Corporate culture issues not technology problems are the primary inhibitor preventing companies from extracting the best value from their CRM systems.

That’s the view of CRM consultant Gene Marks in his Forbes blog post.

Gene claims he is “sick of the whining” from companies that don’t understand what’s required to ensure their CRM systems deliver value.

“The problem with your CRM system isn’t usually about your CRM system,” Gene says. “It’s about you.  It’s the way it’s been setup.  It’s the way it’s been implemented.  It’s the way it’s managed.”

Gene recommends three leading practices:

  1. Focus on your reporting. Good sales people need their reports on their pipeline, open quotes, new opportunities, recent activities and lost sales, etc. “All the other bells and whistles are nice, but without these reports their CRM system would be worthless,” Gene says.
  2. Invest in an administrator, who should sit inside the sales team. This person should not be a recycled IT staffer. “Every successful CRM system, whether it’s or any of the others has a strong administrator behind it. And a senior manager or owner willing to make that investment.”
  3. Commit or suffer the consequences. Don’t tolerate non-compliant behaviour at any level. “Don’t want to embrace your CRM?  Don’t want to require a bare minimum of data entry to track customer contacts and key profile data?  Don’t care if a salesperson isn’t paying attention to the system?  Then suffer the consequences.”

Gene says “the most successful CRM systems are at companies where the system is the culture.  Do what’s necessary to help your people adapt.  Give them training and support.  But in return require them to use the system.  Because, if it’s not in the system, then it doesn’t exist”.

A strategic marketing executive with extensive experience delivering business results for Ansell Healthcare, Mercedes-Benz, consultancies and organisations in Australia, Asia and Europe. Leading-edge skills built around the fundamental principle that, in an era of rapid product and service commoditization, the customer experience matters and is a key driver of competitive advantage. Fully cognizant of the need to synchronize processes, business technology and people to ensure that brand promises are mirrored by reinforcing brand actions. Thrives in “can do”, values-driven organisations which are committed to consumer-focused innovation and making a difference by thinking strategically but acting pragmatically. An accomplished, collaborative business leader and communicator with excellent interpersonal and public speaking capabilities. Key strengths: • Building influence across the business • Harnessing emerging customer trends • Thriving on market and technology change • Differentiating the brand experience • Optimizing the marketing and media mix • Creating and nurturing high-performance teams and relationships Specialties Assets and transferable skills include leadership, strategy development, project management, technology utilization, business process improvement, performance metrics and public speaking. Email: