CRM Traps and Pitfalls to Avoid

CRM Traps and Pitfalls to Avoid

By: Jim Gitney   |     January 25, 2020

Since the inception of Sales Force in 1999, CRM has gained incredible popularity in just about every business.  Recent research indicates that over 90% of companies with over 11 employees use some kind of CRM. It is now used to document any customer related information you can think of and is part of a company’s Market Effectiveness.  The great news is that companies are very focused on their customers and communications with them CRM is used for customer data, contact management, forecasting sales, reporting opportunities, campaign management. In today’s OMNI channel world, CRM is a requirement for effective customer service and care. As CRM technology becomes more sophisticated there will be much more.  What a great opportunity?  Right? Not so fast!

Over the last few years, we have worked with more than a dozen companies who got bit by the CRM bug. They have implemented Sales Force, ZOHO, HubSpot, Mailchimp, NetSuite and others.  In every case, they rushed implementation without thinking through the software architecture and business process changes required to properly integrate CRM into their infrastructure.  They ended up with a hodgepodge of bad information that defied good analytics and, in some cases, nearly impossible analysis.  Some examples we have come across include but aren’t limited to required information such as:

  • Wrong ship to addresses
  • Opportunity => Quote => Order conversion
  • Lack of order entry integrity
  • Wrong billing addresses
  • Incorrect Terms and Conditions for payments
  • Incorrect credit terms
  • Unrealistic delivery dates
  • Undefined and incorrect lead times
  • Commitments without understanding material availability
  • Inability to properly manage sales and discount programs
  • Wrong contact person(s)
  • And many more……….

CRM systems are typically championed by Sales and Marketing and implemented as a pilot for the purposes of finding out what CRM could do for their functions.  Then it gets away from them because they didn’t sit down and take the time to answer some very basic questions:

  1. How will it be used?
  2. What data do we want to keep in CRM?
  3. What systems are primary masters for specific information?
  4. How will data be refreshed across all systems?
  5. What item will tie all the information from disparate systems together?
  6. What metrics do we want to track in CRM?
  7. How do we assure data integrity?

Not thinking through these questions causes the problems identified earlier in this article. In some cases, it reduced Market Effectiveness by making customer relationships worse rather than better and it stresses the relationships between internal functions. Salespeople don’t like the extra work a CRM system requires.  Finance people hate having to deal with the billing, terms and program errors, frustration abounds from the lack of good analysis, etc. etc. Our clients have spent thousands of hours cleaning up the mess from a poorly implemented CRM system and many more hours trying to do analysis, typically through shadow systems (spreadsheet downloads and other bypass processes). A mess they could have avoided.

Data integrity is what it is all about when implementing a successful CRM program.

  1. Data used to set-up the system
  2. Information entered in the system
  3. Maintenance data

CRM isn’t any different from the other major investments companies make in information technology and it needs to be carefully thought through.

  1. Strategy
  2. System architecture
  3. Data flows
  4. Redesigned business processes

All of these are required to insure that a company’s CRM investment yields the appropriate ROI and delivers a better customer experience and increased sales and marketing performance.

Group50 has worked with many companies cleaning the mess up and helping them plan for their CRM future.  Feel free to give us a call to discuss at (909) 949-9083, request more information here, or drop us a line at


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This entry was posted in Business Transformation, Information Technology, Market Effectiveness, on January 25, 2020

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