I’ve worked on a couple of system reviews in recent week for clients who felt their CRM system wasn’t living up to expectations.

Interestingly, in both cases the systems were reasonably sound. What was missing were the finishing touches.

This is a common problem. Salespeople often dazzle their customers with wizzy demonstrations of things like dashboards and mobile apps, but invariably what’s delivered looks rather less glossy. This in turn often leaves the customer feeling rather short-changed.

So why does this happen? For two reasons I suspect:

Firstly, I think in many cases there is a lack of clarity as to what the final deliverable looks like, often because there’s insufficient focus on clear business outcomes.

Secondly, accountability for who is doing what in the final set up of the system. Implementers will generally expect their customers to undertake some of the softer configuration of the system, but these responsibilities aren’t always well defined or articulated and sometimes simply don’t get done.

The solution is straightforward. Implementers and the customers need a common understanding of what the final deliverable looks like, and clear responsibilities for delivering it.

In my book that should be defined as part of the requirements gathering process, but the key that it is documented somewhere.

Would-be implementers of CRM need to be mindful that doing 99% of the project well isn’t sufficient. It’s the final 1% that generally determines success or failure.

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