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Seven CRM Failures, and the Right Attitude for Avoiding Them

August 03, 2011
By David Sims - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

Ken Thoreson, managing director of the Acumen Management Group, has done you a favor. He’s assembled a pretty fair list of seven CRM fails, and ways to avoid them.

Naturally there are more ways to fail than the ones Thoreson gives here, but these are seven of the more egregious failures you want to avoid for your CRM project:

Pipeline values and forecasting are neither accurate nor updated in real time.

Sales opportunities aren't properly updated to reflect the appropriate sales stage.

Outdated sales opportunities linger in the system.

Each salesperson uses the system differently.

Sales activity codes are redundant or not being used.

Marketing leads and their sources aren't tracked.

The database is not current or only partial information is recorded, ensuring that marketing can't use the system effectively for campaigns.

Gruesome mistakes all, and they take their toll -- as Thoreson says, “I have consistently found that much of senior management's frustration with sales leadership is traceable to the expectations that CRM applications create, yet fail to meet.”

The plain fact is that CRM fails far more often than it succeeds; this list of seven fails is by no means rare. As TMC noted a while ago, Customer Relationship Management projects are subject to the same torques and tensions that tear other projects apart. In fact, the numbers are higher with CRM projects, studies show up to 70 percent of CRM projects fail.

Some of it is simply the fault of oversell on the part of vendors, who lead senior management to think that mere technology will increase salesperson productivity, effective lead management and improved sales. Actually what’s needed, as Thoreson correctly notes, is “a commitment by all levels of management to institutionalize the CRM system, and after that it is simply sales leadership's responsibility to set the vision and sales management's job to focus on execution.”

Hit the link for more ideas on ways to avoid not only these, but other CRM fails.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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