Saturday, March 1, 2008

"The train wreck you can't look away from."

There has been a great deal of discussion about the contents of this blog. One individual complimented my site and my research, but likened it to "A train wreck that you can't look away from." He is experiencing the same response that I did when I discovered "The CRM Dilemma."

Once I discovered the existence of the CRM Dilemma, I knew the CRM implementation I was leading, would fail. Not because we were focusing on activity controls, but because we weren't focusing on removing all activity controls. At that moment, I knew I was looking at an impending train wreck, unless I could explain the CRM Dilemma so convincingly, that we would change the focus of our implementation. It didn't work! Thus the warning I provide about the danger of presenting "The CRM Dilemma" too early.

I have told friends that the moment I finished the presentation of my research, I knew I was finished.

If you believe this research, it becomes very difficult to look at an impending CRM implementation the same way. If "The CRM Dilemma" really is the answer to the CRM failure question, it means that I am a genius, that has discovered that which we really didn't want to know in the first place.

My discovery means that the CRM failure rate for sales reps could be far higher than has ever been reported.

I really look forward to implementing a PACT solution to prove or disprove the value I believe it can bring to a company. I know that removing activity controls from the equation, resolves the CRM Dilemma.

I continue to be amazed how many people are visiting this blog and I thank you for your emails. Please continue to share this blog with your collegues.

Best Regards
Arne Huse

Friday, February 29, 2008

24) 100% CRM Compliance

I discovered a web site where Charles Cohon claims to have 100% compliance in CRM usage by his sales reps. He says he accomplished this through a number of methods including all CRM input being done over the telephone, which is transcript by someone and entered into CRM. He also said he promised his reps, that NOTHING they enter, would ever be used against them.

I find this an interesting story as it really goes to what I have been saying about The CRM Dilemma. If Mr. Cohon has indeed achieved 100% compliance, I think it is much more about the promise of impunity, than the methodology. What I am advocating is to remove "Low Card" activities, which is what he must have done as well. There is little sense in gathering data you never intend to use. If you ask a rep to record how many calls they are making, why bother if you can never tell that person they aren't making enough calls?

The promise without action is useless to overcome "The CRM Dilemma," as I discovered in my own CRM implementation. I was employed by a company that did not in any way have a culture of accountability. The implementation of CRM was in no way designed to bring more accountability to our sales force. And yet, the moment sales reps saw "Activity type" drop downs and various "Tick boxes," they surmised (With good reason) that higher accountability was on the way with CRM.

Fortunately for them, they were very quickly able to abandon CRM and go on with their own private systems once again.

I can only assume that Mr. Cohon has a very small sales force with no other managers to louse up his promise of impunity. This is not the case at most companies and all it takes is one manager holding performance data, (that a sales rep has provided) up to the face of that sales rep. The news spreads like wildfire and the gaming would begin in earnest. Of course "The CRM Dilemma" rarely lets it get this far because there is no "Trust before distrust" when it comes to activity controls.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

23) The user view versus the company view

I came across a very interesting website for a GPS tracking system for vehicles called GPSMate.

This company has two products for sale. The first product is for individuals, the second is for companies. I am going to paste the details of each and then discuss the specific language used to target each audience. Both products are designed for the reporting of driving activities. I will change the font on the points for discussion to Bold Red.

What is BuddyTracker? BuddyTracker is an online service for GPS tracking and position sharing. offers buddy tracking and vehicle tracking services and many integrations to third party applications.
With BuddyTracker you can follow people and objects that have a GPS with an Internet connection. You can also share your own position by connecting your GPS to

Note: You are always in control as you decide if you want to be seen, and who you are visible to!

Product number 2 for companies VehicleTracker
GpsGate VehicleTracker is a web based vehicle tracking application. It is available both as a hosted solution at and as a server product. If you are looking for your own vehicle tracker installation have a look at our GpsGate Server here.

With VehicleTracker operators can follow their vehicles in real-time and display historical track information for selected vehicles. Track data can be exported in KML and CSV (Excel) formats for further processing.Access rights are defined for each operator for a set of vehicles and each operator has a personal account for security and flexibility reasons.You can also get read access to your database, the possibility to translate and re-brand your user interface as an option.

Fascinating language

I think this web site has done an excellent job of defining the view of CRM, from the perspective of the user and the company.

