Last week, I was talking with a colleague and he was telling me about yet another bungled CRM implementation a client of his was dealing with. I have to admit I laughed a bit as he shared the story.
I’ve been using CRM in one form or another since the early 1990s (ACT! for DOS for those who are wondering). I started using Salesforce.com in the early 2000s. I’ve personally used more than a dozen CRMs in my time, and that number easily goes above 20 if you count the companies that I’ve advised.
I’ve been on the front-line of Salesforce automation for far, far longer than I care to think about, and the one thing that has remained constant has been the results:
- 20-30% are outright, complete failures. More IT heads have probably lost jobs because of CRM implementation failures than anything else.
- 50% stumble along, creating more confusion and friction than existed before a change was made. The investments made to increase productivity and acceleration, do the opposite, but they don’t quite “fail”.
- 10-20% provide a moderate level of success. They don’t meet the expectations, but they do provide greater capabilities and incremental improvement.
- 10% are truly successful.
A couple of years ago, CEB found that the average company was spending nearly $5,000/rep/year more on technology, and conversion rates have dropped by 12%. When I saw the study, I was actually surprised the numbers weren’t worse.