Your CRM Doesn’t Suck, Your Implementation Does: Part 2

Jake Horn

Jake Horn


Are you cursing the day you got a new CRM system? Instead of improving the customer experience, it’s an expensive millstone around your neck. Hardly anyone uses the system, which isn’t connected to your backend data, so getting a holistic view of your customers is impossible.

Last time, I discussed how it’s not the CRM system that’s bad—it’s the implementation. As I pointed out, most major solutions are similar, whether it’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, Zoho, or Oracle. With the right technology partner, you can create a success story out of any one of these platforms.


There are lots of factors contributing to a poor implementation, both inside and outside the organization. Internally, you and your team may be unconsciously sabotaging your own implementation. You might scoff at the notion, but it’s true. Here’s why:


  • Management will not mandate and/or reinforce use of the CRM system and align the organization to it. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen whole departments opt out of an implementation while the CEO is working to make the organization more customer-focused. Organizational leaders have to set aside internal politics and make a long-term commitment to running the business with the tools they choose. In ALL successful CRM implementations I have done, the company leaders have:
    • Replaced disparate spreadsheets and aligned compensation through usage of the CRM system.
    • Committed to moving customer-oriented processes to a centralized tool, which means creating an “If it’s not in CRM system, it didn’t happen” policy.
    • Integrated backend data to the CRM system.

      If you don’t do these things, you may as well not invest in a CRM tool at all.

  • People forget that the C in CRM stands for customerit’s not Sales Relationship Management (SRM). The real value in a CRM tool is at the point or AFTER the customer becomes a customer. If you do a CRM implementation right, you’re creating a system that consolidates and presents information from the context of a customer. Sure, you can get some information along the sales journey, but it will be broken because—let’s be honest—outside sales reps hate data entry.

  • Leaders expect software to change the culture of their organization. Becoming a customer-oriented company isn’t easy to do—you have got to take the long view. I use the metaphor of building a house. The initial implementation of a CRM tool typically only creates a foundation for consolidating and automating customer-oriented data and processes. Changing that culture takes a long-term commitment. Often, organizations give up too quickly or allow internal politics to interfere with their end goal.


Bottom line: CRM software will not magically transform your company into a customer-oriented business. Internal politics, a lack of commitment at the top, and a misunderstanding of the purpose of CRM solutions all contribute to a poor experience. As a leader in your organization, you must set the example and expectations that your business is customer-focused. A CRM tool is the first step in achieving that goal.


And don’t forget to choose a technology partner who has experience in CRM implementation and who is committed to their clients’ success. At Altruas, we build long-term relationships with our clients—one project at a time. We can set up a CRM implementation that becomes a solid foundation for better serving your customers and helping you work more efficiently.

Give us a call today.