Companies Want to Fix CRM Mistakes in 2008

Ann All

Back in January, I blogged about healthy outlooks for CRM growth in 2008 from two research firms, Datamonitor and KensingtonHouse.


Now there's a third such forecast, from CSO Insights. Writing on, CSO Insights partner Jim Dickie reports that 70 percent of the companies it surveyed for its annual Sales Performance Optimization study have installed a core CRM system. Of the 30 percent of companies that do not have such a system, 43 percent intend to implement one this year.


Like Datamonitor and KensingtonHouse, Dickie acknowledges that software-as-a-service is driving much of the interest in CRM, by making it "financially and technically attractive for a growing number of firms, especially small and midsize businesses."


Many of the companies with a core CRM system plan to add additional functionality in 2008, says Dickie. Sales force collaboration, mentioned by 57 percent of respondents, leads the list, followed by lead generation management (36 percent), sales analytics/forecasting (30 percent), sales knowledge management (26 percent), CRM/sales process integration (24 percent) and incentive management (18 percent).


Thirteen percent of the companies with existing CRM systems plan to swap them out for new solutions this year. Nearly one in five of the companies with systems that are at least three years old have plans to replace them. Dickie offers another statistic to help explain this trend. "Increasing revenues" is the number-one objective for CRM systems in 2008. Yet when CSO Insights asked companies to name the top three benefits they had gained through their CRM systems, increased revenues came in seventh. Writes Dickie:

... some organizations are opting for the newer generation of CRM solutions in hopes of achieving the real objectives they turned to CRM for in the first place.

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Apr 10, 2008 9:59 AM Dave Stein Dave Stein  says:
Although "increased revenues" was always on the list of implicit, if not explicit, benefits of CRM as marketed by many vendors, it certainly didn't turn out that way for many companies, as CSO Insights reports.There are a few reasons for that:1. Forty-one percent of respondents to a survey conducted by ESR said that their companies did not use any sales methodology at all or, alternatively, employed a style of selling rather than an institutionalized set of processes (generic "consultative selling" or "solution selling" are examples). We found that many companies that installed CRM were doing little more than automating the chaos that existed in their sales organizations. The mistake was in sales leaders looking at CRM as a panacea to cure all sales ills. Bottom line: You've got to have a sales methodology in place to get the most out of CRM.2. CRM was designed for, marketed to and bought by customer service, marketing and sales executives. When a sales rep would ask, after being hammered about not keeping his deals up to date in the CRM system, "What's in it for me?" the honest answer should be "little to nothing." There are CRM and other Sales 2.0 applications available today that actually help the sales person win deals. By the way, those apps also provide management with what they need. But as long as CRM remains management-centric as opposed to salesrep-centric, significant sales performance improvement will continue to be wishful thinking. Reply
Apr 16, 2008 10:49 AM Simon Stapleton Simon Stapleton  says:
Dave Stein's comment hit the nail on the head about Sales adoption of CRM to drive a process. In my experience it's rare for a sales team to be so institutionalised, I guess as it is perceived to take away the 'black-art' of sales and could reduce bonus potential. The other problem is that many sales people see clients as their personal assets, which they take from company to company, rather than under the ownership of the present employer.Whether these have foundation or not, I think the future of CRM in Sales must address the need for adaptable processes that are tuned to the needs of the individual sales person, or team. The growth, and therefore integration of flexible BPM technologies could be the way forward. Adoption should start 'light-touch' and progress as the sales team understands the potential of these tools and so feels less threatened by their existence. Reply

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