Three Common CRM Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The concept of Customer Relationship Management has been around for at least 25 years (depending on whom you ask). And yet, there are still lots of unsuccessful CRM programs out there – ones that don’t deliver the intended return on investment.  Some studies peg that percentage as high as 70%, while others claim it’s much lower.  Of course, the only statistic that truly matters to your company is whether YOUR program is a success or failure.

So, why so many CRM failures?  Many of those failures are the result of companies making one (or more) of these common mistakes:

  1. Failing to identify appropriate success metrics. “Building strong customer relationships” sounds like a great reason to implement to CRM, but in reality, it’s about impacting your bottom line.
    • The point of building those relationships is to move the needle on whatever metrics drive your enterprise’s success.
    • Without clearly-defined success metrics, it’s impossible to quantify the expected benefit of your CRM program.
  2. Viewing CRM as just a technology project.
    • Technology is strictly an enabler of CRM, albeit an important one.
    • Without supporting processes, metrics, and staff, your CRM program will fail before it ever gets off the ground.
  3. Trying to do everything at once.
    • CRM is a company-wide program that impacts every function and every employee.
    • Your implementation plan needs to reflect your business’s reality, both in terms of resources (human, financial) and readiness (skills, buy-in).


How can your company avoid these pitfalls?

Mistake Solution
Failing to identify appropriate success metrics
  • Identify quantifiable cost/revenue drivers that you intend to impact through CRM
  • Define clear short, medium, and long-term targets AND a plan for measuring them
Viewing CRM as just a technology project
  • Staff project team with representatives from all functional areas
  • Ensure program design encompasses people, process, and technology components
Trying to do everything at once
  • Assess organizational readiness
  • Identify highest-impact elements of CRM program
  • Create a phased implementation plan to ensure readiness
  • Pilot top priorities

Ultimately, up-front planning and an enterprise-wide perspective are the keys to ensuring a successful CRM program that fits the needs of you and your customers.  For more information, please contact us.