One Fatal Trend Preventing CRM Success

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I have blogged in the past about business strategy, and C-level buy-in. I’ve been on my soap-box talking about reasonable expectations of sales people.  I’ve even been so bold as to say that many of your current CRM issues are not technical issues.  This blog is going to take a bit of a turn.

Over the course of the last 16 years of CRM consulting, I have noticed a trend, but have been unable to put my finger on just what the trend is. Whether it is because I am sometimes slow to grasp things, or because it is so easy I didn’t think it could be a “magic bullet,” I am uncertain.  However here is what I see to be one CRM system trend that is debilitating, if not fatal to CRM success.  What is this trend: OVER COMPLICATION!

That’s right, over complication.  Companies that implement a CRM system for the first time, or those that are moving to a new CRM system because of perceived issues with their current system, tend to over-complicate everything!  We sell the idea that CRM will be easy and make our employees lives more simple, but we add so much into the CRM system, that it is anything but that.  It seems that in today’s businesses, complexity governs.  This complexity often starts with management and flows down through the organization. 

Over complexity is born out of several conditions, including:

  • Risk management/abatement
  • Legal/governmental regulation
  • Quality assurance/improvements
  • Leadership transition 

CRM is simple, organizations make it complex.
CRM is simple, organizations make it complex.
As organizations lean toward complexity, everything they do tends to become more complex. For example, let’s say that to improve quality a company implements a quality control check-list on their production line.  The next natural step is to continue this check-list into CRM, asking sales people to complete a portion assuring customer satisfaction. It is only one step, right? Yes, one step repeated over and over for every order, soon becoming an impossible task to complete effectively.

Another reason for organizations trends toward complexity is the fear of discarding something that may be useful. Therefore, when new systems are implemented, or process changed, usually steps are added, data collection-points are increased, with very few thoughts given to how to decrease (or simplify) the process or the amount of data required.

If ever a time the KISS acronym (keep it simple, stupid) played true in organizations it should be in the implementation of CRM. No CRM system has failed because it was too simple.  CRM is simple, organizations make it complex.

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