The Love-Hate Relationship of CRM

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software companies are in the business of selling software. How often do you hear a seller (of any product) advise the buyer, “Odds are pretty high that this purchase will fail to meet your expectations …”? The truth is, if your business has never made a CRM endeavor before, chances are it may not be an immediate success the first time you try to implement it. Sometimes it’s too much change, too fast.

Just like love interests in our personal lives, recovering from a break-up inspires us to learn from the experiences and try again. Our first serious boyfriend/girlfriend does not become our life partner in most cases! We learn, grow, and by the second or third time— we start to get it right. Romantic relationships start on a high note of excitement and hope for the future, just like CRM startups.

Companies seek CRM solutions for many various reasons, such as:

  • They want to know who their best clients/vendors/customers/employees are
    They need to know which clients/vendors/customers/employees are ones at risk of loss (and more importantly – WHY)
  • They want to spend less time in staff meetings getting everyone up to speed
  • Automation of repetitive business processes and to boost efficiency

And the list goes on…

These are valid and important reasons. However, the unrealistic expectation that the CRM system will bring an “immediate fix” to these issues is all too common. Like developing close personal relationships, CRM initiatives take time and effort.

When people get married, or move in together (even in a friendship situation) things change immediately because they are now sharing their personal “space”. Sharing a home with others requires ground rules. The same applies with a CRM system – users are no longer relying on their own personal email inbox to manage day-to-day business. Rather than “staying in their own room,” users are catapulted into the multi-dimensional largeness of a total Business Relationship Management system.

Companies often underestimate how overwhelming that can sometimes be for their employees. It’s very likely that there will be obstacles to overcome.

When personal relationships result in a break-up, we need to understand what happened and how our choices affected the relationship in order move on. It is usually not all one person’s fault. On that same note, when a CRM system implementation fails, it’s probably not the software’s fault! So don’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater. Brush off your trousers, get up and start again, and give the “bigness” of CRM a bit of respect.

Even if it does not succeed at first, you will have learned something that can be taken forward to the next try.