Gartner says half the projects in their study exceeded their initial budget tolerance by 200 percent.

Standish Group suggests fully 1/3 of software projects are scotched before a single user has drawn benefit from the application.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – projects are no different; they are subject to the same torques and tensions that tear other projects apart. In fact, the numbers are higher with CRM projects; studies show up to 70 percent of CRM projects fail. What is the source of so many CRM failures? Are there characteristics of CRM projects that make them especially vulnerable? More important, what are the remedies?

Defining Success

Ask anyone at your company what CRM is, and you’ll get your first clue about the source of the frequent project failures. Too many people, from staff-level to the corner office, from IT to sales, believe that CRM starts and ends with software.

In fact, the core of good CRM is the same as it’s been for decades: the right people executing the right processes, using the best possible tools at their disposal. And these days the ‘best tools’ means software that support the relationships between companies and clients.

To get your project off on the right foot, you’ll need to embrace a balanced view of the current situation that accounts for people, process and technology. That starts with some self-analysis covering all three components:

Assess and Benchmark your Current Team

What does the organization look like? Who has a customer-facing role, and what do they do? A basic organizational map, along with a list of each team’s assigned roles is an essential first step. If you don’t know what you have to start with, it’s nearly impossible to map out next steps and improvement points.

Define the Process

Map out the basic contours of the key customer-centric processes, including those that generate new business, as well as those that work to support existing clients.  Who does what and in what order? What tools do they use to accomplish these tasks? Think about supporting processes as well, like prospect generation, lead qualification, or contract writing. The most important rule? Be honest about how it actually works, not how it’s supposed to work.

Determine the Vision

Create a vision of the future by modeling the way your customer-centric processes ought to be. Now you can set your “AS-IS” information aside and start working through how things should be. For each existing process, you’ll want a corresponding future state. The difference between your CURRENT and DESIRED processes represents your path for change.

Consider the People and Process Too

While technology is an important piece of CRM, companies that focus solely on buying or building the best IT components will too often become another statistic in another research group’s report. Meanwhile, companies with healthy CRM implementations have inevitably taken into account all three of the primary components for success: people, process, and technology.

Authored by Steve Snapp & Swain Scheps

Salesforce Training & Consulting is a professional sales training firm and Salesforce.com consulting firm based in Toronto, with offices in Boston and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, salesforce implementation, sales training and sales personnel assessments.
by   Mark Christie