CRM, GDPR and ABM (Account Based Marketing) – IGNORE, REPLACE OR RESCUE?

Some market observers state that up to 60% of CRM CUSTOMER database projects and 70% of GDPR projects may have been implemented poorly. Human or system failings? Can these projects be rescued?

Why should you make the effort? Well, many directors and marketing teams are now struggling with the combination of constrained customer communications and simultaneous regulatory risks. Finance directors see inefficiencies, and marketing directors get a poor return on system investments – long after the software vendors have sold their solutions. IT resources can remain too stretched just managing operations to tackle these issues alone.

  • Is it odd that so many management teams fail to plan well – or do people still operate in departmental silos and fail to integrate their needs with other colleagues, hence only seeing limited and/or narrow benefits? 

Nobody wants to be left with under-populated systems, islands of unused data, and blockages to incorporating new exciting open data sets about your customer profiles, markets and demographics, and supply chains.

Worse still, nobody wants to see sales teams revert to inefficient means and old ways of generating leads, where some individuals hold on to hidden personalised spreadsheets where information is NOT shared. Unless there is a legitimate interest under GDPR, using old data sets may also fall foul of regulations. This is not a healthy culture and yet these characteristics can be found across many hard-driven sales teams where each member is striving to meet their own KPI targets. 

Without proper coordination and targeting, nor will any amount of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media mechanisms help convert ‘likes’ into meaningful business.  And any talk of moves to ABM, or Account Based Marketing, where profiles, preferences and behaviours can be tracked will just not happen. 

  • Does it matter? – of course it does. Every leader wants more business or for a Charity, improved fund raising. Managers want happier customers, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. No Finance Director is happy to see IT spending money on poorly implemented CRM systems that give no or little payback, or worse think that buying a new CRM system before they have given the existing one a proper chance is logical. And if new GDPR controls are not adhered to under Privacy by Design, with good Data Subject Access planned for, trouble will be looming. 

Problems like this start right under your feet – so reflecting with honesty and admitting you failed to plan or implement well should give a message that the time has come to make a change in approach – top down, side to side, and bottom up. 

Plan well. Optimise operations. Have courage. Face your mistakes. Get teams working together.

  • It is advisable to run cross functional group workshops to bring teams back together and highlight the root causes of failure, so you can rescue CRM or GDPR projects. 

Wouldn’t most finance directors prefer to see their teams try again to make past systems investments work better?

It is well known that adopting new systems can take a long time to implement and be costly, whilst the existing ones, properly implemented, could yet succeed. Don’t give up too soon.

Peter McCann