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Top reasons why CRM implementations fail and how you can avoid them

Why CRM implementations fail?

Research by several organizations say that 30% to 60% of the CRM projects fail! Here’s our attempt to help you overcome the challenges and work on a solution

Organizations implement it as software tool not a process or solution

Customers are the whole and soul of my business, your business as they are for any business. The relationship we maintain with them is what brings laurels to our businesses. Man has progressed and has found smarter ways to keep in touch. You must treat the tool as Business intelligence system only. So, you should be integrating the tool into the CRM processes designed for the organization.

The vision and goals for CRM implementation are not clearly defined

Why are you doing this exercise? Clearly define and document goals, plans and results expected after you implement the CRM processes. What CRM challenges you are trying to address? Remember, the goals you set must be Specific, addressable and time bound.

Involvement of the Leadership and Management teams

You intend to make changes in the process related to how your organization deals with your customers. SO, it is not a game. Don’t consider it to be a small project. You’re not just installing a new, improved Web browser on everyone’s devices. You will end up potentially modifying many or all of your customer facing business processes, changing staff performance measures and even sales quotas – so you need to be confident that your company’s executive team is involved, reviewed and signed off on the proposed strategy before you decide on any vendors, sign any contracts, or commence implementation.

The administrators act only as tool managers

Appointing a person/ team to manage the tool and its day to day requirements is appreciated. Butit should not end there. Organizations should form a team that goes beyond and measures, evaluates, recommends, upgrades and updates for effective performance of CRM.

Not realizing the full potential of CRM tools

Several organizations implement only a few processes to solve immediate/ short term challenges. Hence it degrades over a period of time. The other major factor is that the tool is not integrated with other applications that are being used to increase productivity. This makes the users submit data in multiple accounts, monitor and manage multiple accounts and platforms.

Instead one should evaluate extensibility of the system with other applications. Microsoft has been a market leader in this aspect. Dynamics 365 now enables seamless integration across verticals!

Remember: Strategic integration of customer data from across different business systems can extend greater clarity and produce a highly personalized and even predictive marketing and sales approach.

Feedback from customers

Take periodic feedback from your customers. Are your ways of interaction with them satisfactory, are they able to reach you easily, are their support requests being addressed quickly, are you spamming them with campaigns or unnecessary updates/ messages.

Internal Surveys

The leadership teams should conduct internal surveys with the users and update themselves on the latest needs and upgrades required. Business scenarios are ever changing and the requirements of the users need to be upgraded from time to time. In several cases, it can be found that organizations that do not update their systems according to present scenarios, fail in utilizing the system the maximum.

Once the surveys are done, the organization can choose the activities that have higher need and take them as projects to increase efficiency.

Reviews with CRM Experts

Personally, all of us believe it is important to conduct reviews on one’s health and wealth periodically. So is with your CRM system! Remember, users are always feeding the system with food (Data). Hence, it is of highest priority that you have a review at least once annually.

Read: CRM Health check: Parameters to consider

Not syncing your CRM data/ features with other applications

We have already seen the need for integration. Similarly, make sure that you are syncing with Calendars, mail boxes, Invoicing systems, Inventory management tools.

For Ex: A good CRM system should allow you to schedule an appointment with a client from Outlook, your Google Calendar or your smartphone calendar, send the client an invite and know that your CRM has made a note and record about this client event.

Data Quality and keeping the data up to date

One should be aware that the leadership teams are required to plan, strategize and take decisions based on the data that is being fed into the system. The sales and customer support data shows the overall vies of customer behaviour and satisfaction with the organization and its services. Hence depicting the overall health of the system.

It is important to monitor the quality of the data that is being fed into the system. As it goes with the saying Garbage in = Garbage Out !

Viewing it only as a micro-management tool

One of the major benefits of using the CRM is it can support you in managing your team better. The same becomes adverse when used for Micro – Management. Empower and educate your Salesforce! Extend freedom and support them in closing deals.

Just to make you smile: Inspired monkeys are better than motivated donkeys!

Updating the tool with latest features

If your tool is not updated for quite some time, then it is worth considering! Conduct surveys with your teams on the needs and requirements and work on the ones with higher priority.

Usage is not across all sections and territories

One major mistake organizations make is that they do not implement the CRM processes on all sections and territories of the business. At a macro level, the leadership teams will not be able to realize the full potential of the system and this leads to absolute failure.

Training & Support

One need not elaborate this point in detail. There are three areas to focus on:

  • Train the user
  • Train the trainer
  • Most importantly: Train the Management to use the tool effectively

Driven by IT

IT is the backbone of the CRM. But, detailed information into sales processes and service levels is not their forte. Inputs from Business leaders in Sales and Marketing have to be calling the shots if a CRM system has work effectively.

Related: Before you start with CRM Implementation

Please do share your CRM journey so far. What challenges do you face and what has been your experience?

Naga Darshan J
Darshan is a CRM Strategist, Entrepreneur, Author and Business Coach. He heads the sales and marketing for Rapid GPRS and has been instrumental in transformation of several businesses.

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