The fact is, CRM is a tool and is only ever going to be as good as the data you put into it. Further to that, CRM will only be successful with a strategy around its use that is carefully considered, and consistently implemented. In summary, we want you to finish this article considering a new way of tackling your CRM project – not what technology you want to implement but what problem/s you are trying to solve, what efficiencies you want to achieve and ultimately what your organisations needs to be able to do, that you can’t do now. Once you are able to demonstrate what this, the path to get there is much easier to navigate.

Gartner were so interested in the high rate of failure of CRM projects that they conducted a survey which revealed that 75% of CRM project failures were due to poor business decision-making, not the technology or the implementation.

Essentially, it’s people that make successful projects.

Having people set the strategy around what the CRM is to be used for, how it maps to current business processes or how processes need to evolve to work in a new way are critical to success.  How it is to be used, how people are to be trained in using and maintaining it, what checks and balances will be in place to oversee its reliability and how its success is to be measured are also fundamental points to consider. Without this consideration, Forrester Research estimate that up to 20% of CRM investments are wasted. Given the potential costs of CRM implementation, that could represent a significant diminishment of ROI and internal support of the project.

The ‘Digital Transformation’ buzzword has sparked revolutions in certain organisations that have literally put them on the brink of self-destruction. In others, the process of transformation has been the making of them. So, what’s the key differentiator between success and failure? It’s the people and thinking behind it. It’s a considered approach to all of the touchpoints and the full realisation that it’s not digital that’s transforming, it’s people.

It is vital to gain an understanding of the context within which you are seeking transformation, and to assess what the desirable outcomes of that transformation should be. When focus is placed on ‘efficiencies’ it’s important that we put a narrative around this to ensure those working within the organisation do not feel digital transformation means them being replaced by machines and automated processes! The message needs to be; ‘We’re growing, and we want to empower you to manage the increasing workload by providing digital tools that will enable you to achieve more in your working day than you could without them.’

Any organisation embarking on technology change needs to consider the most appropriate implementation approach to suit the capacity of the people involved. However tempting, don’t try to do everything at once and overstretch your resources past breaking point.