The problem with articles on CRM (even written on Forbes)… Well, they suck!

howto-write-bad-article

Yes, it is quite brutal to say this, but somebody should. I see a general downward trend of the quality of articles on CRM software. These posts are purely written to ‘capture’ lost people, who are looking for information on CRM, and offer no added value whatsoever. These posts have been made to create content, attract visitors and make the relating website score higher in search ranks. The articles should be removed and deleted, or at least modified to offer some value to the reader.

How can you recognize these kind of articles?

That is easy:

  • They offer no clear source.
  • They mention as many “trending” words as possible.
  • They try to mention as many CRM software systems as possible.
  • They quote as much as possible.
  • They offer no extra insights.

Lets take a look at a few examples of articles.

The 2015 CRM Market Leaders: Enterprise CRM Suite

This article is just full of it. It cites a Gartner report without ever mentioning which report or what source the author has based its research on. This is just bad, real bad. The first sentence of the article is as next:

According to a Gartner report, the CRM software market grew from $20.4 billion in 2013 to $23.2 billion in 2014 (representing 13.3 percent growth).

Are you serious? “A Gartner report”?! Good luck trying to find which report is being cited. But the author was not fully satisfied with is unclear source, so he tried to add some more fuzzy words:

According to analysts, NetSuite has the right steps in mind, evidenced by its high score in company direction (4.1).

Wow, so some analysts have created an analysis which is being used to endorse the credibility of the article. To bad we don’t know which analysis the author is talking about. Moreover, to make the readers feel better, there is an reference to “(4.1)”, as we have no clue what it means whatsoever. But wait, the author is giving us another hint on which material he is using to write his article:

Its software enables companies to reach customers “via multiple touch points and to do so with enterprise-wide intelligence, supported by Microsoft’s Business Analytics platform (PowerBI and Azure Data Services),” Ament said via email.

You did get the email from Ament, did you? We have absolutely no idea whether or not this email has been written as an added comment to “a” report or as a reply on a question from the author of the article or as some internal memo.

This article had almost all of it; vague references unclear citations, buzz words and mentioning of CRM software. I am not even going to mention the total lack of added insights.

11 Terrible CRM Systems For Your Company

The second article is even worse then the previous one. Why? Because it was written in Forbes! Forbes, I tell you! The pinnacle of well written, trusted, journalistic articles. But the piece itself is crap and is one big scam, trying to lure readers with a catchy title and a well written introduction in which the author gives a “full disclosure”.

Thinking of getting a Customer Relationship Management(CRM) application?  Below, I’ve described 11 terrible ones. Sure, they are all popular, affordable and mature.  In fact, my company (full disclosure) sells and services five of them (Salesforce, GoldMine,Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ZohoCRM and Nimble).  And given their features and functionality you’d think they’d be great tools for so many small and medium sized companies.  But they’re not.  They are all terrible.

So as a reader you are going “oh well, I am not quite sure which CRM to take, but if I know which ones are the worst, I can avoid those”. Next, you read the whole article, to discover that you have been fooled big time by the author. Lets skip to the end of the article;

Each and every one of these applications are excellent in their own way and I wish I had enough internal resources to offer them all to my clients.  But unfortunately they are all also terrible. Why?  It’s not why.  It’s when.

They are terrible when they are not implemented the right way.   They are terrible when companies don’t appreciate that all of these magical applications are nothing but databases and don’t put the right processes in place to ensure that all interactions are entered into this database so that the data can be properly used for further sales, marketing and service interactions. …

Wait, what? You first wrote all the good things about the CRM systems, even mentioning your company is selling them, but at the end of the road they are actually all fine and the only problem is everything except the software itself? Then why the hell did you wrote such a title?

This second article had less vague references then the first one, but is just one big scam. Trying to lure readers with a title which misrepresents the content.

Conclusion

Quite a simple conclusion; the authors of these kind of articles should be ashamed of their work. They are better of using their time writing a decent piece of work and adding some value to the world of CRM.

5 Comments

  1. Well, let’s be fair, that’s a problem with the rise of clickbait articles all over the internet, not just CRM. Buzzfeed is a perfect example of the phenomenon. It adds nothing of value itself, it simply repackages up other content into “lists” and reposts it. And now that we’re coming into an age where companies are using AI rather than people to write articles, it’s like to get worse before it gets better.

