Understanding why a CRM system is needed makes it possible to meet your board’s demands for a high level of user adoption.  

Sales, Marketing and IT leaders all want to maximise CRM adoption. But do they share the same reasons? In brief, no. Each of the Big Six job titles has a different reason to drive CRM adoption.

And if you’re involved in the CRM space, it’s useful to define what those reasons are.

So think yourself into the boardroom, and let’s see what CRM adoption means to each C-leveller around the table.

The Chief Executive Officer: make my business a legend

In larger enterprises, CEOs aren’t involved in the minutiae of tech rollouts. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the outcomes. Results, results, results… across the whole business, not any one line P&L.

So to the CEO, the reason for CRM adoption is squeezing out inefficiencies along the whole value chain. How better communication shortens the sales cycle; how a single customer database cuts down busywork; how a £50k cost saves £75k a year in existing commitments.

So forget individual departmental worries: show the CEO how CRM brings it all together. He’s all about the bottom line.

The Chief Marketing Officer: let me talk to my customers

CRM adoption fulfills the Marketing Director’s dream: engaging customers in a single managed conversation, from cold suspect to repeat customer, on a one-to-one basis, across all channels, forever.

“70% of those interviewees working in Sales and Marketing said that engaging, qualifying and following up leads is their biggest challenge.”

So to a CMO, CRM’s benefit is in the way it enables institutional memory, continuing the conversation wherever that customer hangs out. Maximising Customer Lifetime Value, and making every customer feel like the only customer.

The Chief Sales Officer: let me prise open their wallets

The Head of Sales’ motivations are like the CMO’s, only more so. The right CRM system enables salespeople to target the most profitable customers, cross-sell and upsell to them to increase customer retention and advocacy across today’s increasingly wide range of customer channels – including online and social media.

“Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%”, says Amy Gallo in her Harvard Business Review article ‘The Value of Keeping the Right Customers’ – published in October 2014.

That’s the Big Ask from the corner office of Sales: tell them how to make those numbers so they can recognise and reward who’s done it accordingly.

The Chief Operating Officer: tell me how it works

Connecting the parts. Improving the processes. Making things work. That’s the job of the COO. So for that individual, a CRM system’s ideal output is a means to connect and provide feedback about how it’s all functioning.

So show the COO how CRM adoption joins the dots. How a lead from the website becomes a contact for Sales, how that contact connects to order entry and pushes out an invoice later. When your CRM system maps your company processes, you’re in COO heaven.

The Chief Financial Officer: show me the money… and metrics

“I taught you so many things. The value of information. How to get it.”

The world’s come a long way since Gordon Gekko’s greed-is-good attitude. But reports, statistics, metrics and ratios still drive thinking in Finance.

So for the CFO, show off the dashboards and data to which CRM adoption is the key. Show how they connect to accounting systems and support better decision making. Control over costs – that’s how to win the CFO’s heart.

The Chief Technology Officer: save me from pulling all-nighters

The CTO’s last. For a reason. He understands best how much hassle any company-wide IT rollout involves. And while he’s as attuned to sales and profits as any other individual in the C-suite, his hot button is how easy will it be to roll out?

With the implementation of any new technology comes the risk of user resistance to change. Yet user adoption is essential if the firm is to reach its targets… and they’re not solely sales and profits. Without buy-in from end users, any investment in a CRM system will become more problematic and costly than the board expects.

Increasing user adoption

The right CRM system and a well-managed CRM adoption project will address each of these issues. Improving the ability of Sales and Marketing to target the most profitable customers, boosting operational performance and generating a return on investment.

There you have it: from the board’s perspective, CRM adoption is a real opportunity because it offers the potential to improve the business as a whole… as well as its parts. That can only be good news for them, their company and its board. In context, CRM makes complete business sense.


