2 Big Hurdles to Achieving ROI with CRM


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CRM companies and vendors alike like to paint a rosy picture that if you implement CRM you will see more sales, longer customer retention, and higher customer satisfaction ratings. The list of CRM promises is endless. In fact, some online CRM systems purport that CRM is so simple you can “do-it-yourself” for just $120 per month per user. Simply upload your customer list and you will have CRM success.

The reality is quite different.  CRM implementations are frequently fraught with user frustrations, poor performance, and failure meet ROI estimates.  This is really no different than the promises made by the manufactures of microwave ovens in the late 70s:  “Buy a microwave oven and you will have more time to enjoy doing the things you want, rather than spending time in the kitchen.”  Did it work?  No! 

Seriously, does anyone truly believe they can implement software and see a 20% increase in their bottom line, or a 50% increase in favorable customer satisfaction ratings? Really?  Software?

Here is are just two reasons why it takes more than software for CRM to be successful:

1) Acceptance

Unless everyone (and I mean everyone) in the organization embraces your CRM strategy and changes their beliefs on the importance of the customer, your company will look much the same after the CRM implementation as it did before.

2) Adoption

It is critical that your CRM system become a vital part of everyone’s processes (once again I highlight the word everyone, yes, this means you Mr. CEO and you Sales Manager).  This means that for CRM to be successful, it must fit into each person’s daily routine, and deliver the right information at the appropriate time.  Weekly updates to CRM, or expecting and over-the-road sales person to remember his or her daily activities and record them at night in a hotel must be thing of the past.  Sporadic updates to CRM does not equal successful integration into your companies processes.

New customers sometimes ask if I guarantee results, and I will, if I am in charge of hiring and firing. You see, you can’t implement CRM to change culture in your organization, but you must change culture in your organization to implement CRM successfully.

Before you write off your current CRM system and invest in another which promises more success, take a look at what you did to ensure CRM success.  The problem may not be the software.

If you are looking for a second (or third) opinion on the direction of CRM in your company, I’d be happy to help.

Luke Russell
Luke Russell has been CRM consultant since 1998. He has personally consulted with hundreds of organizations, and has a strong success record for CRM implementation and results. During this time, he has worked with customers to achieve such lofty goals as higher quote win ratios, larger average order size, more effective follow-up, reduced cost of administration, increased customer retention, and expanded cross-sales into existing customers; to name a few. Luke is the founder of Resolv, Inc.


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