Unlocking the promise of CRM investment

Unlocking the promise of CRM investment


April 8, 2021


Hannah Gatland, Robbie Cappuccio, Jason Remen & Lee Tucknott




Sound CRM investment can substantially grow organisational value. It provides the opportunity to enhance sals, service and lifetime customer value by better understanding customer needs.


While most businesses are spending on CRM, many are not realising the return available to them. 42% of CRM licenses go unused, and it is believed up to 70% of CRM projects are killed because of poor user adoption[1]. 

We believe that any technology is only as good as how eagerly it is used, and how well. Therefore the best way to ensure optimum outcomes from an out-of-the-box solution is to focus on users to drive adoption success. 


CRMs come in many shapes, sizes, levels of complexity and associated costs. In our view, the better an organisation understands its user and organisational needs, the better they can right-size their CRM selection and onboarding approaches. 


This article explores how organisations can ensure they find the right technical CRM solution, and are able to drive the greatest organisational adoption and outcomes. 


Disconnected processes hold the organisation back

When an organisation doesn’t have a CRM solution tailored to the user needs, users start to adopt workarounds and rely on a plethora of systems to try to make sense of their customers.  


Multiple systems can fragment information, preventing a single view of the customer. Without this single view, it becomes difficult to comprehend a customer base,  anticipate their needs or target actions accordingly. Informal and lengthy processes may also impact team productivity, collaboration and knowledge sharing. Moreover, lack of data governance causes duplication of information, knowledge loss and generally poor-quality data. 


How does an organisation take into consideration all these challenges to select a solution that is tailored to both business and user needs?


Design the right solution, then design the solution right.  

By taking a combined Human-Centred and technical review approach, user needs, business requirements, current processes and system limitations can be captured, analysed and drafted into what a high-level solution might look like for your organisation.  


There are many ways to reach an optimised CRM solution, but here’s how we generally get there.

1.    Ensure business needs are captured and project goals are aligned
Clarify any vital business requirements or restraints and encourage the project team to voice their concerns, hopes and goals for the project.

2.     Understand current experience
Engage potential users to share their past and present experiences;, from this main needs, goals and hurdles can be captured. User interviews allow for formal and informal processes, systems and workarounds to be mapped, providing an overall picture and better understanding of the current user experience.  


3.     Review and health check current systems
Undertake a technical review of any current or unused systems to understand how it’s being used, performance, scalability and any tech limitations, and the reasons users state for not adopting the solution. This will help make sense of users’ current pain points and will inform any new potential solution so as not to repeat mistakes, or even worse, lose any functionality that is presently performing well.  


4.     Map the ideal future experience
Drawing from the discovery interviews synthesised insights, user journeys can now be mapped out for the users whose needs are to be addressed by the MVP, plotting key future requirements and features along the experience. Journey maps can be a valuable playback artefact for demonstrating a business case and project sponsoring, by effectively illustrating the benefits and potential of a needs-based solution. 


5.     Refine and prioritise requirements 
Workshop with both key stakeholders and users to refine the documented requirements. Prioritise these requirements by placing them into an importance/effort matrix. This will assist in project direction alignment and allows for a blind-spot check, ensuring all expected features are captured and user needs are being met. Now an MVP for a possible solution can be defined and agreed upon along with a drafted roadmap for future releases. 

6.     Evaluate short listed technology solutions against prioritised requirements
The best way to determine the right technical solution is to evaluate it against your needs. It is important to invest in the features that will best propel you toward your goals.  


Understanding users’ needs leads to informed solutions.

Rather than working within the parameters and restraints of a previously committed to costly tech platform, a user-lead led approach is effective for gaining a strong understanding of the user and business needs. Organisations possessing a deeper knowledge of the user will have a better overall view of business systems and processes, empowering them to make an informed strategic decision when it comes to selecting a CRM solution.   

[1] Gartner, Seven KeyReasons Why CRM Fails, ID:G00100315 Analyst(s): Jennifer Kirkby, Scott Nelson

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