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CRM Buyers Beware: Some Assembly Required

-By and

Did you ever spend time researching and shopping for something you really wanted? You looked at it online – maybe even made a trip to a brick and mortar store – and then, once you concluded that it was exactly what you wanted, you place your order to be delivered, and you wait…

Then, after much anticipation the box arrives and, alas, you discover that the item you have been eagerly awaiting is not fully assembled. In fact, it has a lot of scattered parts and pieces and directions that don’t seem very helpful (but at least they are available in eight languages!)

At this point, a little disappointment sets in as you come to grips with the fact that before you can enjoy or use your new acquisition, you need to figure out how to put it together. If you’re lucky, you might find a YouTube video of an expert who has put one together before.

This is a little like the purchase of a new CRM system. The website and videos you researched made it seem really easy to set up. The sales demo showed all kinds of cool whiz-bang features that you needed, and you were assured that it would be easy. Just open the box and you are ready to go. (Ok, software doesn’t come in boxes anymore, but work with me on this).

But then, once you take delivery, you begin to realize that your CRM system also arrived with “some assembly required.” And unfortunately, there are no instructions or a YouTube video to show you how to do it.

Actually, achieving CRM success takes a great deal of “assembly.” First you should gauge your firm’s needs and requirements to ensure you select the right CRM tool. Next, you have to hammer out a strategy and put together an execution plan that is aligned with your goals. You have to build the right implementation team. You have to train your users and effectively communicate instructions to them. You need to drill into the software to provide users with beneficial information and reports they need so they get value. Then you need to measure results to make sure you are getting ROI. This can seem like a lot of work before you get to reap the rewards.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. Putting together an effective CRM can actually be quite a daunting project. And most people are not CRM assembly pros. In fact, many have never even worked on a functional CRM project. That is perhaps one of the reasons that respected researchers suggest that a significant number of CRM implementations fail to meet expectations.

The good news is that there are experienced CRM consultants you can contact who will work together with you to help you construct a successful CRM implementation. These seasoned professionals have a number of tools at their disposal to help you achieve success. They have often supervised or worked on a number of other projects and can provide you with the direction you need to encourage system adoption and get real return on your CRM investment.


For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping law and professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM systems to maximize value, adoption, and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM success, contact us at 404-249-9914 or

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