Why Do CRMs Fail and What Does CRM Success Look Like?

By Mark E. Engelberg, TimeLinx –

A common number bandied around CRM circles is that CRM implementation projects have a greater than 60% fail rate. But that’s just one perspective on the thought about CRM failure. Other views on the topic depend entirely on what’s meant by ‘CRM failure.’

Are we talking about failure to fully integrate CRM with complementary systems? Or are we talking about an inability to leverage the CRM for successful, consistent growth? If it’s the latter, I can hazard a guess that the percentage of businesses that struggle with CRM may exceed Merkel Group’s 63%.

Why Are CRM Systems So Prone to Failure?

One of the principal reasons for common shortfalls in CRM effectiveness is because the majority of businesses use the CRM for the inspection of work.

In other words, CRMs are often geared toward localized purposes of reporting, forecasting, providing managerial visibility, and outlining project-delivery dates.

This siloed approach to CRM rollout misses a critical opportunity to satisfy broader goals that encompass a more panoramic service and support strategy.

What leads to this overarching failure to ensure CRM success in practical terms?

The problem of compartmentalizing project and service value narratives

Zooming in, we can see that the breakdown of CRM value delivery stems from a cluster of separate issues, all festering away together.

Very few CRM stakeholders understand the full scope of a CRMs features and functions. CRM advocates tasked with imparting CRM training usually do so in the context of managers’ specific purposes. In turn, managers train their teams to interface with the CRM to fulfill their, or their departments, particular purposes and needs.

The consequence? Localized priorities driving toward localized outcomes. It’s precisely that lack of value trickle-down from CRM training to CRM utility that causes the resulting void of understanding between departments.

Lack of value trickle-down in CRM training delivery

Imagine all of those compartmentalized CRM narratives running at scale across several data silos. This prevents the possibility of creating a single end-to-end value chain that could co-exist between the CRM and peripheral systems working in harmony.

How to Protect CRM Implementation From Failure

To avoid failure or sub-par use of CRM systems, organizations must advocate for and implement culture change where each department is incentivized to treat the CRM as one system capturing a body of information that gains value as it flows through a systems value-chain.

Here’s what that would look like:

Marketing Sales teams: CRM systems must incentivize and make available ways to monitor and track billable and non-billable pre-sales labor in Marketing to produce materials used by the Sales teams, plus actual quote preparation time by the Sales team.

Service delivery teams: A smartly configured CRM with an integrated project system can also be geared such that expensive consultants and engineers can easily use the CRM to quickly, efficiently, and accurately provide sales teams with critical cost projections data for quote creation.

Finance and accounting: Systems infrastructures in which CRMs are embedded with a service or field service system, thus designed to enable finance and accounting teams using the ERP platform to receive service data back in the accounting’s billing, payables, and chart of accounts modules — in this way, the CRM narrative gains yet more powerful utility and value.

By reinforcing CRM implementation and departments’ roles in ensuring maximum CRM utility, CRM projects can be implemented as part of a broader enterprise performance management strategy that harnesses the combined power of all systems.

TimeLinx Helps PSOs and CRM Advocates Implement CRM Change More Valuably

For all of their impressive features, CRMs used in isolation of a broader systems infrastructure configured for end-to-end project and service value cannot bring the kind of utility and profitability an ambitious service business craves.

Service organizations and CRM advocates eager to promote new CRM strategies to peers and management teams must prove the potential gains in a broader context that treats the CRM as a critical player in an all-star lineup of technologies.

Elevate your CRM value and utility into the stratosphere

If you’re interested in adding TimeLinx’s Project and Service Management platform for Sage and Infor CRMs to your all-star lineup, let us demo to you. We’ll show you how a TimeLinx PSM activates the afterburners that ensure your CRM utility accelerates into the stratosphere.

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About TimeLinx
TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.