Unwelcome CRM phrases…


Share on LinkedIn


The TV channel Dave provides two great pieces of value in my opinion.

Firstly the sublime naming of the “Dave ja vu” channel, which repeats whatever is on Dave one hour later – how I would have loved to have been in the meeting when some creative-type suggested that.

Secondly, for those fans of topical satire, the ubiquitous presence of “Mock The Week” repeats, the best section of which is “Scenes We’d Like To See”, the segment where the stand-ups spontaneously (supposedly) offer quick-fire retorts to scenarios such as “Bad Things To Hear On An Airplane” or “Unlikely Lines From Star Trek”.

I’ve been hanging on for a couple of series hoping for a scenario entitled “Phrases you don’t want to hear in a CRM project” to see what the professional comics make of that, but I have resigned myself to drafting my own tragic as opposed to comic answers.

Actually, I think it’s worthy of 2 segments, “Phrases the Client doesn’t want to hear from the Supplier during a CRM project” and of course “Phrases the Supplier dreads hearing from the Client during the project”. So if you have a vested interest in the outcome of the CRM project within your own organisation, read on.

Phrases the Client doesn’t want to hear from the Supplier during a CRM project:-
• “I don’t know…give me a minute I’ll Google it!” –not unreasonably given the hourly rate of a CRM consultant, you were expecting 1st hand product and domain expertise – not a permanent attachment to a search engine and an online community for answers to product questions.
• “The sales person told you what?” – the perennial disconnect between the expectations set by the salesperson and the budget, time, product capability constraints that operate in the real world.
• “That’s in the product roadmap” – i.e. what you really want we can’t deliver.
• “We need to talk about the budget…” – nobody likes surprises especially cost related ones.
• “Here’s the 150 page technical specification, you need to sign it off now as we start building tomorrow” – even though the specification is an unfathomable essay of tech speak.
• “What fields do you want on the Contact form?” – I’m afraid your chosen supplier has widely missed the mark if this is their approach, they should we working with you to identify the business outcomes, the success indicators and the key processes that support the customer journey and lifecycle. Get that right and Contact form defines itself.

How to avoid the not-so-funny situations above? Engage with a professional CRM consulting firm of course. One that is staffed with certified experts and operates a robust delivery model, a methodology that leads the Client seamlessly through the customer strategy development, technology selection and agile development stages. Ensuring you get the right solution developed, for the right price and with the minimum amount of stress and risk. When in doubt, ask for and take up references.

As for that other list, “Phrases the Supplier dreads hearing from the Client during a CRM project”:-
• “There’s been a small change in scope….” – CRM projects don’t happen in vacuum, the business needs and priorities constantly evolve, so changes in scope should be expected and managed accordingly. It’s when the small change actually isn’t small, or when the changes are frequent that there is a danger the project itself gets randomised – which adds delay, cost and risk.
• “We just want it vanilla, out of the box CRM please” – so your business has no unique needs, no differentiation and no USPs beyond your competition? CRM is a business strategy that is meant to provide a competitive advantage, vanilla CRM = wasted opportunity.
• “We are too busy to engage in process design, testing and training” – so again if you are looking to CRM to provide your business an unfair advantage above your competition, that’s only going to happen by investing the time and talent of the people who understand your business, the markets in which you operate. Short-cutting user testing and training is the sure fire way of sabotaging user adoption.
• “Our executive sponsor has opted out” – the exec sponsor has rowed for shore – time to call a time-out on the project.
• “The customer journey, what’s that?” – oh dear, the business has committed to a CRM investment but the Client apparently doesn’t understand the concepts of customer segmentation, personalisation, treatment strategies, customer lifecycle and customer journeys. We are on a path to deploying a very expensive address book.

And more too, like “social media doesn’t apply to our business” or “we can’t decide what legacy data to load, so we want to load everything from year dot”.

Unfortunate phrases like those above indicate that the business doesn’t have the maturity and the strong state of readiness that we see as prerequisites to embark on the journey of applying a new CRM strategy and system. It doesn’t matter what CRM software platform you choose and the level of investment you put into external advice, if you haven’t created the right internal environment and recognised that this is a business strategy and culture project as much as a technology one – then the chances of success are slim.

For more information on how to deliver successful CRM and to understand what Touchstone and Microsoft Dynamics CRM can do for your business, attend Touchstone’s Discover Dynamics CRM 2015 event. Register at http://crm2015.touchstone.co.uk/TSHome.html
Alternatively download the “Guide to Better CRM” at http://crm2015.touchstone.co.uk/rs/n3production/images/Touchstone-CRM-Direction.pdf

Dean Carroll
Dean Carroll is a 15 year customer experience strategy & technology veteran, he leads the CRM Consulting Practice for Touchstone in London. Dean has worked for technology leaders such Microsoft and Vodafone, has built award winning consulting businesses and oversees transformational CRM projects that create sustained value.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here