CRM Is Inherently the Most Political of Enterprise Systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are undoubtedly among the most efficient and useful tools in today’s business arsenal, but inherent to the users involved in their execution, and the differing motivations of these users, is an aspect of political disagreement. Unlike many other business systems that deal solely with quantification and data, effective CRM systems require a certain degree of subjective thought when categorizing objects—and therein lies the potential for differing opinions.

CRM solutions depend on various aspects being categorized in order to provide relevant and helpful data. Terms such as “qualified leads” and “lost prospects” require that specific employees determine the current status of a potential customer and their viability as a “live” sales prospect. This categorization has very different impacts on employees in different departments of the organization, and may negatively affect perception of their performance and efficacy. Salespeople, for instance, would like to remove lost prospects from their pipelines to avoid a loss ratio and/or lingering open potential leads while others in the organization would like to retain the lost prospect data in order to learn from it and create more accurate forecasting.

This difference in the nuances of role for different employees can produce contentious situations when cataloguing different aspects (or objects) within a CRM system. These systems make sales tracking, forecasting, and long range planning much more effective for businesses of any size, but some attention or allowances may need to be made for the inherently political nature of a CRM solution.