Just over one-quarter of CRM initiatives meet the project deliverables that are defined before implementation begins, usually resulting in a successful CRM effort, according to a study by consulting firm Best Practices LLC. But the rest aren't so fortunate, the study found.
According to the study, for the 70% of CRM initiatives that lag during project implementation, this can be a sign of significant trouble ahead. Jonathan Tanz, director of research for Best Practices, explained: "The real value drivers of successful CRM initiatives start with an awareness and appreciation for the softer organisational issues, and then employing proven best practices to manage both technology and people."
The company's research revealed that most leading companies with successful CRM initiatives have used some very specific strategies and tactics to mitigate the risks of organisational change associated with CRM implementations, such as:
- Focusing on the customer:
While 67% of senior managers acknowledged CRM as being a priority, only 17% took the time to engage with their customers to better understand how a CRM initiative could benefit them.
- Understanding the benefits and limitations:
While CRM initiatives can increase up-selling opportunities (by as much as 50%) and overall customer retention rates (by as much as 33%), they do not often significantly improve closing rates (observed as an increase of only 17%).
- Using training to address organisational lethargy:
An effective tactic to reduce organisational resistance is to create training programmes that inform and influence all stakeholders to integrate CRM metrics into their job functions.
- Making informed decisions when selecting a CRM system:
When selecting a CRM solution, only 40% of organisations reporting incorporating vendor-training capabilities in their decision making process.
Companies profiled in the research include Lands' End, AAA, Merrill Lynch, Aventis, Boeing, Raytheon, Corning, Eli Lilly and JD Edwards. A free white paper that details the study has been made available to download from the Best Practices web site.