  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
  • The right CRM system will increase customer retention, reduce customer churn, improve sales performance and increase ROI.
  • By creating board advocacy and selecting adopting change agents, staff will more readily adopt the new CRM system.
  • Automating and centralising the CRM system will reduce the need for repetitive manual tasks, reduce costs, streamline process, create efficiencies, improve inter-departmental collaboration and staff performance.
  • Communicate the benefits of a new CRM system in context with the concerns of the board to demonstrate the contextual value of adoption.

Understanding the board’s demand for CRM is crucial for success, but even more important for specifying the right system. Find out more by watching this webinar: One Step Ahead: Getting your CRM Specification Right


In order to keep one step ahead in the modern marketplace, companies must focus on maximising CRM customer engagement.
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Maximise CRM user adoption and make sure employee sentiment about your CRM is as positive as your ambitions for it.

Do you know why some of the best CRM people have experience outside CRM?

It’s because today, CRM providers and partners alike know people matter most. The value of CRM to your business doesn’t stem from just the software, but from how deeply people integrate it into their jobs.

It’s why disciplines like change management, process improvement, and organisation design feature on the CVs of today’s CRM experts. Because when an implementation fails – as, sadly, some still do – it’s usually because the software was rolled out without taking the people along and there has been a lack of CRM user adoption.

This SlideShare outlines how you can inspire positive attitudes towards CRM adoption.

That’s change management. A process. Above all, demonstrate at every step how CRM user adoption will make everyone’s life more rewarding.

Find out how to choose the right CRM system by downloading: Ultimate Guide to: Assessing and choosing the right CRM for your business


A new CRM implementation could transform your business and take it to the next level, but beware – if implemented incorrectly it could end up crippling your bottom line.

CRM can transform your business. It can give you deeper understanding of your customers and boost engagement in your data driven marketing campaigns, transform mere customers into brand evangelists and, as a result, grow your business.

BUT if implemented incorrectly CRM can damage your business, your customer relationships and ultimately your bottom line. In fact 63% of CRM initiatives fail due to companies rushing in, throwing money and resources at CRM implementation without fully considering how they’re actually going to implement it.

However the benefits of CRM implementation far outway the risks. Per salesperson CRM can increase revenue by 41%, three out of four customers spend more money because of a positive customer experience and CRM can improve customer retention by as much as 27%.

With these five critical areas covered, you’re now in a better position to ensure your CRM implementation is as pain-free as possible and, most importantly, successful.

Once your CRM has been implemented you can start reaping the benefits, cross selling, upselling and delighting your customers.

Take the next step in implementing your CRM and download your free eGuide: The ultimate guide to: winning board support


When pitching CRM to the board, it is often the benefits of bringing Marketing and Sales closer together which acts as the key selling point – but to deliver on this promised goal, it’s actually the IT department who must act as a catalyst for seismic change.

The barriers that exist between Marketing and Sales are well-documented but there are tried and tested solutions to busting the silo-like mentality that can damage the relationship between the two departments if CRM is deployed correctly.

However to achieve this, there is another key player who must come on board any CRM implementation project – the IT department. But only if they will allow themselves to…

IT, Are You The Problem?

To help with the alignment of Marketing and Sales, IT must first step forward and engage with Marketing fully…

The first issue that CIOs need to deal with is… themselves. While traditionally, the IT department has been left to its own devices from dealing with IT systems through to data wrangling, the modern era in Marketing – and therefore Sales – has seen a shift in attitudes and work approaches.

Modern marketers are being forced to become more data-driven, basing their campaigns and inbound marketing strategies on data accrued through CRM; after all, it’s not unusual to find data analysts working in the Marketing department instead of IT. The CMO’s increasingly important role in choosing technology is becoming ever more prevalent too. According to research by Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017.

And this power shift can cause resentment within IT departments who feel their roles, IT decision-making powers and even budgets are now under threat from marketing. And it’s this mentality that must be dealt as a priority.

