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The Top 10 CRM Challenges and How to Avoid Them Part 1


When implementing a CRM, a number of challenges can arise that hinder CRM success. In fact, respected researchers suggest that up to 70% of CRM implementations may fail to meet expectations. Despite these high failure rates, it’s possible to position yourself and your organization for CRM success by identifying and preparing for some of the most common CRM implementation challenges.

Based on more than 15 years of consulting experience and working with hundreds of top law firms to successfully implement CRMs, here are the 10 most common challenges the CLIENTSFirst Consulting team sees when organizations implement a CRM, along with a few solutions and best practices we recommend to overcome them:

CRM Challenge 1: CRM Success Strategy & Planning

Most firms approach CRM and related technology implementations on an ad hoc basis. But without a strategy and plan, the likelihood of a successful implementation is greatly reduced. In fact, firms that begin CRM projects without an understanding of their firm’s needs and requirements experience more CRM challenges, and those can lead to a waste of time, money and other important and limited resources.


CRM success begins with an understanding of your organization’s requirements and goals. This begins with a comprehensive needs assessment

Start by interviewing key stakeholders and discussing current challenges as well as the potential benefits a CRM could provide. Think about how each group or individual defines CRM success and form your goals around their definitions of success. These needs and goals should then be documented, reviewed, agreed upon by stakeholders and assigned to a timeline for completion. 

Strategizing and planning are vital to the overall success of a CRM implementation, so a detailed plan will need to be created that takes into account in several key areas including rollout, communication, data quality, training and integration.

CRM Challenge 2: Lack of Focus

The beauty of CRM is that it can do a thousand things – but that doesn’t mean it should. You are more likely to fail if you try to focus on too many things or try to solve too many problems. Losing focus can lead to more CRM challenges.


Don’t try to boil the ocean! Review your goals and requirements and in your needs assessment and focus on two or three things that to tackle first. Focus on small, achievable and measurable goals that can easily demonstrate the value of the CRM and grow support for the system over time. Look for the low-hanging fruit that can provide maximum benefits and can be completed with minimal effort. 

Once these smaller goals have been achieved, you can move on to the next area. Needs frequently change over time, so you may need to make a few adjustments along the way. Most important, you will likely find that as you work with groups and help them overcome key challenges, new user groups will come knocking at your door wanting to implement and adopt the CRM for their needs. 

Stay tuned for part 2 in this series! In the meantime, if you need help with CRM success from the CLIENTSFirst Consulting team, feel free to reach out.

For more than 10 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems and improve Data Quality to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or

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