They start thinking about what type of customer relationship management software package they should buy or build before they start planning on what they want CRM to do for the company, according to experts who spoke during a panel discussion Thursday during the Ziff Davis Internet SMB Virtual Tradeshow.
In reality, "80 percent of success in your CRM initiative is related to people and process. And 20 percent is about technology," said Barton Goldenberg, founder and president of ISM, a CRM technology and services company based in Bethesda, Md.
Some companies already have elaborate business processes in place to serve customers, he noted. But too often top management teams dont actually get into "the belly of the beast" of their business operations to see whether customers are being properly served by these business processes, he noted.
Companies have to fix their business processes, Goldenberg said, before they decide how they will implement CRM to automate them.
Furthermore, too many companies fail to prepare the way to enable the people to understand what CRM is supposed to do for the organization so they will work with it successfully, Goldenberg said.
Convincing people that CRM will deliver benefits to the organization represents half the effort required to make a CRM implementation a success, he said.
"If you try to force the technology into your organization, you will fail in a CRM initiative," he said.
"If you put into place the right processes and get people to buy into these process changes or process improvements and then use the technology, youve got a better chance of succeeding," he said.
Employees have to be convinced that CRM is actually going to achieve business benefits for them personally, such as "I could sell better. I could market more effectively. I could serve customers more quickly or more effectively," said Goldenberg.
You will know that your employees have accepted CRM, he said, when you discover that if you tried to "take away their PCs and they wont give [them] back to you because they tell you, Listen, thats got my CRM system on it, and Im not letting it go."