    On the plus side, that same advance of AI might hopefully allow Google and Microsoft to add “insight” as a criterion into their search algorithms. What a brave new world it will be when we have AI writers competing to be the most insightful so that AI search engines will rank them higher. 😉

  2. Koen, I think you’re not being entirely fair with the judgement on the CRM Magazine article on 2015 CRM Market Leaders. First of all, you have to understand that it’s a MAGAZINE. The link that you have included in your post points to just one of the categories in the broader article that in a printed magazine would start from the first page “The 2015 CRM Market Leaders” found at http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/The-2015-CRM-Market-Leaders-105501.aspx . On this page you’ll find an explanation of 1) what the methodology for this analysis was (i.e. what that “4.1” actually means) and 2) who the CRM market analysts are that have contributed towards collecting the results.

    Sure, the CMS that destinationcrm.com is using for publishing the content from CRM Magazine could do a much better job of presenting the context of each page and showing a hierarchy of articles that would match the print version’s index. If you land on the page that describes just one of the categories in the Market Leader Awards, it will not be immediately obvious what the context of that article is. However, I bet that if you would have invested some of the time it took to write this blog post into exploring what the CRM Magazine is, how they’ve been organizing the Market Leaders award for 14 years now and who’s in the panel for evaluating the software and consulting service providers included, you might not have included it as an example of low quality CRM journalism.

    You have some excellent Dynamics CRM posts on your blog that I enjoy reading, but I think you might not have thoroughly understood why the broader context of customer relationship management solutions for business decision makers also deserves coverage in online publications. Sure, the Forbes article is much more “clickbait” in its style of writing, but its conclusions are very much in line with what I believe most seasoned CRM consultants would tell to their clients: out of the holy CRM trinity of people-process-technology, the software selection is actually the least significant factor in determining whether your CRM initiative will be successful or not.

    The thing is, I don’t actually disagree with you on the statement you make about the flood of low quality CRM articles that are being produced in these days of mindless content marketing strategies. Far too many blog posts are being written on CRM just because there is an editorial schedule in place or KPI’s set on how certain keywords and links need to be included in articles. However, the two examples that you’ve chosen here are in my honest opinion not at all descriptive of this phenomenon. Sure, the CRM articles that are written from the business perspective may sound quite “fluffy” if you’re used to reading mostly technology focused content around a specific CRM product. Also, Forbes these days isn’t a “seal of quality” by any means, since they do unfortunately compete on the same clickbait market as Business Insider and other similar publications.

    Regardless of your initial negative experience, I would encourage you to explore some of the articles from CRM Magazine, to gain a better understanding of what’s the perspective from which they cover customer relationship management. Even though I also personally spend much of my time online reading Dynamics CRM product specific content, I’ve been keeping an eye on destinationcrm.com for the past 10 years I’ve worked in the field of CRM and have found some great insights from the articles they publish. Also, if you look up the group of analysts that have been involved in the 2015 Market Leaders Awards voting, you’ll find some excellent thought leaders in the CRM space that have blogs and Twitter feeds well worth following. Putting aside some time for reading about this “other side of CRM” on a regular basis would be a great way for any functional or technical Dynamics CRM consultant to broaden their view on how the technology we implement for our customers aligns with their business realities.

    1. Hi Jukka,

      honored to receive such a comment from you, it is almost bigger than my post 😉 .

      I must admit, after re-reading the article and keeping your comment in mind, that I have “jumped the gun” a few times. Based on the URL you mentioned, I did some research in destinationcrm and I must say; you are correct. Looking up the bigger picture of the article, things became much more comprehensible.

      Furthermore, I’m happy the point I was trying to make came through, nonetheless the examples I used could (or should) be better, for which I do apologize.

      Any other interesting sources you want to share to the readers of the blog (or to me)?

      1. You’re welcome, Koen! If anyone is interested in following the writings of some of the top analysts who’ve also contributed to the Market Leaders Awards, then https://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/ would be a site worth visiting. It does cover enterprise software in an even broader perspective, but being a collection of shorter blog posts, it’s a lot more “digestible” than CRM Magazine which can feel a bit too heavy to read at times (certainly more suitable for casual browsing on a mobile device).

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