The Road Forward

In this new era, it is essential that the CIO works closely with marketing or else the silos that harm performance and interdepartmental alignment will remain…

This new approach should start with the CRM system itself with IT and Marketing working together on the selection and implementation process. At this stage, it is critical that IT drives the debate about how CRM is implemented. The questions it must raise include:

– Who will be responsible for running the CRM platform when it is up and running?

– Who will be analysing the data?

– Who will be setting key metrics and KPIs?

– Who will be demoing and training staff in CRM’s benefits and usage?

– Who will source and present CRM findings and ROI milestones to the board?

Finding the answers to these questions must be done via IT and Marketing working together on an ongoing basis to ensure each question is not only answered in the short term – but constantly monitored on a rolling basis:

– Agree on your common goals and targets together regularly and not in the vacuum of a silo.

– Bring marketing and IT together physically; consider having them work on the same floor or in the same office. It means each department can feed off each other and inform one another.

– Bring on board staff who understand the roles of both marketing and IT and can help advocate this new relationship, educating department staff about how the other works and even what terminology each uses.

– Use your CRM rollout project as an opportunity to forge this new closer partnership; it’s the perfect time to develop a shared skill set and create a true cross-departmental team mentality.

The End Result?

Research shows that when CIO and CMOs work in closer alignment, the business will outperform its competitors by…


… in terms of revenue generation and profitability.

In other words, with so much to gain (and so much to lose), the modern CIO and CMO can no longer work in their respective bunkers; they must team up so that other departments – including Sales – can wake up to the benefits of a properly implemented CRM platform.

Intervention Required?

Divisions can run deep between departments and a third party consultant can help not only with the selection and implementation of a CRM platform but aid in identifying and allocating responsibilities. Because they are ‘outsiders’ with no baggage (historic or political), consultants can help bridge existing divides between departments and suggest pragmatic steps to address and deal with each issue as and when it arises.

Discover how an effectively implemented CRM system can drive growth in your business by downloading your free eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM’ today


Sales Force Automation (SFA) used to be the primary tool for salespeople. It helped organisations to manage and support their sales representatives, and it generally consisted of contact management, opportunity management and pipeline management. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) arguably evolved from it, but with some differences.

CRM concentrates on using data to create a 360 degree view of potential and existing customers. The purpose of this data-driven insight is to enable organisations to develop new offerings, to retain them and to inspire loyalty by encouraging customers to buy more of the same or related products and services.

Time showed the need for a higher degree of integration, co-operation and customer data-sharing between Sales and Marketing – thus improving the ability of marketing to segment customers, to develop new products and services, and to develop new marketing and communications channels. This integration also enables sales to increase its performance through cross-selling and up-selling propositions based on a single view of each customer.

Modern CRM systems

Modern CRM systems are increasingly about how to use big data analytics to gain a deeper level of customer insight than was possible a decade ago. To earn customer loyalty, organisations have to learn about customers’ habits through an increasing array of channels: the web, mobile, email, social media, e-commerce, contact centres and through bricks and mortar outlets.

Are your teams CRM-ready?

One of the traditional reasons why CRM fails, falls down to resistance from those that are going to use a modern CRM system. People and process design come before any successful implementation. Effective communication about the benefits of modern CRM systems, training and the development of a new collaborative culture are essential before the technology can be used effectively.

Improving performance

The benefits of a modern CRM system include…

  • Easy access to lead intelligence for sales from one location and in a way to enable sales and marketing to share customer insight – including customers’ transactional histories.
  • Better sales and marketing alignment by applying and sharing metrics to show how each function is performing. This information can be used to develop new sales and marketing strategies, and realistic goals and objectives that have to be:
  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Realistic
  • Time-based.
  • Help Sales prioritise its pipeline through segmentation – say for example into key accounts (highest value customers) – and by making customer trends more visible. This can enable salespeople to target customers more effectively.
  • Closed-loop reporting lets marketers improve their marketing campaigns. By sharing sales and campaign data marketers can determine which campaigns are most successful and look for insight as to why they are achieving their goals and objectives.
  • The automation of simple, repetitive tasks and processes. These tasks and processes may be administrative, transactional, or related to specific activities such as e-commerce, inbound contact centre management, etc.
  • Improved campaign and project management because a number of modern CRM systems employ a dashboard to make the metrics associated with a project or campaign more transparent and as available in real-time as possible to enable better decision-making. Campaigns and projects often need tweaking. Dashboards make this possible.

