4 Pitfalls to Avoid when Implementing CRM Software

Today, although many companies are implementing CRM systems, very few actually manage to implement it on their very first attempt. The failure rate of CRM implementations has consistently been about 40-50%. This is due to a number of reasons, including failure to sell the initiative to the internal users. In Europe, studies report a failure rate of seventy and eighty percent, which is absolutely outrageous. Most often, whether in Europe or North America, the reason most CRM implementation attempts fail is directly related to unclear and undefined objectives.

Measure of success
Usually, a successful implementation is the result of well defined objectives and measurable goals. Companies that do not measure their target success have no way of knowing if they are attaining their overall objectives. If your company has no form of identifying success or failure, your company has no way of determining whether your marketing project was a hit or miss; therefore, measurement is a necessary requirement for successful implementation of CRM software.

Think big, start small
Having clearly defined metrics, these can be the determining line for judging a system’s success. This is also true when it comes to customization. Many companies attempt to over customize the software during the initial stages only to find this the demise of their project. This is crucial when it comes to understanding what you are attempting to achieve. You require a determining metric quality that functions as a dividing line for determining the depth of the success or failure.

When initializing your project, do not attempt to utilize every feature available in your software package, as you are sure to find the product fails to meet your expectation. This is generally more the fault of users who don’t understand how the software functions when they login for the first time. Offering too many options to users can be confusing and make the CRM software difficult to navigate leading to dropped user adoption. As with all software products, your company would be best to step and test, step and test, only introducing one component of the software at a time, so you can see the overall changes and effects.

Encourage adoption
Not encouraging employees to use the system so that they can send their feedback and adapt to the new systems can hamper the implementation. If your employees can adapt easily to the system, your failure probability will be much smaller than if your employees cannot comprehend the software’s application and key benefits. If the only employees using the software are those who are self-taught and self-motivated to step out of their comfort zone to explore the software, your implementation efforts are sure to fail.

Although, many employees are not motivated to accept change readily, your company will need to provide software support and training, especially during the initial CRM implementation phase, so that your user rates will not drop off due to insufficient training, employee fear of new techniques and inappropriate management leadership. When implementing CRM solution, it is essential that every level from marketing to sales has a complete understanding of how the software function and what options are available when setting up targeted goals. If your company has a remote sales force, this group of sales specialists needs to be trained in-house so that when out in the field they know what to expect and how to perform tracking procedures.

Ensure data is accurate
Implementations also often fail because the data entered at the beginning is faulty. If the information that is provided into the software is incorrect, forecasts and reports will be inaccurate, thereby affecting all departments. Often when this is the case, everything comes to an immediate stop… the process is dead in the water! If operating information from the various divisions that are using the CRM solution are not aligned, you will have miscalculated outcomes in analyzing, tracking and reporting information, which can immediately shut down progress.

CRM is a strategic imperative that can ensure effective internal and external collaborations to optimize customer experience and reduce churn, thereby increasing bottomline revenues. Expecting a quick CRM implementation which enables exponential growth is unrealistic - ensure your CRM vendor creates a bespoke solution to meet your current and future organizational needs.