Commons pitfalls of a CRM project [part 1]

Over the last 20 years business drivers for CRM programmes have evolved but the handful of common pitfalls has remained the same.

In the early days a key business driver was for managers to keep a watching eye on their staff, particularly the sales force in the field, to make sure they were operating as expected by making them evidence interactions across the sales process, and to try to enforce standard process adoption. Next came a focus on productivity, to improve operational efficiency, doing more with less, and making use of technology to do things not previously possible. More recently the focus has been on improving the experience for customers, to address their decreasing loyalty as technology and the internet increasingly shifts empowerment to their favour. And some of the latest CRM programmes have also sought to address employee engagement too, giving them access to the kinds of collaborative customer management tools they are used to in their day-to-day personal experiences with modern technology.

Throughout all these CRM programme there are a handful of common pitfalls that are easy to avoid.

  1. Unclear Goals
  2. Data and content
  3. User adoption

These common pitfalls aren’t mutually exclusive and often you will find that a mistake made in one area will impact one of the others too.

Unclear Goals

Countless CRM programmes were destined to fail from the get-go simply because no-one really knew what they were trying to achieve.

Don’t be theoretical, subjective or wishy-washy with the reasons for the project. You need to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. Determine the customer relationship management problems you are working to solve, set measurable targets against those goals and measure before, during and after the change. Do not try to pave the way for customer-centric working with your CRM programme; you need to first demonstrate that the change is worth it.

Understanding the desired outcomes that are needed will help your prioritise them as you can’t do everything in one go. Expected benefits need to be both measurable and financially quantified too, “likes” will not get widespread approval. Typical outcomes include

  • Improving sales productivity
    • Improved sales qualification
    • Increased sales success, both conversion and retention
    • Shortened sales cycle
  • Improving marketing campaigns
    • More effective planning and execution
    • Improved customer loyalty
    • More leads generated for sales
  • Improving customer experience
    • Faster resolution of customer issues
    • More precise resolution of customer issues
    • Reduced calls that could be address through self-service
  • Improving operation efficiency
    • Reduced cost to acquire new customers
    • Reduced cost to serve
    • Reduced cost of multiple systems (training, maintaining, integration)
  • Improving Governance and reducing risk
    • More processes automated / guided
    • Increased ability to track interactions
    • Reduced number of duplicate / unconnected records
    • More customer data held in corporate systems and less held in personal filofax (tricky to measure but not impossible)

Paint a picture of what success looks like and use this to tell a story about the case for change and what the world will look like after the change.  Don’t forget to describe the future state should you do nothing, but don’t paint too grim a picture because you risk making the case for change overly optimistic.

Once you know where you are heading and what the end of the journey looks like, you will give focus to subsequent decision making support your business goals, and that vision of the future can also help you make an early start towards user adoption.

to be continued…

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