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CRM

CRM

It is a challenging undertaking to put into place and make operational an advanced CRM capability. Many organizations, however, consistently shoot themselves in the foot by engaging in activities that are either a waste of time or in other ways destructive to the CRM effort. Like any major organizational change, companies experience generic problems that inhibit the effort. Not surprisingly, these issues also arise in the CRM space. Some of the major organizational obstacles to CRM usually involve, this is what I experienced over the years;

  • Playing politics. Different departments fritter away time and effort trying to figure out first of all how any changes will effect their careers and what they are responsible for. Departments argue over who has “power” to make various decisions, and what possible new reporting structures will be established. In many cases, playing politics is so paralyzing that the effort never gets underway at all, or fails before it even is started.
  • Lack of coordination. Particularly endemic to sales, any proposed change in how touch points are changed with customers usually produces an uproar with predictions of dire consequences for any change. Marketing teams that have grown accustomed to running their own shops, usually organized around product lines, interminably drag their feet, paying only lip service to any effort to introduce CRM and make required changes. Any of these efforts can usually kill and always greatly harm any effort at improvement.
  • Failed budget responsibility. Arguments routinely break out over who is going to pay for what, with “need to show ROI results” being used as a key weapon to thwart change. As pointed out earlier, CRM involves a very large effort, and the installation of technologies that support and inter-operate with many corporation functions, with customers, and with business partners. Who pays for what is a major decision that must be made. Companies fail to think this through, then diminish the entire effort in petty squabbles over budgets.
  • Bureaucratic entrenchment. The hard fact is that in some cases people must be removed in order to have any corporate change. Putting in CRM means giving much leadership to a new generation of Internet savvy people whom embody a different corporate culture. Many efforts fail as top-heavy and sluggish management continues to attempt to “manage” the effort. When things go poorly, key personnel leave the company, leading to a hollowing-out of talent.
  • Ignoring stakeholders. Another common mistake is for the CRM team, usually operating within IT, to move quickly into new technology without getting consensus from the major stakeholders, such as sales and marketing. This leads to the appearance of rapid progress initially, only to bog down into chaos when it comes times to make things operational. A sure sign of this is a CRM team in place that has gone for about one year but now is facing “budget problems” (e.g., no one wants to give them any more funding because no one has any idea what they are doing or why).
  • Inflexible labor. In some cases, changes in operations require so much consultation with labor that the process lapses into paralysis. Each little detail must be negotiated, with scrupulous provisions for retraining, generous payment for education, pledges of more co-management, and so on. The negotiations can take longer than the technology implementation itself, and can then lock the organization into yet another bureaucratic concrete jungle as the new procedures need to be changed again.
  • Cart before horse syndrome. A large number of companies become obsessed with which package to buy – SeibeL, Salesforce, etc. – without doing homework on all of the other aspects involved. This leads to severe problems later on as the organizational issues that failed to be accounted for pop up and sabotage the program.
Shaun
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