Getting CRM Right the First Time

Ben Consulting, CRM, Strategy, Training

1» Protip: It’s people, not technology

If you meet with as many business owners or sales executives as I do you will be certain to hear that their current Customer Relationship Management software is not meeting their expectations.


In the beginning there are usually high hopes and lots of conversations about how wonderful, productive and easy to use the new system will be for the sales team. And of course Customer Services and other users of the system.

I sometimes find that organizations have purchased the sizzle and not the steak. I once had a project proposal in from of the Board and their VP of Sales came back from a trade show in Las Vegas with an annual subscription of the latest bright and shiny CRM system he found. Initial expectations were over the moon and yet they are disappointed that they are still in earth orbit. Sometimes that steak turned out to be ground beef with an expiration date of last month — very much like that VP of Sales that purchased a new system with no strategic plan in place.

And of course, sometimes there are no expectations — only trepidation. End users were not involved in any purchase decision; there was no training and no pilot program. The old ‘cram down’ approach has never worked but somehow refuses to die. I know some companies still using DOS based systems. Their requirements and expectations were very low – but not quite as low as their vision of what could happen if they really embraced CRM and started leveraging technology to help their customers be better.

So what do we do?

Let’s take a look at some techniques that have been used in a few of my CRM “rescue and recovery” projects. Some of these may or may not be consistent with the company’s original strategy or culture – and that may have been part of the problem to start with.