Seven deadly sins of CRM adoption

Bob Zabiyaka's picture
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Seven Deadly Sins of CRM Adoption

Despite the relative maturity of the CRM industry, ratio of successful implementations is quite low. Problems may be specific to a region, like low literacy in some areas in India, but usually problems are uniform around the world. I thought it would be useful to collect the most typical issues that plague CRM project and touch on ways to solve them. I came up with these issues in my working in the CRM industry as well as issues brought up by many discussions and forums regarding the topic.

1. Regulation Overload

Old-school sales reps believe that CRM tools will bury them in time-consuming data input activities. They are always time-constrained and view data input as a type of punishment. They may also say that this is not the way they used to work. The simplest way to solve this problem is to provide step-by-step instructions for handling basic activities with the CRM solution. Since a lot of companies skimp on training costs, it’s better to have at least a cheat sheet than have nothing at all.

2. Lousy Training

When the value of CRM is not effectively conveyed, users tend to work as they used to, which means they avoid the CRM solution. So don’t skimp on training…do it right! Gartner indicated that successful project managers budgeted 17% of project cost on effective end user adoption activities.

3. Scattered Integration

Many people view CRM integration as a "good to have", not a "must have". As a result of “good to have” attitude in respect to data integration is that every second IT or marketing manager doesn’t believe in the accuracy and trustworthiness of the data from CRM system.

4. No Buy-in

Nobody cares about getting user's buy-in at the time of the CRM evaluation stage. That's why it comes to users as something "imposed". We have really positive experience related to this issue. One of our customers let users select the CRM. So we worked closely not only with CXO-level, but with end-users. The process took longer, but the adoption process was really impressive.

5. Endless Automation

Stakeholders usually tend to automate everything without having the real business need, while it’s enough to automate 2-3 vital processes at first stages. Process optimization is an ongoing process, it can’t be completed overnight. Start small; don’t try to solve all problems from the get-go.

6. Data Update

Some organizations pay bonuses to sales managers if they update CRM records on a regular basis. But this practice isn’t common. You should sell them the idea that keeping all the data in one place will save them time when preparing reports because the CRM system can do it automatically. Spending a few minutes during a day will save hours in the end.

7. Bad Change Management

Old habits die hard. If your management style is “Do as I say, not as I do”, you won’t succeed. You should “walk the same shoes” with your reps, that is the axiom.