The CEO’s worst nightmare is paying all of the money for a CRM implementation, using all of those resources to get it to work, and then to find the data in the CRM databases is bad and missing – the system is not generating the kinds of customer detail that management finds useful to building BUSINESS PURPOSE.
And whose fault is it?
And is this failure of CRM systems to deliver what is expected a big deal?
YES! Look at the potential for this market. “The latest (January 2014) enterprise software forecast from Gartner shows Customer Relationship Management (CRM) increasing to a $36.5B worldwide market by 2017, a significant increase from the $20.6B forecasted in Q1 of this year. CRM also leads all enterprise software categories in projected growth, showing a 15.1% CAGR from 2012 to 2017, also revised up from 9.7% in the Q1 forecast” (http://www.forbes.com/management)
THIS IS A HUGE MARKET! $36.5 billion by 2017! Something about this kind of service is VERY appealing to almost all companies and organizations.
How significant, then, is the disappointment when these systems fail to meet expectations. “Nearly 80% of companies polled in a new Big Data study find CRM ineffective at helping find external company information.” Gartner Group research, meanwhile, concludes that anywhere from 50% to 80% of CRM implementations fail in terms of not meeting expectations.
(Thomas Net News Tech Trends Journal – Why B2B CRM Systems Fail – 8/2013)
SOMETHING IS CAUSING AN ALMOST CATASTROPHIC DISCONNECT IN CRM IMPLEMENTATIONS.
SalesForce, one of the biggest providers or CRM software services, ironically, points exactly at both the cause of the problem of the disconnect and at the solution when they say in one of their BEST PRACTICES notices titled ”6 steps toward top data quality”:
“Don’t let bad data undermine your Salesforce CRM project—or your success as a company. Industry analysts point the finger at bad data as one of the top three reasons why CRM projects fail. [SalesForce now traces an incredible chain of failures that come from this source]
BAD DATA! Exactly! SalesForce shoots a rifle shot insight, exactly into the middle of the target, about why companies are experiencing such a high failure to meet expectations rate. The consequences of bad data overwhelm all attempts to get CRM to work.
So, let’s talk about Quality Data and how to bring it back or into the CRM implementation from the very beginning.
THREE FAULTY ASSUMPTIONS ‘POISON’ CRM
The problem is that CRM implementations are “poisoned” from the beginning with three faulty assumptions.
1. Faulty assumption: Management and Sales are connected and work together as a team to use Quality Data.
Reality – in most companies they are not connected and do not work together or share as a team, so no Quality Data moves between them and no action is taken based on Quality Data.
The Sales Team and the Management Team have to come together as partners, with equal respect and dignity and compensation, to determine exactly which customer information is critical, how the sales reps will gather it, how management will respond to it, and how it will be used to strengthen customer relationships. Sales has to know that they are appreciated as equal partners with management in this effort, so, when they go look and listen carefully to the customer speaking and report it, management will listen and be held accountable to do something in response and then report it to the customer. Everyone has to know that the entire management and sales organizations are dedicated to moving Quality Data (accurate, current, and complete) from the customer to the sales rep to management and then back to sales and to the customer.
THIS FLOW OF QUALITY DATA AMONG SALES, MANAGEMENT, AND CUSTOMERS IS ESSENTIAL IF A CRM IMPLEMENTATION IS TO LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS.
This loop eliminates user adoption issues entirely, as now the Sales Team knows it has value and is an equal partner with management in the handling of critical customer information. Both are committed totally to the BUSINESS PURPOSE of doing their share to make sure customer information is routed to those accountable, that action is taken, and that feedback on that action is given to Sales and to the customer.
2. Faulty assumption: Sales reps, of course, as part of their job, will use the CRM system to enter Quality Data.
Reality – sales reps do only the basic minimum demanded for what they consider administrative work that takes them away from making money, reporting activity, giving reports days after the customer meeting (if at all), and leaving out all of the contextual and background information that make the data meaningful. Thus, the trash and junk information (BAD DATA) that clogs up the CRM databases and makes any search/query or analytics meaningless and debilitating to all involved.