In conclusion

  • With a modern CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM it becomes possible for Sales and Marketing to see each other as partners.
  • To achieve this collaboration there needs to be a high level of systems integration across all of an organisation’s functions – not just between Sales and Marketing, but also with finance and logistics for example.
  • Together these departments can become even more profitable than if they were to maintain a culture of us and them. Modern CRM systems make this possible.

Discover how CRM can help your business grow by downloading your free eGuide The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM today.


While a new CRM implementation has the power to transform your business, if implemented incorrectly, it can end up crippling your bottom line instead.

CRM can change your business.

Transform it. Take it to the next level. Turbo charge it, and all those other tired but true cliches.

But CRM can also harm your business if you don’t implement it correctly. Drive down profits. Consume budgets. Leave your bottom line beaten and battered.

You could end up a percentage point of the 63% of companies whose CRM solution fails.

But why does CRM fail for so many businesses?

One reason is that some companies rush in, throwing money and resources at CRM implementation without fully considering how they’re actually going to implement it.

To avoid disaster, steer clear of the following CRM implementation pitfalls:

1. Levelled By Legacy

CRM offers companies access to a vast range of new tools and skill sets, but old systems must work hand-in-hand with any new CRM platform.

The trouble is, is that some companies aren’t ensuring that the new and old systems have ‘tied the knot’. To ensure they don’t end up in the divorce courts:

a. Do a company-wide IT survey and learn how existing systems can be mated with the new CRM system.

Or at least be in a position to work together before the legacy system is phased out.

b. Do understand the impact that CRM will have on your entire IT structure – or you could pay dearly later.

c. Don’t jump in both feet first; run a pilot programme before full rollout so you can test that the new and the old will work together.

d. And most importantly, don’t simply migrate the data from your legacy system carte blanche, or else you could end up with…

2. Dirty Data

Ensure your database has been cleaned before you introduce the CRM solution. All entries should be standardised and any discrepancies dealt with.

These can include dealing with double entries, missing fields, gone-aways and non-compliant data. Remember – a CRM system is only as good as the data that’s fed into it.

3. Trials of the Unexpected

A company can change overnight; it may merge, be acquired, a department outsourced or a key stakeholder may be replaced.

Rolling out a CRM system needs to take such potential changes into account, so ensure you have the right budget and schedule contingency plan in place.

4. Those Damn Damning Doomsayers

To ensure that CRM is successful, it has to be embraced by everyone in the company:

a. The C-Suite needs to be on board – executive sponsorship is vital to promoting the new system across the company.

b. A CRM advocate is required from a department – say, the marketing manager – who can show results quickly and prove to other departments that CRM works.

c. A full training programme must be rolled out for all employees so they can grasp CRM’s benefits immediately.

5. DIY Disaster

The idea of carrying out a CRM implementation in-house might sound appealing – even cost effective. A CRM implementation is, however, a big job.

It needs specialists who can:

  • Help design and implement the CRM system.
  • Provide that all-important training to employees.
  • Aid in legacy system migration and management.
  • Offer support during and after the implementation process.

Unless you have that kind of expert knowledge in-house, what’s the best solution?

Hire in a consultant for the initial planning and rollout before bringing on board an in-house CRM manager for the day-to-day running of the system, once it’s up and running.

With these five critical areas covered, you’re now in a better position to ensure your CRM implementation is as pain-free as possible and, most importantly, successful.

And once installed, you can take solace in the fact that you will be one of the 37% for whom CRM works.

They’re not the only pitfalls. Avoid leaking critical cloud-based CRM data with The ultimate guide to: security in the cloud