CRM Implementation Failure: What are the 8 Main Causes?

Did you know that nearly 70% of CRM implementation projects fail? CRM systems are incredibly powerful, and they can propel your business miles ahead of the competition — as long as they are implemented and used correctly!

Once business executives make the decision that they are going to implement and use a CRM in their business, they’re often keen to get it up and running as soon as possible. After all, the quicker it gets implemented, the quicker you can start benefiting from it right?

That’s not always the case. There are eight significant mistakes that businesses often make when it comes to implementing their CRM systems, and if you fall victim to just one of these mistakes, it could derail the entire process and send you five steps backwards. 

The 8 Most Common Mistakes Made When Implementing a CRM

If your CRM is not implemented properly, your business would have wasted precious time, money, and resources failing at the process. Below are the most common mistakes that businesses make when implementing a CRM, make sure you don’t fall victim to the same errors.

Poor Planning and Execution

The first mistake that businesses make is poor planning and execution. Properly implementing a CRM system is a complex and time consuming process, and many businesses don’t keep this in mind when they start the process.

Setting out clear goals and plans is crucial when it comes to a successful CRM implementation project. You need to establish clear deadlines and break up the process into smaller tasks. This will allow you to clearly keep track of how your implementation project is coming along, and whether or not it’s still on track.

You also need to set out clear goals as to what your CRM will accomplish. This will ensure that your CRM is fully integrated with your business and that you have all the necessary features available to you. Your team needs to have a clear vision of what the CRM will be used for, and how it will be used.

Without straightforward, actionable, and measurable goals in place, your team will be left confused and stuck halfway through the project. It’s also a good idea to get a project manager on board to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Oftentimes, breaking up your CRM implementation project into different phases is the best way to go about the process and ensure a successful project. Breaking up your project into phases such as data migration, app integration, and others can help your team work on actionable tasks that ensures nothing is overlooked

Lack of User Adoption

At the end of the day, your team will be using the CRM the most, and they are the main factor that will determine whether your CRM has been a success or not. If there is a low adoption rate among your team, your CRM project will be a failure. What’s the point of spending all of your time, effort, and money on implementing a CRM if it’s never going to be used?

You need to make sure that your team is completely comfortable with the CRM and understands why it’s being implemented. The truth is that most people are not excited about new systems being implemented into a business, especially if they already have their own way of doing things.

However, if the management and leadership team are on board with the idea, and they have an understanding of how the CRM will benefit their team, then it’s likely to lead to an increase in user adoption rates. As long as people’s questions and concerns can be addressed, they are often more open to giving a new system a try.

Insufficient Training

One of the most important elements of increasing user adoption across your team is training. Training your team members is easier said than done, but you need them to be as equipped and prepared as they possibly can be to make the most out of the CRM system that you’re using.

It’s never easy to train people, especially when it comes to systems as complex as CRMs. Some CRMs are easier to use than others, which makes a key difference in adoption rates, and ultimately the success of your CRM implementation. However, sufficient training is still critical, and the leadership team is partly responsible for ensuring that the training of their staff members is executed effectively. Leadership figures need to be at the forefront of the CRM — understanding every process, feature, and aspect of the system. The more your management team knows about the CRM system, the more equipped they will be to deal with any questions or concerns that your team members have.

Many CRMs are equipped with training resources and online academies that your team can use to familiarise themselves with the CRM. This will also help them to get the most out of the features that the CRM system has to offer, which will result in more efficiency and productivity when using the CRM.

Lack of Support

One of the main benefits that you can get from using a CRM is unrivalled customer support. Unfortunately, though, that’s often something that CRM vendors fail at. If the CRM of your choice does not have a good support system that you can use when you need it, then it’s more likely that your CRM implementation process can fail.

Having sufficient support from the CRM vendor is essential, and you should expect nothing less than a 24/7 support team that can help you at any time. Anything can go wrong with your CRM system at any point, so if something were to happen, you need to be sure that the support team can jump in to help you out.

You also want to make sure that you have great support in your local area. It could be within a few kilometres of your business, or even in another province, as long as you have experts within South Africa that can help you to troubleshoot any issues during the implementation process.

Choosing the Wrong CRM Vendor

One of the most important steps that you need to take is choosing the right CRM vendor. There are some specific requirements that you should keep in mind when choosing a CRM for a South African business. Due to the unique business landscape in South Africa, some elements of a CRM simply won’t work with some businesses.

There are hundreds of CRMs to choose from, and you can’t just go with the one that is the highest rated or has the best reviews. You need to dig deeper into each CRM on your shortlist and analyse whether they meet the needs of your business. If you have set out goals that you want to achieve using the CRM, how will its features help you to achieve these goals?

When choosing a CRM you also need to look into the implementation process and how complex the CRM is. Some CRM systems are more difficult and require more investment to implement, which is why many CRM implementations fail before they have even started. As mentioned earlier, choosing the right CRM vendor also plays an important role in the support that you will get during the implementation process.

Improper Data Migration

Data is the lifeblood of any business, and it’s crucial to migrate your data into your new CRM system correctly. If you want a CRM to be at the centre of your business (as it should be), you’re going to need all of your most important data to be transferred across safely and securely.

If the data migration process is done incorrectly, you run the risk of having missing pieces of data or information in your CRM’s database. There’s also the risk of corrupting data and losing it entirely. This process is extremely delicate and time consuming, and there’s far too much risk involved to rush through it.

There are a few important steps you need to follow when migrating your data to a new CRM system. Skipping over just one of these steps could result in your data migration process failing, which would mean failure to properly implement the CRM system and integrate it with your business.

The CRM is Not at the Center of Your Business

CRM systems are best when they are at the centre of a business. The system is used to unify the entire business by making collaboration on projects easier for your team, powering your inbound marketing strategies, or creating a streamlined working space through third-party integrations.

Your CRM system is not just another software or piece of technology that is being added to your business. It should become the entire foundation of your business if you want to make the most of the system’s benefits.

CRM implementations fail when businesses overlook this aspect because it means that they’re not harnessing everything that this powerful system has to offer. Proper CRM implementation means that the system is linked to everything in your business, giving oversight of your finances and sales, an in-depth look into your marketing metrics, and details on the overall progress of your business projects. 

Attempting the CRM Implementation Process Alone

One of the biggest mistakes that business executives often make is that they go about the CRM implementation process alone. The reality is that these systems are extremely complex and difficult to implement, which makes it impossible to complete the process alone.

Even if you have a highly skilled IT team on hand, you’re going to need a CRM expert to help you get through the process correctly. Partnering with a CRM system expert is always a good idea if you’re looking at implementing one. 

At the end of the day you want to get the most out of your investment, so this is not an area that you can take shortcuts. Whether you’re using a free CRM, or the most expensive one on the market, you need to make sure that you’re not taking on the task of implementing the system on your own.

Final Thoughts

The majority of CRM implementations fail, which leaves business executives frustrated as they wasted precious time, effort and money. There are several critical mistakes that businesses make when implementing CRM systems, and these should always be avoided. If you want a smooth and successful CRM implementation, make sure to get in touch with CRM experts for the best results.

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