With the typical CRM implementation, sales reps are to file their customer meeting reports because they are told to. They have seen these “wonder solutions” implemented before, where nothing beneficial happened, so they are very cynical and wary. Many Sales Managers use the CRM system like ‘Big Brother’ to track the activities of the sales reps. And it does not take long for the sales rep to realize that no one cares, no one reads the reports, there is no feedback, no personal value to the activity. They get nothing from doing a good job. So, they just do the minimum required with just a number or check of a box. Clearly, management does not care about the customer relationship information; management only cares that some activity is going on. One person wrote at the bottom of a CRM system sales report, “If anyone reads this report, please call me or send an email.” He did this over a two-month period, putting the message at the bottom of each report each day – and he got no response! No one cares, so only a stupid person would continue doing it or trying very hard.
Is anyone reading this report? If so, please call me. (and no one calls, for months)
The source of the most accurate, complete, and current customer information is the sales rep out on the cutting edge of the customer relationship. It is the sales rep, brought in and made a valuable part of the management team for building customer relationships, that should be most listened to by management, most rewarded for valuable information not just revenue. We often ask a Sales Manager, “If your highest revenue producing sales rep refused to report into the CRM system, would you fire her?” What is more important to your organization, immediate cash or a long-term customer relationship? Most of the time the answer is ‘no’ – the tail is wagging the dog. And if the sales rep is refusing to report but claims to be developing solid and long-term customer relationships, then only a stupid Sales Manager would fail to ask, “long-term for whom, you or for the company?” When that sales rep isn’t quite making it any more with the revenue and decides to leave the organization, what is left to document the promises made to the customer and ensure realization of the value of the information shared by the customer?
Quality customer data, flowing continuously into the CRM databases from the sales team, is at the heart of any powerful and successful CRM implementation.
Without it, there is no way to ensure the integrity of the CRM databases such that management can trust them enough to understand the current business position of the company, to do trustworthy analytics, to do good problem solving and decision making, take proper action, and deliver good feedback to the Sales Team and to the customers. Everything, from beginning to end, gains significant value because Quality Data is flowing continuously into a shared system.
3. Faulty assumption: Lots of astounding applications attached to the CRM implementation, that tell management as much as possible about as many things as possible, is the way for management to make best use of the CRM system.
Reality – bells and whistles coming from every software developer direction in the world are swamping and drowning the CRM BUSINESS PURPOSE. The fact is that very few categories of customer information are essential for management to monitor to accomplish BUSINESS PURPOSES and meet customer relationship management expectations.
As the old Minit-Lube commercial said, “Some people want to change the world; we just want to change your oil.” Sales reps must be trained to observe and listen to the customer regarding the status of products and services, the status of marketing value and pricing, the status of the competition and the competitive environment, and the status of opportunities both with the customer and in the marketplace “out there.” Then they must feed that information into the CRM system immediately following each customer meeting in order to capture the contextual and background information sufficient to understand what is happening. Very often, this feedback is far more valuable if spoken, given by voice rather than typed because of the natural limitations of keyboarding in the field and the natural limitations of trying to enter EXPLANATORY DATA, or the information that requires sentences and paragraphs and longer explanations (no thumbs, please!)
A simple STATUS BOARD or PERFORMANCE DASHBOARD can pull these data out of the CRM databases and present visual presentations real-time and continuously for immediate management understanding, accountability, and proper action. A sales rep might enter a variety of information in a report, but essential to the report is the sales rep’s report of products/services, marketing/pricing, competition, and opportunities.
WE MUST HAVE THESE DATA, ACCURATE, CURRENT, AND COMPLETE, FLOWING CONTINUOUSLY INTO THE DATABASES IF THE DASHBOARD IS TO HAVE BUSINESS VALUE.
We invite you to look into CRM Quality Data™ as a one-of-a-kind CRM add-on service that brings these three solutions to your CRM implementation. We especially welcome the interest of CRM Implementation Consultants and experts, as they might have a special interest in avoiding false assumptions and implementing tools that make their implementations successful in realizing asset value and ROI through strong customer relationships.