In the practical use of CRM solutions, weaknesses often appear in the requirements and process analyses. In a survey by the Hamburg consulting firm novem business applications, the majority of over 300 sales managers conceded that, in their opinion, mistakes had already been made during the project planning.
Two thirds of the CRM users state in the study that the projects were characterized by a “very high” degree of difficulty. Only a third of the companies experienced the introduction of the customer management solution as relatively unproblematic or even spoke of comparatively simple project conditions. “CRM projects often lack the necessary precision when it comes to alignment,” summarizes novem Managing Director Anastasios Christodoulou.
No navigation system, no matter how modern and functional, can lead to a specific destination if it is not clear where you want to go, Christodoulou makes the problem clear. The survey results confirmed this. Afterwards, every second user notes in retrospect that inadequate requirements and process analyzes were among the biggest mistakes in the project approach. In addition, the projects were started without providing the necessary technical skills and resources. Another typical weakness of the CRM measures was that the majority of the companies found insufficient analytical functions after the solution had been implemented.
“Modern and effective customer management can no longer do without comprehensive analysis functions with access to all relevant information sources in the company,” judges Christodoulou. “Such a CRM uses data analysis applications to determine the needs, behavior and value of customers, and the future development of customer relationships is also forecast. These analyzes are based on customer and business data generated with the help of operative systems.” Conversely, a restriction to operative CRM functions also impairs user acceptance.
It is also understandable that the CRM solutions often do not trigger a storm of jubilation among the employees. Only in every fifth case, according to the information provided by the companies surveyed, are they predominantly enthusiastic, with a further 34 percent speaking at least of a tendentially positive assessment. All other users only have mediocre acceptance (29 percent) or even low approval (18 percent).
The actual degree of use of the CRM solutions in practice also fits this picture. According to the novem survey, employees only access their CRM systems intensively in every third company. 39 percent have a mediocre frequency of use, but 29 percent of the sales managers surveyed assessed the interest in the sales team as insufficient.
“These results demonstrate how conceptual deficits in project planning have a negative impact on user behavior and how CRM investments can appear problematic in retrospect,” Christodoulou describes the connections. If you start with conceptual errors, the necessary corrections would inevitably generate a considerable amount of additional work. “Frequently, such weaknesses can no longer be completely repaired afterwards,” the consultant knows from his consulting practice.