How do we avoid CRM failures?
We are systems integrators doing an ERP package implementation in Singapore. We intend to move into customer relationship management implementation as well. However, according to a study based on more than 200 CRM projects, the CRM implementation success rate is only 25%.
Based on your experience, can you explain why CRM implementations fail? How we can avoid the failures experienced by others?
The percentage of CRM project failures quoted in that survey may or may not be accurate. Tom Seibel, for sure, would disagree with that appraisal--or else he'd say that the failures were all purchased from his competitors.
On the other hand, the number reported doesn't surprise me. As I wrote in I Want A CRM System!, when Ron Stagweg, executive vice president of domestic operations, told me we needed a customer relationship management system, I was delighted that he approached the situation in a way that would yield a good solution rather than create more difficulties. Had he not done so, I'm sure that we would have been well on our way to creating a mess.
There are four major reasons, I think, for the high level of dissatisfaction with CRM installations.
What do you think?
I've seen the same type of transformations that you have, both good and bad. If I could more often call them correctly, I would start going to the racetrack. Why not really cash in on that type of gift?
Alas, I cannot predict who will be an excellent manager and who won't be, beyond an educated guess. Certain personality traits and work habits, though, give me a clue.
I look for someone who doesn't hog the credit. If a manager wants to look good at the expense of his troops, I'm fairly certain that he also will pass along the blame quickly. Anyone with that attitude can't be very good at building a team.
A willingness to listen to others is important. No one likes to work for a know-it-all. If someone is willing to listen, I feel fairly certain that she can learn to be a good manager.
The ability to learn is probably the key attribute. The technology that we work with and the business problems we face are changing with frightening rapidity. A good manager has to adapt. Learning isn't just important on the technical side; it's equally necessary when dealing with personnel issues. I don't mind when someone makes a mistake. It's the second and third time that she repeats the error that drives me up the wall.
Give me someone with good skills in these three areas and I'll take a bet that he or she will be a successful manager.
Last year, I was sitting in a conference session when a cell phone went off. The speaker grabbed a fire ax he had stashed behind the podium, yelled, "I'll get it," and made a dash for the offender. The offender shrieked and took off at a run to the exit--not an easy feat in heels and with an overcrowded auditorium. It was close, but the felon made it to the door first.
The presenter looked around and said "Any others?"
Never have I seen so many surreptitious movements, as people tried to turn off their phones and pagers without attracting attention. Needless to say, the next 90 minutes were blissfully free of electronic interruptions.
When a cell phone goes off while I'm talking, I've wanted to react just that way--if I had an ax handy. But it does seem to be a mite of an over-reaction. However, even if the speaker staged the incident with the offender, as I suspect, it was a delightful lesson.
Maybe the same theory of terror-by-example could be used in restaurants and trains. Perhaps the waiter who is trying to serve dinner to someone babbling on the cell phone, who is annoying the rest of us, could say, "Excuse me, Sir," and drop the cell phone in the water glass. No, better, in the expensive wine.
And the conductor on the train could have a special heavy-duty punch that perforates the offending phone. Really important commuters could collect different conductor's punch holes on their now nonfunctioning cell phones to demonstrate that they really are road warriors.
The possibilities are endless.
I need your vision. Can you give answers to four simple questions?
With my personal regards to you,
Outsourcing, especially offshore outsourcing, is very popular today with CIOs. Because of increased cost pressures on U.S. firms as well as the added sophistication of vendors, CIOs are finding that they can entrust more and more work to such organizations. I expect that this trend will continue for a long time.
It used to be true that the big five accounting firms had an edge with CIOs. I wouldn't say that CIOs are all necessarily turned off by the way that these organizations market, but most CIOs today want more than just words about relationships. Even though these firms are separating their management consulting from their audit practices, they will still be on the very high end of the cost curve at a time when CIOs want to save money. In other words, I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about them. If you have a good track record and can deliver, you should be competitive.
Yes, you can get a professional marketing company to help you with your sales campaigns, but first you have to decide what your differentiator is. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Unless you can articulate the answer to that question, your task will be very difficult and a likely waste of your limited capital.
While both professional organizations and magazine advertisements are useful in reaching potential clients for your business, the best source of new business is a good referral. If you have satisfied clients, ask them if they would be willing to talk to their friends about the high-quality and low-cost work you've done for them. Follow up with these potential clients and soon you may be able to start expanding, again.
As I've mentioned, I am planning to put my InformationWeek columns together into a book with a little bit of additional commentary around the events and people about whom I write. If you would like to be notified of such an event, please drop me an E-mail, and I'll build a mailing list to let you know about it. Just use the word BOOK as the subject line.