3 ways you’ve got CRM wrong

We’ve all heard the statistics trundled out by the analysts – 70% of CRMs fail to achieve their objectives, 90% don’t achieve an ROI, and so on and so on. More businesses than we think have been investing in products they don’t seem to use very well.

That’s not just missed potential for the business, that’s missed potential for the UK economy. So just what are we getting wrong? And how do we put it right?

#1 – We’re not getting users involved

There’s a common misconception that, having brought in a really great and expensive CRM system, the job is done. It’s so good, you can just sit back, put your feet up and watch the pounds roll in. That’s not going to happen.

And to be fair, most organisations don’t put their feet up. Where they do fail, however, is in getting the input of the various user groups who will be using the system over the long term.

It may seem like a simple thing, but talking to each department and getting their help in configuring the system is one of the most important things you can do.

Firstly, it gives them ownership of the system – they drive their usage, they model how they’re going to get the most out of it. Secondly, it ensures that they’ll keep using it, and won’t end up abandoning it in favour of piecemeal solutions post-implementation.

#2 – Sales and marketing aren’t talking to each other

Well, they never do, do they?

The modern CRM is built around the premise that sales and marketing teams do talk to each other, and not just in four-letter words. Matt Ranger’s blog sums it up well when he says that he used to “make the call too early in the process”.

In other words, a lead became a lead far too soon.

Now, in order for a lead to become a sales-ready lead, there has to be a hand-off process, and that doesn’t involve marketing saying “well, we’ve had it for three months, so you can have it now” or “ooh look, a new lead, here you go”.

A lead becomes a sales-ready lead when marketing AND sales both agree that it has reached the appropriate level of maturity. Prospects engage with brands at a much earlier stage these days, as they’re researching more and more online. That’s activity that your CRM should be recording for you, whether it be through integrated IP tracking or through data capture – you ought to know.

The process, which sales and marketing have to define together, revolves around knowing at what point a lead goes from marketing to sales. You can set up a points system, which helps define maturity of a lead – but that process needs to be a joint decision.

That way, no one can blame the other if it goes wrong.

But equally, it means no one can blame the system. The system is there to facilitate a good relationship. If you don’t speak to each other, it can’t help you.

#3 – We’re dropping the ball post-implementation

It’s like when you get a new mobile phone. This thing is going to CHANGE MY LIFE! Look, bells, whistles – it’s great.

Two weeks later, it’s just another mobile phone. And if it’s an iPhone, there’s already a newer one on the market anyway.

The reality never quite matches up to the excitement pre-launch. The truth is that it’s hard work. Keeping up the momentum is not meant to be easy, which is why you need to carry on as if implementation never happened.

That means: train everyone, regularly. Keep having meetings with key stakeholders, measure take-up, and keep listing out improvements (there will be many).

If you step back from CRM implementation thinking “I’ve done my job now”, then you haven’t done your job. And this, for me, is where most CRM implementations fail. Many get the first bit right, and most sales and marketing teams actually do talk to each other. But here – once it is implemented – is where CRM often fails to achieve what it set out to achieve.

Teething problems become gripes, excitement turns to the mundane, the system becomes a chore and those piecemeal solutions pop up.

Don’t let it happen. Don’t drop the ball, and you’ll be in that tiny percentage of those who get it right.

Gareth is Director of Digital Marketing at Clever Little Design, having worked across marketing, technology and HR roles previously. For his sins, he’s also a Boston Red Sox and an Everton fan.

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Gareth Cartman