CRM – 10 Critical Factors


Avoiding The Ten Pitfalls

  1. Don’t sit down and try and design the perfect CRM system that will meet 100% of each and every person’s wish list. The sales people will want the system to work on their mobile telephones and PDAs; the marketing people will want to track every sale back to exactly what keyword in which Google Adword generated the inquiry, and the resulting committee’s design will be a system of such technical complexity that it will continually fail, and of such user complexity that it won’t be used.
  2. Its better to get the sales teams as the prime designers of the system. Although the marketing department is one of the biggest beneficiaries of a well run CRM system, only the sale people can make it a success. Get the sales peoples’ buy-in and then make sure that marketing team’s requirements are met.
  3. Don’t just switch on the system and expect that everybody in the organisation will just pick it up. Many won’t, and their first impressions and side-comments will jeopardise the success of the overall project. New internal systems need to be sold and the roll-out needs to be planned.
  4. Don’t forget training, even if it is only a half an hour course for sales people. And the training course is the ideal time to make people want to use the system by stressing what’s in it for them as well as what’s in it for the company. Make sure that all users know who to call if they get stuck, and make sure that such calls are handled positively.
  5. Most internal systems are essential to the user’s job. The accountants have to use the accounting system, the purchase ordering clerk the PO system, the marketing people the marketing database. Don’t forget that sales people can function perfectly happily without a corporate CRM system, and many prefer it that way. Use encouragement, carrots and sticks. Motivation is as important as understanding.
  6. If you haven’t implemented a CRM system before, and even if you have, get help, even if it is just a day of a supplier’s time to go through the issues. They’ll see the pitfalls that you can’t.
  7. Make it somebody’s responsibility to own the data, and to make sure that its correct and complete. This could be split across more than one person: the sales administrators for the sales teams and a marketing communications person for the marketing data. A good sales administrator will nag sales people to fill the source field in, make sure that dead leads get recycled back into marketing, that addresses are complete and that PAs don’t get emailed.
  8. Keep the technology as simple as you can. The simpler the underlying technology, the less chance of something going wrong.
  9. If the CEO and the VP Sales uses the system, and are seen to use the system, then that culture has a chance of permeating the organisation. A real time dashboard showing sales this month can help win their hearts!
  10. The right choice for you will ultimately be a compromise between price & functionality versus ease of use. That’s a philosophical choice that only you and your organisation can make. There’s no “best practice”, only bad practice.

There’s a common theme in many of the guidelines above: good practice needs to come from the top. If a sales or services manager uses the system to actively manage his or her team, then adoption in that team will be successful. Only if the whole management team jointly agree that the CRM system is a key part of meeting the organisation’s objectives, and then use and be seen to use it themselves, will the full benefits be realised.

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