Garbage In. Garbage Out. Why CRMs fail!

Why do so many organisations find it difficult to manage and maintain an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) system?

Well, before we go into the details it's important to understand from where this question originated... I was running a workshop the other day, when one of the learners asked how can we effectively measure the value of our pipeline? We've tried every CRM system there is, but nothing seems to work.

After a bit of probing, I found out that 'nothing seems to work' really means that their sales people do not keep their system up-to-date.

Well, they are not alone... In fact many organisations face the exact same problem. The important question is, why?

Why aren't CRMs kept up-to-date?

  1. Not user friendly: Many CRM are not user friendly or intuitive. The overlapping of account and contact information is a common cause of this.
  2. Limited Viewing Options: many CRMs give you limited choices on how you want to view or manage the sales data.
  3. Lazy Sales People: Many sales people are lazy, and can't be bothered entering the data or don't want others to see their limited activity.
  4. Protective Sales People: Many sales people are protective of their sales data and don't want others to know what potentials they have. 
  5. Lack of Policies: Many Organisations invest in CRMs without having the right policies in place regarding their use.

Whilst I am sure there are other reasons why CRMs fail, these are the most common ones... The big question is what can we do about it?

How to keep CRMs up-to-date?

  1. Ensure whichever CRM system you choose is very easy to use and intuitive. Get the entire sales team involved in its selection, and get them to take responsibility for its customisation.
  2. Make keeping the CRM up-to-date a KPI for the sales team, and gave clear guidelines on how the system should be used and how data should be entered.
  3. Implement a group sales target and ensure that the entire sales team can see how each member of the team is performing.
  4. Implement regular sales meetings where team members have to present sales reports from the system.
  5. Make the CRM calendar the default for your entire sales and marketing team.
  6. conduct regular data cleansing exercises.

Garbage in. Garbage out. This is what you can expect if you don't effectively manage the use of your CRM.