How To Succeed With CRM: The Critical Success Factors

To succeed in the Age of the Customer, business and IT leaders that that support “front-office” business processes cannot afford failed technology initiatives. CRM technology projects can be costly, affect many employees within the organization, and can suffer from a lack of vendor support.  

To understand the types and prevalence of the pitfalls that you need to navigate, I recently did a survey of CRM practioners. Working in partnership with CustomerThink, Forrester collected opinions from over 500 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, or IT within the last 36 months. Respondents evaluated 88 project risk factors, in four categories: strategy (business goals and objectives); process (procedures and business rules); technology (applications and infrastructure); and, people (organizational structure, skills and incentives).

I will report our findings in more detail in up-coming blogs, but here are some initial insights.  

To achieve CRM technology deployment success requires a balanced approach. Focus on all four fundamental success factors:

■    Process. Nearly half (44%) agreed their CRM projects faced problems grounded in: poor or insufficient definition of business requirements; inadequate business process designs; and, the need to customize solutions to fit unique organizational requirements.

■    People. More than two-fifths (42%) agreed that their problems were "people" issues: such as slow user adoption; inadequate attention paid to change management and training; and, difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working.

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