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People factors for success with CRM

42% in survey state that their problems with CRM were the result of “people” issues

As a reader of this Business Success with CRM blog, you know we have stated many times the importance of people component to the success of a CRM initiative.  CRM is much more than just technology your IT department will implement. Let's face it, organizations whether for-profit or non-profit oriented, are in the "People business". 

Most companies that apply CRM successfully understand that an effective mix of people (60%), process (30%) and technology (10%) are the key drivers behind a successful CRM implementation.

Typical people issues found in a CRM initiative are slow user adoption, full executive leadership, inadequate attention to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working. 

Survey Says:

Working in partnership with CustomerThink, Forrester collected opinions from over 600 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in sales, marketing, customer service, or IT.  This survey of practitioners was to define and quantify the best practices for CRM success.

William Band, Forrester Research reported in Customer Think that:

"More specifically, the top people challenges to implementing a CRM solution include cultural resistance to adopting new ways of working (45%), difficulties in achieving user adoption (44%), insufficient planning and attention given to change management (42%), and inadequate leadership (38%)."  Read William's whole article here.




William suggests and I would agree that important takeaways are:

  • Use continuous improvement to soften culture shock. Successful CRM requires that an organization learn and accept new business processes and supporting technologies, which is never easy. As a manager of IT quality at a public sector company put it, “Our greatest difficulty was changing the culture of our users.” Use quick wins to gain support for the new CRM system and continuous improvement to keep interest high. In our client's world we like to focus on making positive, baby steps that provide continuous improvement and value in the eyes of the people actually using the CRM system.

  • Overcome adoption issues by letting users influence functionality. New CRM processes and technologies that do not have a clear benefit for users and that are not properly socialized will not be adopted. A CRM architect at a media, entertainment, and leisure firm told us that “end user adoption is always difficult, especially with our sales team.” Enterprises should ensure that users have opportunities to influence application functionality and enhancements.  At Success with CRM Consulting we strongly encourage the full implementation of key stakeholders and departmental representatives in the Pilot planning/implementation phase.

  • Plan carefully to facilitate changes in management and employee behaviors. The tone for a customer-centric culture, and the need to adopt new processes and tools to serve customers more effectively, is set by the top executives of an organization. Employees look at the behaviors of the senior leadership team to determine which activities are valued and which aren’t. As the CRM manager of a business services company told us, “Our greatest problem was lack of buy-in from management.”


What people problems have you encountered or expect to encounter in your first CRM system?

CRM 101 Video 


Helpful resources:

CRM Core Beliefs - Relations among People vs. just a Technology

The "Gut Level" value of CRM and "Who" People Interactions

Create the CRM Vision of a Better Future

14 CRM Best Practices for 2014 - Start Now!

30 Bright Ideas for greater business success with CRM (Part I - III)

18 Requirements for CRM Success

CRM Adoption - assortment of articles...

Topics:   CRM user adoption Employee engagement Business success with CRM Foundational CRM Strategic Business development Sales force automation Smart Ideas and Tips Customer-Centric Strategy Organizational development Empower CRM Success Long-term success factors People first CRM Executive Buy-in Success with CRM

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