Forty-four percent increased forecasting accuracy! Thirty-two percent increased sales productivity! Twenty-nine percent increased win rate! “Sounds fantastic. When can we start?” Oft said and promised before implementation, how do those original CRM promises hold up? For most sales organizations, not well. But for some companies, these numbers are real. Certain companies are achieving these results. Why?
CRM can provide the uplift promised – at the Alexander Group we’ve seen this with many of our clients, however, to do so requires a comprehensive approach. Research indicates that most organizations over-emphasize the technical solution and the sales process (the core), and underemphasize or ignore critical ties to sales strategy (front end) and sales management (back end). More specifically, initial CRM launches (or re-launches) usually focus on basic sales process design or confirmation, tailoring the interface, ensuring usability, and enabling mobile usage (i.e, buying iPads for every rep).
Here are a few key questions that must be addressed in order to realize true gains:
Properly addressing all of the above questions ensures that your CRM program is relevant. Too often the quest to make CRM usable results in a loss of relevancy. Rather than realizing the desired ROI, many organizations have simply moved CRM from an ROI-based investment to a cost center. “55% to 75% of companies fail to meet the expected return on their CRM investments… (they) rush too quickly into large-scale, IT-based CRM investments” states Stan Maklan in Why CRM fails – and how to fix it (MIT Sloan Management Review).
How effective is your CRM program? Is it relevant to all the key stakeholders in sales, sales operations, sales leadership, marketing and finance? Or is it due for some critical updates, an overhaul, or a complete re-launch? Don’t let the promises of CRM turn up empty for your organization. Take a comprehensive approach and ensure the right strategic alignment and the right management practices are put in place. Doing so will increase adoption rates, provide more robust reporting and forecasting, and improve sales results.
To learn more about effective CRM practices, please contact the Alexander Group.
Co-written by Tom Murtaugh