Why most CRM implementations fail.

Almost a year ago, the Harvard Business Review reported that in 2017 CIO Magazine reported that a third of all CRM projects fail, which was actually an average of 12 reports with the highest failure rate being 69%. HBR – Why most CRM implementations fail

In our experience, these figures are quite accurate. From speaking to initial customers whilst developing our own implementation methodology for LateralCRM and also whilst implementing CRM solutions in our previous lives as Software Consultants, failure is more the norm than the exception. Why is this, and what can we do about it?

The HBR article suggests the issue lies with data quality, information silos and divergent goals of different layers of management. This can certainly be true.

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A quick google search will show hundreds of articles with reasoning as to why most CRM implementations fail and how to address them. A shortlist follows.

  • Lack of Strategy
  • Lack of attention to process
  • Focusing on technology and not people
  • Lack of Adoption
  • Data Quality
  • CRM is used for inspection and not revenue increase.

‘All failures can be boiled down to one underlying cause, Failure to reach First Value from the software.’

Suffice it to say, there’s a long list of reasons and whilst perfectly valid for a CRM project failing and indeed are ones we have come across, they don’t adequately distil the issue down into a singular underlying cause.

In our experience, the single underlying cause of all CRM projects failing is lack of universal first value being reached across the entire user base.


Customer Success Journey


If we look at a typical Customer Journey when launching new software, First Value is the second stage a customer should reach, and it is important to drive users to reach this as soon as possible.

If a customer languishes in the onboarding stage and First Value is never recognised, it’s an uphill struggle to drive a successful CRM strategy across all areas of a business. If we take all the reasons listed above, they can all be distilled down into the failure to reach First Value.

With this in mind, how can we ensure the first value is reached early on, and thus help Customers on their way to a successful CRM journey.

It’s important to have clear, easily measured Project Success Criteria defined at the start at the offset and to constantly refer to these as the implementation progresses. Most businesses find this hard to actually define and dismiss it as a ‘fluffy’ part of the project, but in our years of experience, we have found this imperative to driving a successful CRM project, and ensuring all users reach first value quickly.

Get in touch to see how our implementation methodology for LateralCRM can help you achieve First Value from CRM quickly.

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