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Manage CRM Expectations To Avoid Epic CRM ‘Fails’


It’s no secret that CRM system implementations can be complex and often problematic – and, as a result, they often have notoriously high failure rates. In fact, research from industry experts indicates that up to 70 percent of CRM implementations may fail to meet expectations.

In helping hundreds of Clients with their CRM implementations over the last 12 years, we’ve observed many of the most common problems – and even a few unique ones. But the one reason that CRM commonly fails to meet expectations actually has very little to do with the CRM technology: it’s that the expectations for CRM success are often wrong.

Because improper expectations can present a formidable obstacle to success, it’s important to understand some of the most common CRM challenges so you can be prepared to prevent failure.

To help set more reasonable expectations for CRM success, it’s important to understand some of the common reasons for CRM failure, such as:

  • Expectation: Lawyers and their admins will use the CRM and regularly enter and update contacts in the CRM.
    Reality: A few will enter their contacts into Outlook, some will delegate this to an assistant or marketing, but many will not take the time or effort to provide any information – or even use the system. To avoid this fail, it’s important to try to find technology to automate contact collection and/or processes to regularly gather and update contact information.
  • Expectation: The data in the CRM will be current, complete and clean.
    Reality: Data is never going to be perfect. In fact, without ongoing effort, up to a third of contact data degrades each year as people get hired, fired and promoted, change jobs or locations, get married or divorced, and retire or even die. Avoiding this fail and maintaining clean, correct and complete data requires ongoing data stewarding by dedicated and experienced data quality professionals. Failure to dedicate these resources is another common fail.
  • Expectation: Leaders of the organization will champion CRM, lead by example and advocate for adoption.
    Reality: While many leaders support the idea of CRM in concept, they often don’t realize the significant resources required to achieve success. To avoid this fail and get them on board requires showing them the real benefits that CRM can provide and proving the system’s value.

One of the keys to avoiding #EpicCRMFails is to be aware of them in advance, so that you can come up with a strategy and plan for success, so we thought it would be helpful to share some of the most common fails in an engaging away. So, at the 2018 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, we shot videos of legal marketing leaders sharing some of the top CRM challenges they have seen.

We’ve created our new website,, as a platform for sharing the videos so that visitors to the site can learn from the experiences of seasoned CRM “survivors.” We invite you to visit the site, check out the videos, vote for your favorite personality or fail and even submit a challenge or fail of your own to win prizes including Amazon gift cards or a complimentary CRM Success Session from one of our expert CRM consultants. We also appreciate feedback, so let us know what you think.

Our team can also help you set realistic expectations for your own CRM Success or assist you with any CRM problems you may be having. Reach out to us at 404-249-9914 or We are always happy to help and share information, ideas and best practices!


Over the last 12 years, the team of almost 100 consultants and experienced professionals at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has helped hundreds of professional services firms and other organizations succeed with CRM, Data Quality and eMarketing and maximize value, adoption and return on technology investments. If you need help achieving CRM Success, contact CLIENTSFirst at 404-249-9914 or Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter

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