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Since the first customer relationship management (CRM) software began appearing roughly 30 years ago, companies have seen numerous benefits from the technology.

Used to manage every stage of an enterprise’s relationship with its customers, CRMs boost efficiency and accuracy by automating tedious tasks and providing detailed analytics. They’ve also been shown to increase sales.

Despite decades of development and use, however, sometimes CRM deployments fail. While estimates for failure rates range from 18% to 69%, it’s clear that there’s room for improvement. In this blog post, we’ll highlight common causes behind these failures and show what your media organization can do to ensure CRM success.

3 main reasons CRMs fail

You could ask several different publishers why their CRM deployments didn’t work out and you’d get different answers from each. 

However, organizations in media (or virtually any industry where CRMs are used) typically have one or more of the following three problems when CRMs fail:

1. It was the wrong CRM for the job: Over the years, industry-specific CRM solutions have proliferated, each catering to the unique demands of different business segments. Lineup Systems specifically designed Adpoint CRM for publishers, while tailored options for law firms, hoteliers, and everything in between exist, too. 

A company can more easily adapt a specialized CRM to its workflows. For example, in media sales, customized ad packages are increasingly common. Adpoint lets users create bundles and quotes for sales that involve multiple channels, such as print and digital. Selecting a CRM that’s designed for your organization’s specific needs is crucial -” but that alone won’t guarantee the system’s success.

2. Low uptake: Adopting the right CRM won’t matter if nobody is using it. Sometimes, decision-makers don’t lead by example, and their lack of enthusiasm hurts uptake. This can undermine training efforts, which are essential, as well.

38% of business professionals who have worked on a CRM initiative say people issues -” including slow software uptake -” have hobbled a project, according to a Forrester survey.

3. Bad data: CRMs are treasure troves of data, giving users deep insights into customer behavior and enabling teams to create more appealing campaigns, bundles, and sales pitches. That is, if the data is good.

Bad data can quickly derail a CRM project, as it hampers a user’s ability to make the best decisions about customers. So-called “dirty data” is more rampant than you might think. 44% of CRM users say poor-quality data costs their company 10% in annual revenue. Worse yet, the problem intensifies over time: users who lose faith in CRM data tend to get sloppy with their own entries.

Communication is the key to CRM success

Many -” if not all -” CRM failures can be chalked up to poor communication. Even if a system is less than ideal, effective communication can help overcome day-to-day difficulties by identifying common issues.

With the importance of communication in mind, here are three keys to CRM success:

1. Demonstrate value: Telling employees to use the CRM isn’t enough, nor is training them (although it’s an obvious must). It’s important to demonstrate the CRM’s value to employees. This is particularly effective when decision-makers or management are the ones taking the initiative.

CRM benefits are well documented, so it doesn’t have to be a hard sell. For example, CRMs can boost sales and productivity by 29% and 34%, respectively, and trim the length of sales cycles by 8% to 14%. Make team members aware of these numbers. 

2. Provide a clear CRM strategy: Among business professionals who have been involved in a CRM project, 33% cite poor strategy as a challenge, according to Forrester. CRM users need clearly defined goals, and customer journeys should be mapped out.

3. Include everyone: Silos, which occur when different teams work in isolation from each other, solidify when communication is weak. A clear CRM sales strategy should improve outcomes, but the tech is most effective when team across companies incorporate it into their workflows.

While 80% of sales reps use a CRM, just 46% of marketers (and 45% of customer service reps) adopt the tech, according to a survey of 500 businesses, both big and small. You need all hands on deck with a CRM, especially since the sales process is deeply tied to customer service and marketing, too.

Don’t let bad communication cost your media company

The average ROI on CRM deployments is nothing to sneeze at. Companies gain an average of $8.71 for every dollar they put into a CRM.

Companies whose CRM deployments fail, however, are losing resources. To make sure your organization isn’t one of them, invest time and effort in communication so your CRM doesn’t wind up on the scrap heap.

Nita Watkins

Nita has been with Lineup since 2012, and in the media industry for 14 years total. Her career in media began at News UK, where she worked closely with teams across the advertising business. Outside of work, Nita can be found drawing, painting, and experimenting in the kitchen.