I often see organizations install a CRM system and expect it to have the same self-maintenance attributes as their other installed software, such as an accounting system. While an accounting system comes designed with industry and government established principles, a CRM does not come this way.
For example, an accounting system requires a balance sheet. Each entry builds up to the balance sheet, requiring a debit side and credit side for it to be posted. A CRM system doesn’t come with these types of pre-configured relationships established. Users who approach CRM as just another technology project often fail.
A CRM system is essentially a blank slate, requiring the user to know their own processes rather than follow pre-configured standards. Users must first be able to define their terminology.
I recently visited an organization where every potential customer (20,000+) was called a lead. Everyone in the organization, sales groups, and marketing teams, were using different terms for the segmentation, handling and qualifying leads through their own process.
The lack of common terms, without defined and organization-wide accepted meaning, made it impossible for marketing to be supportive of sales, or sales to share any meaningful progress toward closing a sale. The concept of segmenting leads into suspects, prospects, or qualified was unheard of. As a result, the organization was treating every lead the same, spending considerable resources both in shotgun marketing campaigns and sales efforts, with little to show.
A CRM system will not fix these types of issues as it comes out of the box. A user must know their marketing, sales and services processes and then configure CRM to match. If a user can’t flowchart these processes on paper then you can only expect CRM to tell you a lot quicker that you have no processes or best practices.