Top 5 Mistakes While Implementing CRM Systems

CRM offers a wide array of features for its users. While some companies use it for tracking their leads, some might extend it to marketing automation and customer service. Whatever the mode of usage, CRM is one of the key drivers for the success of a company. While most of the companies are increasingly implementing the CRM, its success still remains a major concern. According to a study by Merkle Group Inc, 63% of the CRM initiatives fail. Based on our experiences with our clients, here is a list of most common mistakes we came across while implementing a CRM system:

Lack of Strategy

Lack of vision and strategy is the most common mistake not only in the case of CRM implementation but also in the implementation of any project. So, before implementing a CRM system, analyze your business objectives and define what exactly you want to accomplish by implementing a CRM system. A haphazardly implemented CRM will end up creating more problems rather than solving them. Ensure that you set realistic goals which are time bound and measurable. While choosing the CRM vendor, ensure that it meets both your short term and long term goals.

Engagement of Internal Teams

The companies which treat implementation of CRM as a stand-alone IT project generally face higher failure rates. CRM system, when successfully implemented has the potential to act as single data warehouse for your sales, marketing and customer service teams. Implementation of a CRM system should be guided by the inputs from all the teams which are going work with it. It can be designed to meet all their requirements, only if IT has a clear understanding of their processes. Lack of engagement from the internal stake holders who are going to use the system can lead to low adoption rates after the implementation.

Treating CRM as Off – The – Shelf Software Product

There are a lot of choices for CRM product in the market place, but not every product meets your requirements. You might have to make a lot of changes to the product to reflect your business process and to serve your business goals. Ensure that you translate all your requirements to the IT team to implement them on the CRM platform. Also, do not hurry to use all the available features on the CRM. Implement a phased approach. Start off with the features which you think are great value add for your business and customize them during the initial phase. On successful implementation of those features, explore the next set of features.

Data Issues

Data quality plays a vital role in the success of CRM implementation. Any errors in the data can lead to chaos in your day to day activities thus negatively affecting your business. The most common problem with data arises during the data migration. For example, your associates might be tracking their activities in an excel sheet. So, while migrating all the existing data to the CRM, you have to ensure that the format is correctly defined and you have data checks in place. Failing to do so can result duplicate data or erroneous data.

Insufficient Training and Support

The success of CRM implementation is beyond the successful installation and customization of the software. It lies in ensuring that all your associates are using the platform. If some of them are either not using it or not using it correctly, it may lead to incomplete data for making any future business decisions. This defeats the very purpose of having a CRM system. So, it is important that you provide your associates the necessary training to maximize the benefits of a CRM system.

While there are many other pitfalls in CRM implementation, the above reasons act as a checklist for ensuring successful implementation of a CRM. The most important of them being the strategy for implementing a CRM. Companies should design a roadmap on the features, account for hardware requirements and change management activities post implementation during this phase. A well planned CRM implementation strategy can ensure that the CRM system is user friendly and is built to serve the business goals better.

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Author: Mahesh Tadepalli

Mahesh Tadepalli brings the analytical edge to the marketing campaigns we manage. A holder of Master’s Degree in Mathematics, he plays a major role in harnessing the marketing data for effective decision-making. His experience in working with tech startups and understanding of marketing have proven to be instrumental in defining marketing technology solutions for companies across various industries.