User Language: The term "Buddy" is a friendly term containing no element of threat. You can "Share your position" infers you have complete choice over this decision to again lower the threat level of this product. In case you don't quite believe this, there is a final, separate point, highlighted by an exclamation, that provides comfort in knowing that you can always turn the system off, and decide who sees where you are.

Company Language: We aren't tracking our "Buddies" (People) anymore, now we are tracking "Our vehicles".

For "Security and flexibility reasons", our company can deny access to the the system by operators of our vehicles. The "Comfort language" here, is that we can keep people from turning off the ability to track our vehicles, or see the information we are recording.

Now, I know that GPS transmitters are used in trucks all over the world and these systems offer huge benefits. If I was a driver, on a highway, with a load of plasma TVs, it would also be comforting to know that my company knew where I was. I am also sure that in today's tight labor market, companies spend little time harassing drivers over frequent bathroom breaks. In companies that have chosen to monitor human behavior with GPS tracking, I wonder if drivers have employed "Gaming" techniques, but I have no concept of what they might be.

Users want to be able to avoid tracking, and companies are seen as wanting to enforce tracking, because users want to be able to avoid tracking.

22) Oh, what a tattered web we weave...

As I have written before, my discovery of "The CRM Dilemma" did not come from CRM. I was simply seeking answers on why my fellow sales people had lied to me, when they said they would use CRM. Because I am an INTJ, I knew the answer must be outside the boundaries of what I was being told.

As I said in my research, I began to discover the secret hidden within the aversion to activity controls (Knowing the steps someone takes to achieve a known outcome). I looked at sports stars, chess players, taxi drivers, doctors, and many other groups, to determine the lengths that people will go, in order to have their activities not be controlled.

Because I also ultimately want CRM to work because I believe in it, I looked at possible ways to force CRM users, to get past "The CRM Dilemma" and use it, despite their fears. Once again, to find the answer we look outside the realm of CRM itself.

As I considered my last post, I began to think about the amount of time and energy it would have taken, for my contractor friend to hide his activities and mistakes from our reporting capabilities. I would also like to consider methods that could be used to ensure accurate reporting by our contractor. Remember, although we know the true reason for the resistance to this reporting, it will never be stated by him. I would also like you to consider the amount of time, energy, and money, spent on each step.

Remember: The goal of the system deployed to this contractor is to increase efficiency and profits for both him and us. No where is it stated in our goal, that we wish to bring punitive actions against him, for inefficiency, or using too much lumber.

What the contractor would do:
First line of defense - Excuses
  • "It takes too long to record each cut"
  • "The laptop is impossible to keep clean in a construction environment"
  • "The software is too complicated"
  • "The software is too slow"
Our response:
Address the concerns and provide solutions
  • Move to a weatherproof, handheld device
  • "Always on" software
  • Provide additional training and job site support
Contractor step 2: Promise to try the new tools and provide feedback.

Contractor step 3: Let the gaming begin!
The contractor has convinced himself, that despite our assurances of the system being to his benefit, what we are really looking for are ways to measure HIM. He has arranged with another contractor friend on the same system, that they will share lumber when required, in order to improve "Their numbers." They have also figured out that if they buy a few boards with their own money, they can improve their odds of winning the yearly prize for the "Most efficient contractor." The award will more than compensate them for any lumber purchased. They have also agreed to split the prize money.
They are now maintaining a spread sheet to keep track of the lumber, but it is becoming more difficult to keep it all straight.

The reports aren't making any sense
We are finding discrepancies in the amount of cuts reported, versus the amount of lumber being used. Because we require accurate information in order to achieve or efficiency goals, we look for additional tools to ensure more accurate reporting of lumber and cuts.

New tools are required
We discover that a company has produced a new saw that will automatically records cuts made, and upload the information each day to our database . By adding RFID chips to all the lumber, we can get an accurate picture and decrease the effort by our contractors in providing the information. The new saws are purchased, our suppliers have agreed to add RFID chips to lumber, and our contractors are trained on the new system. The contractors say they like the fact that less effort is required to record the information.

The contractors have to step up their gaming efforts
The contractors continue their lumber swapping and side purchasing of lumber. Several of the contractors have been reporting problems with the new saws and have said they have to keep their old saws around, because they are reliable and trusted. One saw per job simply isn't enough anyways. With the new saws reporting cuts and the old ones not, reporting is now becoming even more eratic. The contractors have demanded they receive additional and better quality saws that they can rely on.

