While CRM systems have the potential to transform the way your business organizes and optimizes customer data, CRM implementations are challenging and must be managed correctly from the beginning. In fact, roughly one-third of all CRM projects fall short of their goals.

Wondering why CRM implementations fail at such an astounding rate? Ready to safeguard your project against such roadblocks? Today, we’re sharing a few of the top mistakes made by CRM project teams and how you can avoid them.

6 Reasons Why CRM Implementations Fail

1. Lack of Project Planning

As you evaluate vendors and analyze CRM system options, it’s easy to get starry-eyed over features and functionality. You might be tempted to jump straight into the implementation and skip the critical planning phase.

While it might seem that breezing through this stage will get you to the finish line quicker, it actually has the opposite effect. Failing to ensure your organization is fully ready to embrace new CRM workflows could mean starting a project you’re not prepared to see through to completion.

We recommend establishing a core project team to lead your efforts and help you take a more thoughtful, methodical approach. These team members can plan and manage every part of the project and communicate key updates to your workforce. This ensures you have a cohesive, coherent CRM strategy and that every deliverable is tied to your project goals. 

A Large Governmental Entity's Failed Implementation

Panorama’s Expert Witness team was retained to provide a forensic analysis and written report to the court regarding the failed implementation of a major software developer’s ERP/payroll system.

2. Lack of Process Improvement

You aren’t implementing a CRM system to keep things exactly the way they are. Rather, you’re seeking improved workflows that will help you capture and capitalize on customer data in new ways. 

Often, this means reengineering your existing business processes to:

  • Make maximum use of your new system’s features
  • Improve existing pain points 
  • Uncover new efficiencies

Taking the time to tackle business process reengineering or improvement is important, especially in a CRM implementation. Your current processes might support your current state, but are they aligned with the customer experience you want to create? When old business rules and roadblocks fall by the wayside, you can lower operating costs and bolster your bottom line.

3. Lack of Organizational Change Management

Whether your company has been around for five years or 50 years, there are undoubtedly key systems and processes to which your employees are accustomed. Introducing new software can lead to change resistance and frustration, which increases downtime and lowers productivity.

From the outset, organizational change management should be a chief focus. This includes activities like communicating the impending change to employees, answering any questions they have and ensuring everyone receives adequate training on the new system well before it goes live.

A CRM system is less about the specific technology you install and more about how well employees use that technology. When you prioritize the “people side” of change, you can empower your workforce to support your organizational goals.

4. Failing to Appoint Project Sponsors

Your CRM project must have steam under it at all times to stay afloat. This requires direct input and involvement from the C-suite, who must help keep the effort top of mind for all stakeholders.

In addition to executive sponsorship, there should also be project sponsors and advocates in every department. These are the individuals who will help roll out the changes and communicate them with their employees.

When the project is supported from the top down, it’s more likely to be backed by the funding, attention and resources it needs to succeed.

5. Working in a Silo

While C-suite involvement is critical, a CRM implementation should be a company-wide initiative. You need input and feedback from the people who will be using the system on a daily basis, not just high-level executives. 

We recommend involving your workforce in key decisions associated with the project. It’s especially important to involve front-office employees who work directly with customers. They’re the ones best suited to discuss what’s working with the current setup and what isn’t. When you allocate time to listen to their suggestions, your user adoption rates will be higher than they would be otherwise. 

6. Failing to Ensure Data Quality

You can’t achieve your project goals without accurate, real-time data because your new CRM software is only as strong as the data you put into it.

Before you migrate your existing data into the new platform, make sure to thoroughly cleanse it first. It might seem to be a laborious task, but mining through erroneous data later will be a much more complicated, time-consuming effort. 

Consolidating multiple databases into one, comprehensive set of customer data requires careful thought and attention. Data cleansing applications can help with this effort, as can your software consultant.

Learning from Other Companies’ Mistakes

There are many reasons why CRM implementations fail, but all are avoidable if you plan ahead, assign the right resources and keep your project goals at the forefront. These success factors are non-negotiable because this is much more than a technology purchase.

As experienced CRM and ERP consultants, we can help set your project up for success. Contact us below for a free consultation. 

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