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Not Being Realistic


Imagine the ramp-up months leading to a massive rollout of modern CRM systems. Amidst the preparations, a group of internal onlookers discovered a shocking truth about the outsourced CRM project discovery and deployment team—they were inept. 

Initially, the onlookers saw this as an opportunity to educate the project leaders further and surpass their definition of success. However, they soon realized that the leaders had different motivations. Their primary concern was to avoid being schooled or making disruptive changes that could rock their perception of a smoothly sailing ship. They sought peace of mind, recognition for their decision to implement CRMs, and the assurance that they had provided a valuable toolset for the global staff. There was also a desire to get the work done and get paid. Unfortunately, these subtle nuances went unnoticed, leading to disastrous consequences.



The incident unfolded as the ineptitude of the outsourced CRM project team became apparent. Their lack of expertise and understanding of the organization's goals and unique requirements became evident as the ramp-up months progressed. What initially seemed like an opportunity to educate and surpass expectations became an uphill battle. The leaders, blinded by their desire for recognition and a frictionless deployment, resisted any suggestion of change or additional guidance.



The result of neglecting these subtleties and misjudging the true motivations of the leaders was catastrophic. The consequences of the inept CRM project deployment team's actions and the resistance to education and adaptation became apparent in the following ways:

Underutilized CRMs; The global staff did not effectively utilize the CRMs due to insufficient training and guidance. The leaders' unwillingness to learn and adapt resulted in missed opportunities to leverage the full potential of the CRMs.

Failed Rollout; The large-scale rollout of modern CRMs, which held the promise of streamlining operations and enhancing productivity, fell flat. The lack of expertise and resistance to change led to a subpar deployment that did not fulfill its intended purpose.

Damaged Trust and Morale; The failure of the CRM implementation eroded trust among the staff. Employees became disillusioned, questioning the leadership's decision-making and commitment to supporting their teams with practical tools and processes.


Lessons Learned:

This incident highlighted several critical lessons organizations should consider when deploying CRMs:

Proper Due Diligence; Thoroughly vet and assess any external teams or vendors involved in the CRM implementation. Evaluate their expertise, alignment with your organization's goals, and ability to adapt to unique requirements.

Align Expectations; Communicate with project leaders and stakeholders to ensure a shared understanding of what success looks like. Identify and incorporate their motivations into the project plan while advocating for the necessary education and flexibility to achieve optimal outcomes.

Emphasize Change Management:;Implement a comprehensive change management strategy that accounts for the resistance to change that may arise from leaders focused on peace of mind rather than growth. Addressing this resistance through education, communication, and support is vital for successful adoption.


What Should Have Been Done Differently?:

To avoid the consequences faced in this incident, the organization could have taken a different approach:

Hire A Much More Competent and Caring Implementor With Deeper Engagement; The internal onlookers should have engaged more closely with them instead of assuming that the outsourced CRM project team would meet their expectations. By actively participating in the discovery and deployment phases, they could have identified ineptitude early on and provided additional guidance.

Managing Expectations; It was crucial to have frank discussions with the leaders regarding their motivations and desires for the CRM implementation. The organization could have fostered a more collaborative and receptive environment by addressing their concerns and clearly defining the expected benefits.

Educating Leadership; Recognizing the resistance to change, efforts should have been made to educate and communicate the value of CRM beyond just providing a toolset. Demonstrating how CRM adoption can improve efficiency, revenue growth, and better customer relationships could have helped align the leaders' motivations with the project's goals.


Organizations can enhance their chances of successful CRM implementation by being vigilant, aligning expectations, embracing change management, and reaping the benefits of improved sales processes and customer relationships.

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