Improving CRM adoption


A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is often implemented to improve productivity, boost sales, streamline operations and save money.

Research, however, shows that over 40% of the CRM projects fail and only 30% - 40% of CRM projects demonstrate full end user adoption.

The primary reasons for the poor adoption rates is to do with a concentration on technology at the expense several key inputs:

  1. A real strategy overall

  2. A lack of sales and business goals

  3. A lack of key stakeholders involved in the adoption

We should always remember that CRM adoption is about the people involved not the technology.

But when scoping out and implementing a CRM most businesses generally involve technology people and, only then, senior management. As part of this process, technology people generally scope requirements of the business and management (Reporting requirements, etc), acquire and implement the necessary technology platforms and then upload the necessary company information to "kick start" the CRM implementation.

Rarely are the everyday users of the platforms (the sales people) intricately involved in the pre-implementation process. And if they are it tends to be around mapping processes, this tends not to be a strength of sales people. Their job is to apply the processe, not to design them.

As a result:

  1. The system does not truly reflect the either the current business processes in place or the desired business processes

  2. Sales people view the new system as something that requires considerable extra effort with no commensurate benefit

  3. The system is viewed as a management inspired initiative which then leads to scepticism, rejection or just benevolence from the sales team

Ultimately, CRM adoption is a team effort that, from inception, requires inclusion and participation of all parts of the business.  The project will require a set of common goals and an implementation strategy, support from senior and middle management and a clearly articulated (and demonstrable) ROI to all stakeholders.  This should then be supported by thorough and regular training.

Tips fromJohn Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

  1. A CRM system is simply a technology to manage better business relationships

  2. Be in control of the technology not the other way around

  3. Be familiar with what the technology can offer, not the technology itself

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