There are significant advantages to having a functional customer relationship management (CRM) system. It gives you real-time visibility into your operations, helps you serve your existing clients better, and helps you reach more and more customers in meaningful ways. Every business has many moving parts. A CRM will bring everything together into one cohesive structure that is much easier to manage.
That is the ideal situation. When a CRM implementation fails, given the size and complexity of such an undertaking, it leaves a business effectively crippled. The new system will hamper operations, productivity will tank, and the company will have spent enormous resources to implement it, thus inevitably have to spend more to fix the problem.
In this article, we take a look at some of the biggest CRM problems, and why CRMs fail.
Why does CRM implementation fail?
According to Crm.org, about 91% of companies with 10+ employees use CRM. Half of these companies say they have certain difficulties using their CRM.
The importance of choosing a solution that is the right fit for your organization cannot be exaggerated. It isn’t always the case that the most popular, feature-rich application you can afford will work for you. There are many considerations that have to be made before you make your choice. There are pitfalls that have tripped up many organizations and resulted in expensive mistakes. Let’s take a look at a few:
9 Challenges of CRM Implementation
Choosing The Right System
You need to ensure that the solution fits your business model, or if it doesn’t, can be modified to. Make sure it produces all the reports, tools, automation features, and any other requirements you have. You also want to ensure your existing staff are willing and able to work with the software. Do they have the necessary skills to work with your proposed solution? If the change proves disruptive to their workflows, you may suffer a drop in morale and productivity that will harm your operations.
Approving with Management
While the benefits of a CRM system may be clear for all to see, getting management to okay such a large-scale investment may not be that easy. Decision-makers may not feel it is worth the hassle, they might balk at the price tag, or, given the fact that some benefits are difficult to quantify before implementation, they may just feel that the possible return on investment is not worth the risk. In many cases, there is just an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
The key in most cases lies in the presentation of the solution. Make sure that its value specifically for your organization is adequately demonstrated. You can trial parts of the solution, and show the time and cost savings you would get if you scaled it across the company. You can also show how efficiency improvements might give your business a competitive advantage. You can show existing problems, how they are harming the performance of the company, and demonstrate how your proposal would solve this problem.
Cost and Time
Making a comprehensive change to the way your company works is bound to be a challenging process. For a CRM to be effective, it will affect essentially every mission-critical process within your organization. Getting this set up and tuned to your requirements will cost you time and money. These are important considerations to bear in mind as you plan for this change. There may be additional costs beyond just license or subscription fees. Will your staff require training? Do you need to purchase additional hardware? Are there other implementation or maintenance costs? Do you need to hire additional staff for the administration of your chosen solution? Will there be disruptions to your business operations?
Choosing a Deployment Type
One of the considerations to keep in mind is how you plan to deploy your system. Is it a cloud based solution? In which case you have to consider the costs of running your platform on a SaaS basis. This has its benefits, as you will not need additional infrastructure or staff to handle the maintenance of server hardware and software. On the other hand, a local implementation will mean extra work and resources but complete control over your data.
Getting Team to Use the CRM Instead of Old Software
Getting used to a new way of doing things can be extremely frustrating. In a work environment where there are deadlines, expectations, and consequences for failure to perform, this may just prove to be too much. So changing the organizational culture and getting your staff to buy into the new solution is absolutely essential. The final users of the platform are very often left out of the decision-making process altogether. They are simply expected to adapt to the new changes. However, it is arguably even more important to convince them of the value of doing things differently than it is to persuade top management. Ensure you communicate clearly how the CRM system will help them. Assure them of support and training to ensure the process is seamless for them. Plan for possible overtime and ensure that everyone is on board before you make changes. Otherwise people will simply revert to old processes to ensure they deliver what is expected of them in their roles.
The importance of training, and the consequences of a lack thereof, are obvious and need no explanation. However, training is crucial not only to ensure the new system is being used efficiently and correctly, but to also motivate your staff to support the change. For many employees, learning a new skill is a step forwards in their career path and a source of motivation. They are adding new skills to their profiles and this is beneficial to them personally, and not just to the company. The end result is a win-win for all parties involved. If you can inspire your staff to jump onto the new solution, this will help the transition become more seamless. When training is complete you will have more skilled staff operating a system that levels up your efficiency and output.
Companies typically depend on an array of systems to support their business operations. A CRM system is supposed to hoover up all the data from these different places and organize it in a way that adds value to your business and makes it better. That, depending on the structure of the organization, can be quite a task.
To avoid headaches, ensure that the platform you choose supports integration with the solutions your company is running, or that migration from those systems is both beneficial and possible. If it is technically difficult, get skilled and experienced expertise to help you handle the change.
Handling Data Security
Data Security has implications beyond the simple running of the organization and risks of losing data. There compliance and regulatory requirements that must be met to safeguard the personal information that is handled and stored. Migrating to a CRM, you need to ensure your new solution is compliant with laws. The best way to do this is to have experts help you implement your solution.
Data Organization & Access
The operating model of every business is different. There are similarities on a general scale but the details of who requires access to what, as well as the access privileges granted to different roles within the company vary. This adds a layer of complexity to the implementation of a solution. Either you shift responsibilities between roles to fit the model that your chosen CRM has, or you modify the solution to work with your structure. The ideal scenario is the latter. Again, ensure you have clear information on what your new CRM can do before you make the investment.
5 Steps for a Seamless CRM Implementation
There are a few things you can do to help pave the way for a smooth implement and to help you sidestep potential CRM problems:
Set Clear Objectives
Have a clear direction you want to take with your new solution. What are the expected deliverables? What reports do you want to see? What processes do you need automated? What bottlenecks do you want to clear up? Work out what you need from your CRM system and set priorities. Having a well-defined set of requirements will help you more easily determine a good fit for your needs.
Forecast a Budget
The perfect solution may be beyond your pocket. So it may become necessary to make compromises. Being aware of your financial limits will help you find a solution that tackles the issues you prioritize while remaining financially viable.
Create an Implementation Plan
You’ve got a list of customer relationship management issues you want a solution for. You have set out what resources you have available. You can now set out a plan for how you will actualize this. You want to set expectations for all the players involved – management and employees. This will help you to make sure everyone is pulling in the right direction when the time comes to implement your plans.
Find the Right CRM Solution Provider
A partner like OMI will help you throughout the process. From project assessment – helping you set objectives – through to specifying the requirements of the system, designing and developing it, integration, and helping you with upgrades, training and support. You can have the peace of mind that you have experienced support throughout the full cycle of your CRM project.
Evaluate the CRM Implementation
Having set out your objectives from the outset, once your CRM is running, it is easier to compare your results with your expectations. Where possible, you can make tweaks to make further improvements to either close performance gaps or to get even more value from your CRM solution.
The challenges of CRM implementations are massively outweighed by the benefits. Enhanced data security, excellent performance, the freedom to scale up, and the integration of disparate systems are all excellent reasons to seriously explore CRM implementation for your organization. That said, there are many reasons why CRMs fail. The consequences of such failure can be expensive and difficult to recover from. With the tips we’ve given here, you can help to make sure your CRM implementation goes smoothly.