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CRM Failures, The Numbers Don't Lie

Reports of high CRM software implementation failure rates are legendary. Analysts such as AMR, Gartner, Forrester Research and IDC have been seriously studying the problem for over a decade and each has issued alarming failure statistics along the way. A few sobering citations follow.

  • 2001 Gartner Group: 50%+ CRM failure rate

  • 2002 Butler Group: 70% CRM failure rate

  • 2002 Selling Power: CSO Forum: 69.3% CRM failure rate

  • 2005 AMR Research: 18% CRM failure rate

  • 2006 AMR Research: 31% CRM failure rate

  • 2007 AMR Research: 29% CRM failure rate

  • 2007 Economist Intelligence Unit: 56% CRM failure rate

  • 2009 Forrester Research: 47% CRM failure rate

  • 2015 Venturebeat: As many as 70 percent of CRM implementations fail

  • 2016 DMN News: Research turns up CRM failure rates as high as 63%

  • 2017 CIO magazine: One-third of all customer relationship management (CRM) projects fail

  • 2018 Small Business Genius: The CRM failure rate was between 18% and 69%.

  • 2019 Business2Community: Studies show failure rates between 47% and 63% for new CRMs

Definitions of success vary as well. Pure ROI calculations may indicate failure whereas the CRM software may be successful in other ways, such as growing top line revenues, improving the customer experience or decreasing customer churn. Another reason for high CRM failure statistics is that due to more recent poor economic conditions many executives who participate in surveys are compelled to take a shorter view of success based on quarterly reports. Still, by any definition, CRM success rates are far from ideal, and no one initiates a CRM deployment with mixed results in mind.

When digging down below the surface in an effort to more precisely diagnose the problem, the closer analysis reveals a more complex situation—and several common characteristics. Several research studies show that large enterprises deploying comprehensive CRM systems have greater failure rates than small and mid-sized companies implementing more modest applications. Companies which pursue big bang implementations clearly experience more failures than companies staging progressively phased implementations. Decentralized companies fail more than centrally managed organizations.

Common failure characteristics have been identified, yet still CRM failures are far from the exception.

Understanding the causes of the top cited CRM failures at an operational level can provide powerful lessons to steer your implementation away from danger. We've taken the research and brought it down another level—to a level where a project manager or project team can view the top cited causes of CRM failures and the corresponding mitigating actions, or CRM solutions, to achieve success.



CRM from Hell





About CRM From Hell

This site examines the top causes and most cited factors that contribute to CRM software failures in order to share mitigating factors and clear strategies that avert failure and capitalize on the promise and potential of Customer Relationship Management.






Through 2016, more than 50 percent of all CRM implementations will be viewed as failures from a customer's point of view."

~ Gartner



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