5 reasons your CRM system isn't working—and what to do about it

If you don't have the right CRM strategy in place, you're not just losing sales. You're losing the ability to plan and market effectively.


A B2B Technology Marketing Community report indicates that 25 percent of B2B marketers don’t know their lead conversion rates. That’s largely because they don’t have the right CRM strategy in place.

Your sales department claims the leads coming out of marketing are no good. And marketing is complaining that sales doesn’t follow up on leads. Sound familiar?

If so, it may be time to examine your current CRM process.

  • What criteria are you applying to evaluate the quality of leads in your current CRM system?
  • Are they qualified based on clean and duplicate-free data?
  • Are your leads providing a single, clear, and value-added view of the customer or prospect?

When it comes to leads, the marketing department bears the burden of proof, including delivering a good return on marketing investment (ROMI). Your marketing efforts should be based on clean, integrated data, via a solid master data management (MDM) system to convert hot leads into opportunities for your sales force. If this is not happening, then your marketing team is not successful. In fact, a recent report indicates that a whopping 25 percent of B2B marketers don’t know their lead conversion rates1. That’s largely because they don’t have the right CRM strategy in place.

Here are some typical reasons why CRM implementations are not successful:

  1. Unclear business goals and strategies. These must be defined jointly by marketing and sales (and ideally a technical strategy discussed with IT).
  2. No governance. Each time new data is loaded into salesforce.com or any other CRM platform, you risk creating duplicates and may not have a process to ensure consistent quality of both old and new data.
  3. Labor intensive. Marketing hours may be wasted on maintaining CRM data quality and integrity.
  4. Poor reports/dashboards. Lead follow-up and nurturing reports are missing information or have the wrong information.
  5. People simply stop using your CRM system. They may have lost confidence in the system due to incomplete or inaccurate account, contact, and lead information.

Align with sales to fix problems

Marketers have more power today than ever before, but they may not know how to harness it. Chief marketing officers should ensure alignment between marketing and sales when it comes to CRM data. Meeting regularly to identify business objectives, appointing a data steward, and agreeing on who owns what data are all ways to streamline the CRM process between marketing and sales.

With the two teams working toward a common goal—increasing sales via the development of a CRM system with reliable data—the only way to go is up.

To join in on the marketing vs. sales discussion, read Dina Elsokari's blog post, Culture VS Automation – Marketing Vs. Sales.

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