After years of keeping track of things in Excel, JCDecaux decided a couple of years ago that it was time to implement a CRM system. Why? Because the organisation’s data was scattered across several silos. This made it practically impossible for sales and marketing management to make use of key figures like Return On Investment and Customer Lifetime Value. It was time for a change. The purpose of the new CRM system? Higher turnover through data-driven decision-making.
The parent company was already working with Microsoft Dynamics, so the Dutch sales team decided to go for the same software. No time or effort was spared to ensure successful implementation. And yet... It fell short. Three years later the implementation was completed, but the CRM system was just collecting dust. The Excel sheets refused to yield, and everything went on just the same.
What went wrong in the user adoption? Bart de Vries, Commercial Director at JCDecaux, explains: ‘Our sales team consists of a lot of Apple generation professionals. They place high demands on tools, such as ease of use. It has to be fast, simple and ‘swipeable’, and meet young people’s needs. Microsoft Dynamics didn’t meet these needs. And as with any change, another issue was that we were changing something. People don’t like that. At least, not if the change didn’t help them get ahead. We went from simple Excel sheets to what users experienced as a complex CRM system. And from a situation where salespeople had a great deal of freedom, to one where everything was measurable, and in their eyes ‘controllable’. We faced a lot of pushback.
After three years struggling with the ‘new’ CRM, Bart decided to change course: ‘The need for a modern CRM system was obvious, but I no longer believed Microsoft Dynamics was the single definitive solution for JCDecaux. This was no easy choice for the organisation. Microsoft Dynamics does offer loads of functionality, but it just didn’t work out for us.’ The project wasted a great deal of time and money. ‘Tuition money as I like to call it. We learned a lot of valuable lessons, but knew the next CRM project needed a totally different approach.