5 Reasons Your CRM Is Failing (and What You Can Do About It)

Here's something you probably already knew: Most customer relationship management (CRM) implementations fail, and by most, I mean up to 75 percent. The benefits of CRM, including enhanced productivity and improved customer satisfaction, have been proven, so why does it fall short of expectations as much as three-quarters of the time?

According to Linda Hershey, president and managing partner of LGH Consulting, "All of the reasons for failure can be summed up into one resulting cause: the belief that you can buy a customer relationship management solution." Expecting CRM technology to fix all of your customer relationship problems is putting too many demands on one piece of software. CRM software can be a powerful part of a solution, but it is only part of the solution. Developing and cultivating customer relationships requires a supportive business culture and environment, which means more than just buying a new technology application. It often means organizational change.

Here are five main high-level reasons your CRM is failing, and what you can do about it.

Lack of organization-wide buy-in

If you aren't seeing the results you would like from your CRM implementation, it might be because people aren't using it. In its infancy, CRM was primarily focused on automating the sales process, but today, successful CRM is seen as an organization-wide endeavor. As Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, puts it: "Instead of sales force automation, CRM should live up to its name and start helping every single person who interacts with customers do a better job of serving them." Sales, marketing, customer service, even executives—it requires buy-in and participation from everyone in your company to successfully implement a CRM strategy. If even one key member or department decides not to participate, there is the potential for failure.

A low level of adoption is frequently a problem for CRM strategies, often resulting from a lack of understanding about why it is important for employees outside of the sales team. The best way to solve this problem is through an aggressive educational PR campaign.

Failure to plan and set objectives

It's astonishing how many businesses embark on CRM implementations without adequately planning for them. They think that just 

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