Benchmarking Success

Of the 600 respondents to the just-released study "The Blueprint for CRM Success," nearly 450 reported at least a partial return on investment. The study, authored by Dick Lee of Caribou Lake Customer-1, David Mangen of Mangen Research Associates, and Bob Thompson of CRMGuru.com, examines critical components of a successful CRM strategy.

According to its findings, there are four primary predictors of CRM success. The leading predictor is the presence of customer-centric strategies in the solutions implemented, which, coauthor Thompson described as a "blinding flash of the obvious." Line-level training and support and making organizational changes tie for second place, while setting measurable goals is the fourth primary predictor of success. "No other factors--including software selection methodology and actual vendor selection--are statistically significant predictors of positive outcomes," the report states.

"The findings are not only a implementation compass for companies," Dick Lee commented in a released statement, "but an ethical compass for vendors and consultants in the habit of pushing companies without a customer-centric bone in their bodes to 'hurry up and do CRM.'"

The study reports that 45 percent of CRM implementations are "achieving probable ROI. With only 35 percent of implementations rated very unlikely to achieve ROI, approximately 20 percent are at least 'possibles,' with some percentage within that number actually producing positive return."

In the study the authors draw conclusions based on their findings, including what not to do when implementing a CRM solution: don't try to scale down CRM to a tactical level; don't try to avoid organizational change; don't let consultants and vendors limit the scope of your implementation; and don't mandate changes in workflow without involving those affected by those changes.

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