Reasons that CRM Strategies Fail

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: September 12, 2011

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software holds great promises. The idea of being able to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes, primarily those regarding sales, is a grand one, but unfortunately the end result is not the success story the promise held. Many companies that move into CRM find the result to be a failure. How can this be, especially since the CRM market is such a vibrant one at the moment with many vendors and solutions out there? CRM vendors and their customers are baffled over this, but there are actually a few simple reasons why CRM strategies fail. Let’s take a look at them.

Too Much Focus on the CRM vendor and technology

In order for a CRM strategy to be successful, a company must know what it wants and it must be reasonable in its expectations. Some companies get too caught up in having the best CRM strategy that is available. Other companies want the broad spectrum of technology available (call centers, on-demand CRM, web-based, etc.). Too much emphasis on the technology can cause a company to go astray. It’s better to focus on what’s important and to address that rather than jumping neck deep into the technology pool. Having a great CRM strategy is important, yes, but it is important to select the CRM vendor that is best for the business, not the vendor that is the flashiest and supplies the most bells and whistles.

Rushing into CRM is a recipe for disaster

As mentioned above, CRM is a good thing, but it needs to be done in the right way. If a CEO gets it into his head that his company needs CRM and needs it up and running NOW, disaster is just around the corner. Time needs to be taken to find a vendor who can provide the best solution for the company. IT workers need to understand the concepts of CRM, why it is important, and how it will be implemented. CRM, in general, needs to be implemented across the entire company. If this implementation is rushed, numerous issues are going to arise. Taking the slow approach and making sure that everything is stepped through in the proper fashion is the way to make sure things go correctly. Step outside of that, and the CRM deployment is doomed.

Not enough focus on the customer

The core of CRM is the customer. The customer should be first in everything that is done in regards to CRM. In order to have success with CRM, companies must work towards building strong relationships with their customers. If companies focus on technology instead of the customer, even the most technologically advanced CRM strategy is going to go wrong. A company might have the flashiest call center on the planet, but if it’s too difficult to use customers aren’t going to hang around. That is where the real Return on Investment (ROI) of a CRM solution is going to be seen: customer retention and the acquisition of new customers. Focus on the customer, and this will come naturally. Focus on the technology, and the CRM strategy will fail.

Avoid the pitfalls

Avoid these pitfalls to have a successful CRM strategy. Take the time to ask questions, to search out the right vendor, to test the software, to implement it correctly, and to roll it out to the company in a reasonable fashion. Be slow, be deliberate, be smart, and the CRM strategy will be a success. Get sidelined by the items discussed above, and the CRM strategy will undoubtedly fail.

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