5 Reasons You’ll Never Implement CRM Software Successfully

We often talk and write about the keys to a successful CRM project.    What about the keys to an unsuccessful project?   Here are some of them:

1. You Don’t Have a Plan for User Adoption

CRM Software is not like accounting software. Accounting software users have to use the software to do their jobs. If they want to generate an invoice, they have to use the software. If they want to send a check to a vendor, they have to use the software. Salespeople don’t HAVE to use CRM software. They can meet with customers or prospects without using the software. They can track their opportunities without using the software. They can keep an address book of all their contacts without using CRM Software. So…how do you get them to use the software? There are a number of ways to force/encourage/incentivize/browbeat your team into using the software:

  • Require a weekly report of activities to be submitted by users. The report is only acceptable if generated from the CRM software.
  • Have a weekly meeting reviewing the pipeline data in the CRM software.
  • Require all quotes to be generated from within the CRM software.
  • Remove access to all other systems except the CRM software. The only way to get customer data is through the CRM software.

…and there are dozens more. The point isn’t to implement one of the above ideas. The point is to give thought to how you will get users to use the software. You need to have a plan for this. There is study after study of failed CRM implementations, because users decline to adopt the software. Have a plan for this.

2. You’re overly consumed with getting every feature you want in the first release.

One of the keys to a successful CRM implementation is adopting a phased approach. Don’t try to do it all at once. A first phase could be based on getting a few salespeople using the software. Phase 2 could be getting the rest of the salespeople using the software. Phase 3 could bring in Customer Service. Phase 4 could involve Marketing. And so on…. If you can avoid doing it all at once, you should. And, if you think you can’t avoid doing it all at once, you should rethink your plan.

3. You want it to be perfect before going live

Are you a perfectionist? This probably works for you in some parts of your life. It’s not going to work here. You just need to get going. We need to accept that you won’t know exactly how it’s going to work before you get started. Do the best you can, and then roll it out. The key is to “roll it out”. You can always tweak later.

4. You’re not sure why you’re implementing CRM Software

Why are you implementing CRM Software? Do you know? Do you have three things that are critical to achieve to make the CRM software a success. These could be things like:

  • Give my sales reps the ability to enter sales orders and quotes from the road on their iPad.
  • Give my sales reps the ability to see customer sales history from the road without having to log into our ERP software
  • Give management visibility of weekly rep sales activities
  • Give management visibility of the sales pipeline at any point in time
  • Give any person in the organization the ability to have a 360 degree view of a customers interactions with us, including customer service calls, sales opportunities, sales history, etc.

Obviously, there are other reasons, but these are some common ones. What are yours?

5. You don’t have an internal champion

There needs to be one dude or dudette who LOVES the friggin’ CRM software. They run around the office yelling about how great it is. When anyone has a problem, they run over to the person’s desk and fix it. When anyone complains, they run over and minimize the complaint. Need a new field added? The champion jumps on it and does it right then and there. Need a report? The champion shows you how quick and easy it is. Can’t figure out how to sync your email? The champion is there to show you which button to click. This is as important as anything. If there isn’t an obvious or natural person in this role, appoint someone. You’ll save yourself lots of heartache (and $$$) in the short and long run.

By the way, if there were a sixth reason, it would be that the Executive Suite isn’t fully on board with the project. There’s nothing like the CEO coming out and saying “we’re doing this, and if you’re not on board, you’re out.” If the CEO is disengaged, it does a significant disservice to the project. And…you know who you are….

However, we’ll save that rant for another day….