When implementing a CRM, a number of challenges can arise that hinder its 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.
If you haven’t already read The Top 10 Most Common CRM Challenges – Part 1, check that post out for a discussion of some of the challenges that arise when an organization doesn’t have a strategy or plan in place or has a lack of focus. Here are a couple more:
CRM Challenge 3: Buy-In / Adoption
If users don’t see the value of CRM for the organization and, more importantly, for them, they will regard using the system as a burden and are unlikely to participate. Lack of participation also means users won’t contribute or update contacts, so data quality will suffer, resulting in a downward data quality spiral that can prevent one of the primary benefits of CRM: creating a central repository of clean, correct and complete contacts that can be easily accessed, updated and relied on.
To get users to actually use the system and avoid the accompanying data quality death spiral, you have to effectively answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” for users.
Taking time early in the implementation stage to gather the needs and requirements of key users and groups will help you answer that question and provide a solid base for realistic goal setting. Next, the CRM should be configured to meet these needs and requirements, and messaging and training should continually reinforce the value proposition.
CRM Challenge 4: Communication
It’s not enough to know the value of the system… you also have to communicate it. Ineffective communication can lead to additional CRM challenges.
Ongoing communication with end users is critical to the success of CRM, before, during and after the system rollout. For larger organizations, this may require a full-fledged communication plan. The plan should include email communication, of course, but this should also supplemented by other internal communication channels such as e-newsletters or the organization’s intranet. And don’t overlook hard-copy content options such as posters throughout the organization and awards or certificates for completion of objectives by users.
Focus on what users want to hear, like how the system will provide them value. Answer frequently asked questions, create quick reference guides, build a knowledge base and regularly update users on the progress of the project and successful milestones.
The message doesn’t always have to have a serious tone. Provide fun statistics or updates, create a treasure hunt for new data in the system, offer incentives like gift cards and encourage healthy competition to increase data entry.
CRM Challenge 5: Leadership Support
All too frequently, we see clients undertake their CRM implementation as a marketing or technology initiative without the participation of leadership. Without the full support of top leaders, end users will view participation as optional.
Leadership involvement is imperative from the get-go. Leaders must have a good understanding of the benefits of a CRM and be willing to champion the implementation. This can be a game-changer for keeping the project top-of-mind for users and encouraging adoption from those less-enthusiastic individuals that every organization has. If it is not possible to get support from top leaders, consider a grassroots approach and cultivate support among department or group heads.
But Wait… There’s More
Like our tips so far? Stay tuned for Part 3 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 15 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations improve Data Quality and successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help with CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.