If you’re considering purchasing a new CRM (customer relationship management) system, adequate planning is essential. A comprehensive project plan ensures you engage employees, select the right system, and prepare your processes and data for the new software. A poorly-planned project, on the other hand, results in employee resistance, software functionality gaps, and unreliable data.

The good news is that poor project planning and other project mistakes are completely avoidable. Today, we’re sharing common mistakes in implementing CRM and how to avoid them.

8 Common CRM Implementation Mistakes

1. Too Many Inputs

You want to capture the full breadth of your customer information in a CRM system. However, you don’t want to go overboard at the beginning.

As sales and marketing employees begin to add contact information for their leads and current customers, ask them to stick to essential data only. They can add notes and other information later, but adding too many input fields, too quickly, can result in an abundance of data, most of which might be unnecessary.

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2. Being Too Ambitious

At first, this might sound like an oxymoron. You’re implementing CRM functionality to expand your enterprise. Why shouldn’t you be ambitious about it?

The key isn’t to downplay your goals, but rather, to be realistic about them. Often, stakeholders and product owners will overshoot their initiatives when establishing a technology rollout plan.

To avoid this pitfall, don’t try to tackle every department’s technology needs all at once. Instead, break them up into groups that you can prioritize in phases. List each need in terms of importance and how critical it is to the organizational function.

Attempting to do it all at the same time is a recipe for disaster — and employee burnout.

3. Data Mistakes and Inconsistencies

The CRM system you implement will be responsible for organizing and maintaining a large amount of customer information, as well as other types of data. This data should be accurate and consistent.

Train your employees how to enter this information the right way, and employ automation software to avoid the error-prone work of manual entry. Teams should trust the new solution, and they won’t if the data isn’t correct.

4. Lack of Stakeholder Engagement

As you prepare for a CRM implementation, it’s critical to make sure the right stakeholders are engaged. As early as possible, identify the following individuals:

• Your executive sponsor
• Your product owner
• Your power users

These stakeholders will help determine how successfully your organization will achieve its CRM goals. You’ll need their full buy-in and active participation throughout each stage of the project to achieve organizational alignment as you move forward.

5. No Defined Metrics of Success

Once your CRM implementation process is complete, how will you gauge whether the project was a success? Long before you go live, set metrics for key business areas affected by the new system.

Then, keep track of how the new technology is serving your team members. Make sure all of the goals you set are realistic and obtainable and encourage user feedback at all stages, so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

6. Lack of Change Management and Training

As with any digital transformation initiative, you need a strong approach to organizational change management (OCM) as you prepare your CRM project. The right OCM strategy can ensure business readiness and business continuity, even as your workforce embraces new workflows and leaves behind legacy systems.

Despite the many benefits that a CRM system might bring, your employees may still be hesitant to embrace it. Invest in end-user training to help employees become familiar with the features and functions of the software. Remain transparent and keep communication consistent, answering questions and addressing concerns as they arise.

7. No Mobile Access

It’s no secret that we’re more connected to our devices than ever before. In fact, studies show that around 73% of people use their personal smartphones for work matters.

Before you go through any implementation of CRM technology, make sure employees can access it on the go. This is an important requirement for companies whose workers are routinely working remotely, or in the field.

When you invest in a CRM with mobile capability, you can often integrate the system with other native mobile capabilities, including:

• Scanning business cards
• Importing photos
• Making phone calls
• Accessing contact data

8. No Systems Integration

A successful implementation maximizes the ROI on a CRM investment. Be sure the solution you choose will seamlessly integrate with the other systems and tools you currently rely on to run your business environment. This includes your ERP system (read our post about the benefits of ERP and CRM data integration.)

If systems can’t “speak” to one another, it’s impossible to combine and organize information, or transfer data across various departments. Not only are the extra steps time-consuming, but they can also frustrate employees and lower morale.

Avoid These Mistakes While Implementing CRM

The right CRM system can transform the way your company organizes and manages customer sales data. Yet, this isn’t a project to rush into.

It’s important to take your time, engage stakeholders, and prioritize key steps, including OCM, training, and data migration. These are only a few of the possible mistakes in implementing CRM.

If you’re thinking about implementing a CRM system in your organization, our enterprise software consultants can help. Contact us below to schedule a free ERP consultation.

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