Don't Sabotage Your CRM

The great literary author and poet Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." At the time, Thoreau did not know he was eloquently speaking words of wisdom to the CRM industry.

Since 2001, the research on CRM implementation failure rates showed rates have ranged from 29 percent to a high 70 percent implementation failure rate. This brings us to the question the CRM industry needs to ask itself, "Why are CRM implementation rates so bleak?"

Well, one reason is because CRM vendors have created implementations that contain many add-ons and extra features. Like a overcrowded boat with a leak in it, these add-ons slow down the system and almost grind it to a halt. The extra features included by your software provider has become dead weight to your CRM solution. As a users, you are then not able to properly complete the tasks you need to do.

This creates a serious problem. One of the reasons for implementing CRM is to make certain day-to-day tasks easier. Most things do not move faster when it is larger. Think of animals such as the greyhound or cheetah. Their streamlined physique makes it easier for them to run faster. However, this concept is not remembered when some companies setup up CRM systems.

Costs are another aspect that has contributed to the bleak implementation rate of customer relationship management solutions. A bloated system that is difficult to use can cost even more. A CRM system is setup for a certain amount of staff to use. For example, if only one-quarter of the staff is able to use it, logically the actual amount you are paying is really quadruple your monthly cost. This is based on the reduced number of staff. So if your CRM system is not user-friendly, you might as well tear up the initial calculations on costs to have CRM implemented, and start over with the true calculations for return on investment.

Anyone who has used a great CRM system knows that the right system just purrs. You find yourself being more productive than you ever thought possible. Contacts are updated, sales leads are followed up and financial data is easily analyzed. Businesses looking for a CRM system, or looking to update, should first determine the ease of CRM implementation and usage. Choose the employee with the least amount technical skills who will use it, and carry out a test run of the system before implementation.

Some CRM vendors have created solutions with additional features that work against you. The concept of "ease of use" flies out of the window, and you are left banging your head on the desk hoping that your CRM system will just do what you need from it. If vendors would just declutter and simplify, users could be more productive. From the beginning, you should be asking yourself, "Am I sabotaging my ability to manage customer relationships with this implementation?"