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The Velos Group Newsletter FEBRUARY 2013

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 Sales Lead Management Programs Don't Need To Fail

Editor's Note: 
This subject contains significant details.  Rather than eliminating information to fit the newsletter format, we've divided the article into Part 1 and Part II two articles.  SLM Failed Program Implementations #1-3 are covered below.  In March we will cover SLM Failed Program Implementations #4-6.   


Why Customer Relations Management (CRM) Implementations Fail: 
  1. Lack of management support/follow-up
  2. The program is too complicated to administer and use
  3. Lack of Closed-Loop System Approach
  4. Focus on Quantity vs. Quality: Inquiries Not Qualified
  5. Qualified leads not distributed in a timely manner to lead owner
  6. Feedback regarding lead status difficult to collect

  Three Reasons WHY CRM Implementations

Miss The Mark:


1.  Lack of Management Support/Follow-up:


Successful Customer Relationship Management Is NOT Just About Software!  There are numerous services and human connections that align in building a successful sales lead management project. The first item is a company-wide strategy to be "Best in Class" in sales processes and procedures. Without that, most Lead management procedures and activities will be empty gestures that don't produce results.


Once that real top-to-bottom commitment has been made, then functional activities need to be designed and work processes re-engineered to be genuinely efficient, fast and effective. Only at this point does software technology come into the picture.


The statistics are sobering. Most (approximately 75%) CRM and sales lead management programs fail to meet the expectations that were used to justify the project in the first place. By far, the biggest reason is that senior management, although approving the budget and expecting the project to be a great success, doesn't participate in the user requirements sessions and rarely forcefully communicates that this IS the way we will be doing business in this area. CRM expert and author Jay Curryon says: "...If the owner/CEO is in charge of, or monitors closely, CRM implementation and processes, then the good news is that he can get done what he wants to get done. But if he loses interest, it's all over."


2.  The Program Is Too Complicated to Administer and Use


Another common failure of implementing systems like this is that they are designed at a corporate headquarters, often with, "Wouldn't it be great if we could...." mentality. What happens next is that a 1-2 inch-wide System Requirements Document is created and many, if not all, "nice to have" become absolute "must-have" requirements. It is crucial to start with the end in mind, but also to keep in mind that a sales rep demands a system that makes his/her job easier and more productive AND is easy to use.


Each of the "hard must-have requirements" should be evaluated using these criteria and then prioritized so that only the most important requirements are addressed, at least in the first phase of the roll-out. Other requirements that don't get prioritized as highest can be implemented in successive phases as long as they are going to make the sales reps' more money, make the existing process easier to use or produces better management reporting (without creating an extra burden on the sales rep.) 


3.  Lack of Closed-Loop System Approach


If a company's current system can be classified as "Catch-as-Catch-Can," then it's highly recommend the company apply the same systems/process-driven approach that their manufacturing and quality departments have been using. The dividends gained will be more than worth the work invested.


The SLM and CRM process begins in the marketing department then flows into the sales organization and the information gathered in the Sales Force Automation systems provide the input to several important departments within the company. It is crucial that each step of the process be mapped with a focus on:

  • What is my over-riding business objective
  • Is this the most efficient way to handle this process
  • How does process add to achievement of objectives?
  • Where are my inputs and who receives the output?
  •  Who needs to be involved to ensure cross-system and inter-organizational coordination is considered?

This planning and business process review becomes more complicated and involved based the level of integration a company desires in all of it's major business systems; manufacturing, financial, inventory management, customer service, sales, etc. It is a big job requiring planning, but it is absolutely critical in designing a best-in-class system that will become a strategic advantage and contributor for the company.


Conclusion - Part I:

CRM should offer business owners insight into fast distribution of sales leads, increased sales results and productivity, along with ways to create actionable reports and dashboards that help them manage their business more effectively and efficiently.


Next month:  March Newsletter defines the final Three Reasons Why CRM Implementation Programs Fail:

  • Quantity vs. Quality of Inquiries
  • Wasting Quantified Leads
  • Feedback Regarding Lead Status  
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