Why do CRM systems “miss the mark?”

According to Gartner, the worldwide CRM market grew by 12.6% in 2020. Yet as long ago as 2017, Harvard Business Review reported that around one-third of new customer relationship management projects fail. Such failures can happen for a variety of reasons: budget, data integrity, technology limitations, or more. What’s more, when clients were asked if their CRM helps their organisation grow, they overwhelmingly reported “no.” 

  The error lies in how they are used. If CRM systems are used for inspection – progress reports, improving forecast accuracy, improving visibility, project delivery predictions, business intelligence, etc. – rather than directly improving the sales process, then they are not doing their job. 

 So how do you ensure CRM implementation delivers value to your business? Here are our dos and don’ts to ensure its success at your organisation. 

 DON’T: Think about your CRM as an all-in-one service. 

If your CRM is intended to serve a lot of different masters, from executives in the C-suite, through technology specialists, marketing teams and financial departments, to sales teams, then it is too diluted. With so many different goals, it will be nearly impossible for the CRM system to adequately meet all of them. 

 In order for your CRM to successfully increase revenue, it has to enable your sales team to increase sales. And that’s it.  

 DO: Re-think your CRM as a tool to increase revenue. Full stop.  

It doesn’t make sense to invest in a CRM system just to have cutting-edge technology or to fulfil administrative reporting requirements. CRM systems must empower your team to sell more, access support resources during sales cycles, and manage their territory.  

 Managers must be sure they are guiding their team to use CRM as a tool to create strategies for major opportunities jointly, coaching sales teams throughout the sales process in order to maximise opportunities. 

 DON’T: Use your CRM only to analyse sales data. 

If your sales team uses CRM solely to check on the amount of activity, call volume, or other measures of efficiency, it’s of low value to the organisation. It may even be filled with fictional or irrelevant data. 

 Managers who want to improve their team’s performance cannot focus solely on this reporting. The utility of your CRM will not depend on individual sales people or individual departments. It depends on managers correctly directing how CRM ought to be used.  

 In order to lead teams toward success, these managers must make sure that the objectives of CRM systems are clearly communicated across all involved departments. 


DO: Integrate your marketing efforts with sales activity. 

There’s no room for individualism and competition when it comes to CRM.  

 Successful CRM transformation should result in a single system that the whole organisation needs to get behind. All team members need to know the product they are selling deeply and understand how the CRM serves the end goal: selling that product. 

 As sales cycles develop, both marketing and sales teams should share their understanding of what a qualified ideal customer profile, lead, and buyer looks like. They must collaborate to develop the most relevant materials for each stage.  

 Finally, making a combined effort to analyse wins and losses will lead to better understanding of prospects for the marketing department, and increased ability to accelerate sales for the sales department. 

 Additionally, if possible, we recommend making the metrics that measure both teams the same. That way everyone will be working with the same tools – a single CRM system – toward the same goals. This alignment is critical for overall success. 

Are you ready to implement CRM successfully? 

CRM is an important tool, but in the end, it is still just a tool.  

 In the end, your sales team is responsible for bringing value to clients and driving revenue, and they need the right tools – and the right instructions – to do it. If you implement your CRM with that in mind, you’ll be pleased with your ROI. 

 At redk, we have over 15 years’ experience in CRM implementation, providing the expertise and digital capabilities to implement the tech systems that will work for your business. Talk to us to find out more about our services and the impact we could have on your organisation.