It isn't difficult to determine what is going to be the end result in this hypothetical situation. The bottom line it seems, is there is not a snowball's chance in hell that the contractors are going to provide the information we are looking for. Each move by us will receive an effective counter-move by the contractors.
  • We will receive no pay back or benefit
  • The contractors will receive no benefit from the tools
  • From day one, the contractors had decided the new system was never designed to benefit them and it had to be defeated
  • Distrust on both sides will increase
  • An incredible amount of energy will be spent instead of focusing on building houses and making money
  • A huge amount of money will be spent by us, to address objections that were not really at the heart of the problem

In my last post, my contractor friend had said that if we could provide him with an effective Planning and Communication Tool, (PACT) it would be of true benefit to him. Since our original goal of efficiency and profits could be achieved, without monitoring lumber cuts, why would we not take activity controls out altogether?

21) Explaining my research to someone that has never heard of CRM

Last night, a friend of mine asked me to explain my research into "The CRM Dilemma." My friend builds houses for a living, rarely uses a computer, and has never heard of CRM. I used the following analogy:

We want to know how many cuts you are making each day, to ensure you are building houses efficiently. By understanding how many cuts you are making, we will be able to help you streamline some of the processes and help you make more profit by reducing waste.
Please begin to record each cut, the size of wood, and where the board is going.

"What if I make a mistake in cutting a board?" he asked.

I told him he should record that too, so we can help him minimize those mistakes in the future.

Then I asked my friend what he thought would happen.
Interestingly, he didn't talk about the time it would take to record each cut and how that would interfere with the amount of time he spent, actually building.

He was more concerned that he would feel very uncomfortable with having efficiency reports run on his activities. Although my friend is one of the most honest people I know, he said he would probably not record most errors he made. He said he would use the boards cut in error in other places (As he does now) but find ways to report it in such a way, that we wouldn't know it was actually a bad cut. I explained that this would mean the reports would not be valid and we would not be able to help him improve if he didn't tell the truth. He said he simply wasn't going to tell us every mistake he made, or every detail, so that we could figure out how many mistakes he made.
I had turned my highly skilled, honest friend into a gamer and a liar.

My friend now understands "The CRM Dilemma" perfectly!

PACT explained to my friend using the same analogy:
Instead of recording each cut, we want to help you plan your cuts, before you build a house. You can select from various reports that will provide each suggested cut, and also suggest where the end piece can be used. If a mistake cut is made, the software will allow you to search for the best place to put the board, without registering it as a bad cut. At the end of the project, you can evaluate how using this model improved your profit.

The software will also allow you to quickly pass "Next steps" onto your sub contractors so everyone will know what they need to do to complete the job.

My friend thought this was much better than monitoring his cuts and he said the second system is one he would actually use.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

19) What is said - How They read it

To follow, I will copy key benefits of CRM noted on two software-provider web sites. Following each key benefit, I will list what needs to happen to accomplish each benefit, and what your sales force is reading into these statements. If your CRM system sits unused, look to what is NOT being said as the true culprit.
I am in no way saying your company does not have the right to ask or require this information from your sales reps. I am trying to show how "The CRM Dilemma" causes reps to do everything in their power to defeat or circumvent CRM. To date, sales reps have been exceptional at avoiding "carrying the stick with which they are to be beaten."

MS CRM (What they say)

"Improve field-service performance"
"Microsoft tools for field service management allow you to track the activity and results of individual field representatives or teams, identify any issues, and increase performance. When managed with the help of Microsoft solutions, the delivery of field service, maintenance, or sales might yield even better results, and drive more income, than it does today."

What has to happen: Activities and results cannot be "Tracked" unless they are first recorded by field personnel. "Issues" cannot be identified unless the information is accurately provided.

What your sales people read but do not say:
Microsoft tools for field service management allow you to track my activities and my results. Identify any areas where I am not doing my job, and increase my performance through closer scrutiny . When I am managed with the help of Microsoft solutions, my delivery of field service, maintenance, or sales might yield even better results, and drive more income, than it does today. "If I don't provide the information about my activities, my activities can't be tracked."

"Are you neglecting any customers? Run a report to find out"
"To build lasting relationships, you must check in with leads, opportunities, and customers regularly. You can use the Neglected Accounts, Neglected Leads, and Neglected Cases default reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 to identify contacts, or you can create your own report using Microsoft Office Excel 2003."

