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How to Avoid CRM Pitfalls
Customer Relationship Management technology may already feature prominently in your CRM research but inadequate planning and poor implementation are often reasons for projects failing to delivery their expected results.
As an independent CRM consultancy Preact have 20 years experience of helping organisations achieve results. Here are 6 tips to make sure your project stays on track:
1. Don’t be too ambitious
Large CRM projects take time to get started and often never leave the planning stage.
Start by prioritising requirements and defining the investment needed to achieve expectations – short cuts in the planning phase can have disastrous consequences. Consider first introducing the software to one or two departments before embarking on an organisation-wide roll out.
Through careful prioritizing, project leaders can focus on the teams and processes where CRM will have the greatest impact – and where it’ll have the highest adoption.
With a manageable initial phase, streamlined CRM projects can be more easily budgeted and get underway quickly to generate early results that instil confidence and give businesses a solid foundation on which to build on.
2. Secure buy-in from teams & managers
Successful CRM systems are adopted throughout a business so it’s vital that key people from multiple teams participate in the decision making process and are committed to the project.
Marketing teams often drive the demand for CRM but ultimate success will often be determined by its acceptance and adoption by sales people. Their requirements should be taken on board at an early stage.
Senior managers have the most to gain from CRM success through better reporting, process efficiencies and increased customer retention. As a result they should be visibly on-board and accountable from the start when a case for CRM investment is built.
After consulting a broad user base some requirements may be in conflict with the result of delays and increased cost.
Difficult decisions may need to be taken and must be made with accountability from senior managers. Without losing sight of fundamental user needs some requirements will need to be prioritised, delayed or dropped.
3. Don’t leave CRM projects entirely to IT teams
IT teams should be fully involved during a CRM implementation to ensure readiness of processes and users but the project should not be led solely by them. As point 2 outlines, CRM needs buy-in across the whole company.
CRM is about managing customers, improving processes and driving business growth. Service, sales and marketing leaders have the most to gain from these improvements so should be responsible for steering these projects.
Ownership and accountability for CRM projects should always be with its main beneficiaries. If teams who are expected to use CRM technology aren’t involved in the planning process and leave it to IT, CRM will fail.
4. Don’t Short-Cut Research
It’s always tempting to ‘go with what you know’ and implement a CRM system that you’ve previously worked with.
However, what previously worked successfully may not be so effective in a different environment and with different demands. Make sure you consider who needs to use it, where/when, what you need to track, integration with other applications, reporting functionality needed and security.
5. Consult IT
We’ve lost count of the number of CRM projects that reach an advanced stage only to see plans delayed or deadlocked because of IT problems - in many cases because of incompatibility between the proposed CRM system and internal systems.
IT can have a significant bearing on which CRM solution will be effective especially if an on-premise system is proposed. Ensure your IT Team is involved at the early planning stage.
6. Don’t just install CRM
CRM is a business strategy supported by processes and technology that is used by teams.
Although a vital component, many organisations have focused purely on the technology but neglected to consider how the supporting processes will mapped to CRM or implement a strategy to gain user adoption.
For CRM technology to be relevant the database must be personalised to fit bespoke processes and the needs of the people who'll use it.
The level of personalisation will depend on your own workflows and the capabilities of the solution you are implementing. Even the most basic of contact management packages should be adapted to reflect your unique data and processes.
Although teams may have been consulted during the CRM planning process don’t expect them to automatically use system effectively. The goodwill created through consultation will quickly evaporate if people don’t understand how to use the software.
User training should always be built into any CRM project. As well as covering tuition on software functionality and its benefits, group training is the perfect forum to formulate processes and ensure buy-in collectively from all teams.
Determining which processes and strategies you pursue is a challenging part of any CRM project and assistance is available from specialists like Preact to scope and project plan your implementation before configuring the solution.
For expert CRM advice with an emphasis on results first contact Preact to discuss your requirements. We've shared further detail in our free CRM planning presentation.
Implementing CRM solutions since 1993, our team is one of the most experienced in the UK. From pre-sales through to project management and post-sales support, we will respond quickly and intelligently to your CRM questions.