Engagement key for CRM projects.

I’ve just read an article by Jason Gibbs about why CRM projects fail and there are some scary stats in there, not least that 63% of CRM implementations in large organisations fail because the sales team don’t use the new system.

Having worked with many businesses, ranging in size from 100 staff up to 10,000, helping them introduce a new CRM platform, the most important aspect of the project is the engagement process. Many people call it change management and yes, it is about changing the way we do things, but it is also about engagement and is often the element of the project that is deemed non-essential.

More than often not, projects like this fail at the outset, typically a project team with a senior sponsor, will decide on a route forward and begin the project in the background, only engaging the team once the system is in place. During this time there is often little or no communication meaning that when then system is implemented, many of the team will not understand the benefits it brings and how to achieve these.

One point Jason picks up on in his piece is that CRM’s can be seen as a tool of “Big Brother” and yes, many people do think that, but these tend to be the ones that are not confident in their ability and are defensive about change. The answer is relatively straight forward, engage with the team at the outset when it is still a concept and get their buy in to the project, why it is happening and what the results can be. If they are then involved throughout the development, they will understand what is happening and why and will be less likely to be defensive and resistant to the change.

I am always learning how different people manage this process and where they see the key issues being so let me know.