6 Small Business CRM Worst Practices
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is lauded in the marketplace as the next best thing in sales and marketing intelligence solutions. Nonetheless, just as best practices are methods or techniques that have proven superior, worst practices are methods or techniques that have proven substandard among available CRM practices.
The enlightened view is that the CRM software, in and of itself, is typically not the culprit when poor results are returned. The CRM software consists of sundry components, features, and functions, but the software is only one element of the CRM solution.
The CRM Solution
The business process is the human interaction of production operations. Orchestration is the IT automations and processes. Together, production operations optimize profitability. The tasks for implementing the CRM solution are, therefore, to use CRM software in orchestrating routine, IT systems–based procedures and predefine business process workflows to streamline the human interaction required to supplement the orchestrated routines.
The Worst Practices List
Undesired results typically occur with the implementation of one or more of the following five CRM worst practices:
- Lack of Staff Preparation. The staff do not understand their roles and responsibilities as they pertain to the new CRM infrastructure production processes.
- Organizational Fit Considerations. The organization’s culture provides no change management assistance for adapting to operations under the new CRM customer focus.
- Poor Communications. An overall ineffectiveness occurs because of the inconsistency and inappropriateness of communications; selected communication channels are not appropriate to the level and type of communication required; and customer data do not accurately represent the customer, the customer data are not up to date, or the customer data are incomplete.
- Too Much Focus on the Software and Not Enough Focus on the Customer. Sales and marketing campaigns are not implemented to sustain customer interest, and additional CRM features are in place but are not being used in a timely or efficient manner.
- Ineffective Leadership. Directing the processes of operations using the new CRM environment was not well explained, and management is generally unsupportive of the transition to new CRM operations.
Things Always to Do
Poor CRM practices repel buyers. Consumers perceive the communication element of business as an indication of the quality of products and services they will receive following a purchase. Business personnel need to know how to use the customer information from the CRM solution. Leaders must enforce change management to ensure continuity of operations. The level of risks differs among businesses and should be managed as a normal function during project implementation.
Moreover, planning for CRM implementations should always allow for regulatory change. Such change is to be expected in the business environment and can require numerous improvements and enhancements to existing operations. The added complexity requires proper planning, which goes beyond the CRM solution and into the area of system integration and reengineering.
A certain amount of flexibility is required when planning and implementing CRM solutions. The customizations lend themselves to the uniqueness of the organization and should be used effectively to strive for best-practice solutions.
- Be sure to check out karmaCRM’s 2011 Best & Worst Social Media Practices for more information about CRM worst practices.
- Check out the Application Solution Providers’ coverage of CRM practices at Worst Practices: 3 Ways Businesses Fail at Social CRM.
- Read Worst Practice Customer Relationship Management in a Car Park for an empirical discussion on related CRM worst practices.
- An interesting read on CRM projects is Why CRM Projects Fail by Ventes Marketing.