IT projects, including new CRMs, seem to always start out with the best of intentions.
They’re always slated to save money for your company. They’re targeted to help increase efficiency and productivity through way of centralising and nominalising disparate data.
And they’re usually brought in with the promise of easier, better, faster and more streamlined operations.
Sadly, though, it often doesn’t work out that way.
In order so minimize future failure, I would recommend that we identify where the failures have occurred such that we can take these learnings into new CRM implementations.
Here’s my top 5 cited reasons as to why CRM deployments most often cause huge pain and result in failure:
Unclear objectives lead to CRM deployment failures. There is need for clarity around purpose and what objectives you are striving to accomplish. Be clear on what problems exist that you wish the CRM to solve and then use this as a yardstick to assess all available CRM offerings in market to judge suitability.
Ensure you don’t just take the salespersons word for gospel. Instead, take the time to properly perform due diligence to test the functionality, workflow etc of the system first to ensure it can deliver upon your need and stated objectives.
- Lack of an Executive champion. Don’t even think of implementing a CRM without first ensuring buy-in and ownership of the decision being shared with the executive. There is need for support, guidance and their internal promotion. This is not a small project so you need to be confident that your Executive champions have your back and aid to clear the field if any obstacles are encountered. Ideally, you want everyone’s buy in, to even think it’s their idea, so that they can back you even in the event of problems.
CRMs are used by a number of departments and staff. It is of paramount importance that they feel engaged and their feedback has been taken onboard. Recommend that they be engaged with earlier on in the piece.
The wrong vendor at the right price is no bargain. During procurement phase , conduct an objective software selection project ahead of selecting and purchasing CRM software. Be sure to talk with existing customers to learn of their experiences. It also pays to ensure that support considerations ie. SLA and assurances, warranties, performance and uptime guarantees are duly considered.
I always try to have my vendors agree to risk sharing provisions as part of their delivery. If the deployment isn’t successful, the SaaS CRM contract will be cancelled or not renewed or even in some instances, try and negotiate penalty clauses.
Don’t overpromise. This is a new CRM system, and not the answer to every IT or business problem that your company has or will have. Things can go wrong and business conditions will change. But the idea is that you are heading into the project with a sound plan, reasonable expectations, management sponsorship, user backing, positive intentions and a defendable ROI projection. Just don’t go overboard with the promises. Give reasonable goals and work to exceed them. Show small successes early and frequently, and then unveil some surprise benefits that will make your executives and users more appreciative. Stay within your project plan and show consistent successes by exceeding week to week deliveries. You can do this, and once you do watch how much easier it will be to get your next IT project off the ground, building on your past successes.
- Keep is simple (KISS). Don’t introduce too many features which in turn make it difficult for users to adopt the CRM solution. Simple is better. Easy-to-understand is better. Make sure that what you roll out for your company’s users makes it easier and more satisfying for them to do their jobs. You can win users over by replacing cumbersome tasks and manual workarounds with system automation. You also want to make it easier for your customers to communicate with your company. Don’t think like an IT worker. Think like a user who doesn’t have all of your IT prowess and experience. Because the easier it is for your staff and your customers, the more successful your CRM implementation will be for your company. And that, put simply, will be one of your most important indicators of success.