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Simon Washbrook

The 2 reasons why CRM’s fail in small businesses

Why CRM’s fail in Small businesses.

According to SalesForce.com 72% of small businesses give up on using CRM….

Now, before I get started, I thought it would be a good time to quote the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and say ‘Don’t Panic’ … yes this is a concerning statistic, but from our experience the failures are usually driven by a couple of key factors.

Okay, so I’ll start with the ‘stuff’ that you are directly in control off and the how you can align your teams mind set to avoid failure later down the line…

Reasons CRM’s fail in small businesses

The first hurdle businesses encounter is typically brought on by themselves, which is choosing a CRM that is not right for there business now. This may sound obvious, but the decision making process small business often employs, sets themselves up for this failure. As they are usually in the place where they are moving from using multiple pieces of software to manage their data, and they are in pain. As they have realised that they are missing thousands of pounds worth of opportunities and loosing sales due to the data not being joined up. Unfortunately, what this often leads to is a conscious decision to ‘start doing it properly’. 

Why CRM's fail in Small businesses
Why CRM's fail in Small businesses

The second reason CRM’s fail in small businesses, is the Business owner themselves. As they buy into the the idea of implementing a CRM, as they see the bigger picture of what it can do for their business and the team. They then excitedly tell their team and expect them to buy into it too it, with the same gusto that they have. But we all know it’s never that simple, because they don’t, they see is as change – which lets face it no one likes because changes equals extra effort and leads to pushback from the team and a half hearted attempt to implement it and we all know the famous saying – if you put shi… rubbish in, you get rubbish out. Leading to poor results, and a frustrated team, who then blame the CRM. Which guess what, leads to the second reason why CRM fails in small businesses.

Now that I have well and truly destroyed any enthusiasm for moving forward with implementing a CRM in your small business, let me re-lite your fire … An established small business that successfully implements a CRM into their business, typically generates an extra £72,000 each year. Which if your anything like me, gives me 72 thousand reasons to make it work

How to ensure CRM works in your small business.

So how can we stop all the above problems happening in your business? Simples… follow these two suggestions and you will have the right CRM for your business and you’ll have a team that loves using it as mush as you love seeing the benefits it brings to your small business.

Firstly, you MUST chose the right CRM for your businesses, and this should be based upon your business needs right now (talking into account the budgets, resources and time you have available), not what it can potentially do for your business in 1 to 5 years time. Because lets be blunt, you need to get to 1-5 years first, when then you may have an entirely different set of problems. So, start of by listing everything out that is currently blocking your growth and understand if they are systems or personal issues. Then look at the systems that address these problems, nothing more, as this will avoid overly complicated solutions that your team will embrace.

Secondly, bring your team along with you on this journey, get them to identify the problems, that are stopping them from achieving their full potential and then plant the seeds of what a CRM can do for them. There is a great story that I was once told and has always resonated with me – you should always think like the radio station ‘WIIFM’ (catchy name I know), but is brilliant, because it stands for ‘What’s in It For Me’, because if a radio station does not take this approach to every single song and feature, the listener very quickly switches station and they have lost their listener, who does not engage with their adverts, and they loose their revenue.

So, getting back to your CRM, start by thinking about your employees,  ‘What’s In It For Them’, then educate the individuals about the benefits for them personally and the company as a whole. As by identifying what is going to make there lives easier, means that they will accept the stuff that isn’t as much fun, and embrace the stuff that helps them. Meaning that the system you implement, will fix the problems you identified earlier and your staff will love using it.


Put simply, no one likes change, and everyone is motivated by stuff that benefits them directly.

So, choose the right system that you can implement easily and is going to bring wins to your small business , then plant the seeds of what a CRM can do for them as individuals. If you then give them the freedom to own the section that impacts them and you can almost sit back and watch them drive the project forward, rather than having to drag them along with you.

Hopefully this has answered the question ‘why CRM’s fail in Small businesses.’and has given you some practical way to prevent it from happening in your business

Popcorn is a really simple to use CRM, that is designed specifically for small businesses. We have cut our all the bells and whistles to give you the essential tools you need to manage, nurture and convert your prospects faster – click HERE to find out more.

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