There can be many reasons why CRM initiatives fail but here we’re going to focus specifically on six of them pertaining to small businesses and startups. Brian Halligan has been implementing and using CRM systems for his whole career and has some good points.
"Most small businesses I deal with have either tried and failed on a CRM
implementation or are getting marginal value from what they consider a
sunk cost in software and human brain-damage from their implementation."
Here are short summaries of the six reasons why CRM initiatives fail:
- Counting v. Creating Customers – The current crop of CRM systems are very useful for large companies
with thousands of customers that want to "count" them in interesting
ways. If you are like most small businesses, you probably only have
tens or hundreds of customers — your main problem is finding new
customers and efficiently growing existing customers, not counting
customers in interesting ways.
- Measuring the Wrong Thing – CRM measures the activities of prospects after they have
"self-selected" in some way by calling the your office or filling in
your form somewhere.
- Stuctured v. Unstructured Data – CRM systems are essentially databases with customer oriented forms
built on top. They are very good at capturing and organizing structured
information, but are horrific at capturing and organizing unstructured
- Ease-of-Use – Most CRM vendors say their product is "easy-to-use." The reality is it
is easy to use if you have dedicated "operations" people or a dedicated
CRM IT person to figure out how to do the hard/useful stuff.
- "Feeding the Monster" – Like many knowledge management initiatives, CRM requires end-users to
take actions that are not part of their natural work process in order
to "update" the system. After all, CRM output is only as good as the
input — "garbage in, garbage out."
- Transactional Systems v. Solution/Relationship Systems – Today’s CRM is more useful for transactional (i.e. call center) types
of companies than it is for small businesses who have client
relationships that are more solution oriented in nature.
Author: Brian Halligan was inspired to start HubSpot
because his current toolset of helping small businesses take advantage of the transformative
effects of the internet to grow their business was poor.