CRM failure (and how to avoid it)


A CRM failure is every company’s biggest fear when it comes to implementing a new system.  In fact, a fear of failure is often the biggest roadblock to a company agreeing to undertake a CRM implementation.  After all, the failure rate is well established and intimidating. But, you don’t have to be one of the 63% if you do things right. You can save your CRM project by simply doing your research heading in and doing your work to make sure you get the buy-in needed.  The problem isn’t the software. The benefits of more efficient workflows, better lead tracking, a 360-degree customer view and powerful dashboard views, etc. are intuitive. The issue comes from a failure to properly plan and implement.  

Here are 5 reasons why a CRM implementation project may fail and how to avoid them:  

1. Not doing your homework 

You are not a CRM expert. You have a business to run and you don’t have the time to learn all that you need to know to ensure the software implementation is a success – that’s the job of your partner, so if the project fails a big part of why is on them.      

So, it’s important to pick the right partner. It’s also important to be prepared to divorce a partner if they aren’t doing what they promised.  It’s better to cut bait and find a partner that can help you save your CRM project than it is to stay loyal to a lost cause.   

Look for a partner that has a long history of success and is recognized by Microsoft with Gold certification, or Inner Circle membership. Ask for references and case studies and make sure you are both on the same page at every touch point in the project.   

2. A failure to understand why 

One of the most common issues is failure to understand why exactly you are implementing a CRM in the first place. 

Too many companies think a CRM is a magic bullet that will cure all your problems. It can help, but you need to know what pain points you are trying to solve to effectively do so.  Before starting a project, you should have a clear focus on what you are trying to accomplish. That way you can draw a better roadmap to success! 

3. C-Levels need to be A-OK! 

In larger companies, a CRM change will often be driven from an operations or IT level – the people getting their hands dirty day-in-day-out. They will see the need for a change. The benefits will be obvious and will drive the demand for an upgrade.    

But, you need a buy in from the full executive leadership. If you don’t have this support, things can go sideways, quickly.  They need to be fully on board to support you in the roll out of the software.  

It’s vital that engage key decision makers and stakeholder at the early stage. You need to show the key benefits and potential challenges. Transparency is vital to ensuring the project’s success. Have your partner demonstrate the power of the software to them in terms that make sense for your business. 

4. Staff don’t buy in 

People are creatures of habit. Your staff are no different.  

They have been doing their jobs in a certain way for years – decades, even! They have a system that works for them and asking them to change their routines is not an easy ask. This is especially the case with sales professionals, who are reluctant to spend additional time doing tasks that aren’t directly related to selling. 

We know that effectively using the CRM is sales related in that it is going to lead to more sales. However, we need to show that to the people that will be using it on a day-to-day basis.  It’s vital that end users be included in a CRM implementation early on in the process.  By doing that they will see the value and understand that the software will make their job easier. 

And, once the system is live, make sure you spend the right amount of time training staff on how to use it. An extra day in the training room will more than make up for itself down the road in increased efficiency and buy in.       

5. Unrealistic expectations between needs and wants 

Buying a CRM is a lot like going to a buffet. You are presented with a multitude of options and they all look great.  

They all taste great too. But, just because the prime rib, BBQ chicken and double cheese lasagna are all wonderful doesn’t mean that you won’t regret eating them all in the same sitting. Sometimes less is more.  

It’s the same with your CRM. Even though there are multiple functions available, you probably only need a portion of them to solve your pain points. A good partner won’t try and oversell you on features, but will rather work to provide you with a solution that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and overwhelmed.    

With more than 20 years’ experience in the CRM field, CRM Dynamics prides itself on working with clients to ensure that their project is as successful as envisioned once it is live. We have also worked with multiple clients who were unhappy with the work other venders provided. We save CRM projects gone wrong. 

If you have concerns that you are not getting the most out of your CRM, give us a call today. Or, better yet, start with us from the beginning and let us use our experience to help you get the full power of Dynamics 365.   

Duane Rollins

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