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CRM will disappoint without an honest self-assessment

Launching a new CRM program or jump-starting an existing one requires a careful self-assessment of processes and technology, according to a recent report.

CRM is doomed to disappoint without a clear focus and self-assessment of a business's needs, according to a recent analyst report.

History has taught that the "big bang" approach to CRM, massive implementations of technology deployed across sales, service and marketing all at once, has proven to be a failure. Instead, organizations looked to smaller, tactical deployments and are now

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Plan for success with a CRM and customer service checklist

Forrester surveyed 94 business and IT executives responsible for CRM and found that less than 50% were fully satisfied that the benefits met expectations. That's usually due to a lack of focus on specific business capabilities, according to the firm.

"We've done a lot of these assessments, and we continually find that people usually are weak in customer data management," Band said. "The other area is they do not think sufficiently about people and change management issues."

Forrester recently published a set of

Forrester recommends a cross-functional team that includes a senior business manager who is accountable for a particular customer-facing business result, such as the senior vice president of sales or the senior vice president of marketing, as well as people in functional business roles and IT.

Reassessments should be conducted about every 24 months, though there is often an impetus for change, Band said. For example, a new leadership team may want to make the business more "customer-centric," or an acquisition might require the company to roll out new functionality or regions. IT can often push for a re-assessment if it's getting pressure to upgrade to a new version and wants to rationalize the company's technology architecture or needs to

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