What your sales people read, but do not say: If I am neglecting any customers, you can run a report in CRM to find out. "If I don't provide the information, these reports cannot be run against me." (What they say)

Territory management. With the territory management capabilities in Salesforce, you can easily define,
administer, analyze, and change sales territories to match your sales organization, no matter how complex it is or
how frequently it evolves.

What your sales people read, but do not say: If you want to strike fear in the hearts of your sales force, just mention the words "Territory realignment." "The CRM Dilemma" is epitomized in the words "administer, analyze, track, change, and define."

Opportunity management. Opportunity management enables sales teams to work together to close deals faster
by providing a single place for updating deal information, tracking opportunity milestones, and recording all
opportunity-related interactions
. Salesforce can be customized to fit your internal sales methodologies and
processes, making it easier for your managers to monitor their sales pipelines.

All these items are required to be recorded by the sales reps themselves. They do not just "Appear" in reports unless sales reps feel secure in entering the information. Since most of these points would be considered "Low Cards" by sales reps, the fear of providing this information overrides any perceived benefit in doing so.

Monday, February 25, 2008

18) Contact Management to CRM - Harder than you think!

I purchased my first computer back in 1994. It was a lightening fast, Toshiba 486 laptop. I believe I paid more for that Toshiba, than the Dell XPS 1330 I am typing this post on today.

I bought my laptop back in 1994 for one reason; to manage my customer relationships. I remember the day I spent loading Maximizer, using the nine floppy disks that I paid a small fortune for. I spent quite a bit of time entering all my customers into my Maximizer database. I installed Winfax, bought my first Palm Pilot and I was all set. Imagine, I could write a newsletter to my customers, push a button, and each of them would receive a personalized fax, with the newsletter. I became the star of the sales department and then I was asked to take over a senior territory. My sales manager, knowing that I had been keeping a database, asked me to share it with the new sales rep moving into my position. You'd have thought that he was asking for a kidney! This was my database, on my laptop. Of course I did the right thing, I printed a copy of my database, with the last five customer notes - Mr. Generous!

The CRM Champion

When a company is rolling out CRM, they will often look for their "CRM champions" in those reps that have been using contact management effectively. From an organizational change perspective, it would seem to make sense that those that are used to entering customer notes into ACT, or Goldmine, should have no problem transitioning to CRM.

I can tell you from personal experience; It was the ACT and Goldmine users I looked for to be super users for the CRM implementation. These users of course said it was "Great" that we could use Scribe to import their databases into CRM. Once again, "The CRM Dilemma" had a huge hand to play in the minds of these technologically advanced sales reps. I now know the planning had begun for these reps to defeat CRM. The clues were provided in their statements and questions:
  • "CRM needs to be as easy to use, as my ACT system."
  • "Can I make notes in CRM private?"
  • "I have many customized fields in ACT that I need."
  • "Who is going to be able to see what I put into CRM?"
  • "I will probably keep my Goldmine database in case CRM goes down."
  • "I need offline access to my information."

These are very natural things for people in this situation to say. Because we are confident in the superior technology of CRM, we promise that all these needs will be met.

While contact managers can be set up for the information to be shared in a small group, they are primarily designed for single-client use.

The UNSPOKEN, and most important differences - Here's what your contact management users aren't saying:

  • "Because I alone see what I put into my ACT database, I only record "High Card" activities."
  • "I like that I have admin rights over the information I record in Goldmine."
  • "I like that if I am asked to share ACT information, I can do so selectively."
  • "I like that I decide what to enter about my activities"

Because of "The CRM Dilemma," the spoken will become the database of excuses, for the unspoken.

Challenge: Since you are reading this, I will assume you have CRM in place that few, if any, sales reps are using. Run CRM activity reports on "super users" that were previously using contact management. I am pretty sure you will find very low usage rates among those that were supposed to be your champions. Unfortunately, "The CRM Dilemma" says that the requirement to enter "Low Card" activities, spoiled all the fun for these key users. They have the advantage of determining all their excuses in advance for not using CRM. Send a link to this blog out selectively and ask for opinions on it. You will be amazed (As I was) at the response once the truth about the "Unspoken" is revealed.

The PACT Difference

By removing the fear of "Low Card," quantitative activity reporting, vast new tools can be provided through PACT, for the contact management user.