Magazine article CRM Magazine

Your People Are Half the Battle: You Have a Simple Choice: Prepare Your Personnel, or Prepare for Failure

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Your People Are Half the Battle: You Have a Simple Choice: Prepare Your Personnel, or Prepare for Failure

Article excerpt

FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS, I've suggested this mix for a successful CRM initiative: people (50 percent), process (30 percent), and technology (20 percent)--and still organizations often fail to devote the time and resources needed to address the inevitable people issues that come up. This shortcoming can lead to a less-than-optimal (or even failed) CRM implementation.

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Every company needs to perform a regular CRM assessment. Think of it as your annual corporate physical. (See "Assessing Your CRM Situation," Reality Check, January 2010, for a look at these assessments.) In each of the last three CRM assessments we conducted, the "people" component was the core reason that a CRM initiative was performing below expectations.

One assessment was with a global venture-capital firm. In addition to a faulty software implementation, the firm had lost its executive sponsor and failed to properly train its CRM user base. The result: User-adoption rates had peaked at around 30 percent.

Our next CRM assessment--at a pharmaceutical manufacturer--also involved a lost executive sponsor and improper training of CRM users. In this case, however, a less-than-optimal service process for customer incident management led to strong customer service rep resistance that threatened to kill the CRM initiative.

In our most recent CRM assessment--regarding the utilization of sales pipeline management within a Fortune 50 global services company--managers "talked the talk" but were not committed to using pipeline management reports generated from their CRM application to properly coach subordinates. As one sales rep said to me, "What interests my boss fascinates me, but if my boss isn't interested I'm not going to bother documenting my sales leads." The impact: User adoption at this company continues to remain well below where it should be.

In all three initiatives, the "people" issue negatively impacted success. You can address these issues before they become problems with the following six tips:

Secure your executive sponsor. This individual should be as high up in the organization as possible: the chief executive officer or managing director (or one of their direct reports). …

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