Many new CRMs will fail if not implemented correctly. CRM has a failure rate of 18-69%. The main reasons CRMs fail is due to poor adoption and implementation. Many of the causes behind these failures can be identified early-on in the CRM implementation process if you know what to look for. In the next section, we're going to look at some of the most common reasons so you can recognize and solve them before they cause failure.
Reasons CRM Fail:
Can you catch the early signs of CRM adoption failure? Let’s look at why CRMs fail:
#1 Poorly Set Goals
CRM implementation requires planning so you can measure the success of your project. Documenting goals keeps your project on track and helps prioritize the requirements of the project. These goals help you outline the specific features needed to solve your problems.
For example, if your goal is to align sales and marketing departments, you must first understand the specific issues contributing to misalignment. Are teams dealing with data silos? Are you missing valuable workflows to automate sales and marketing collaboration?
#2 No Buy-in From Users and Stakeholders
When change occurs, it can cause everyone to scramble. In CRM implementations, resistance to change is bound to happen. If you do not have a plan for how you’ll get users to adopt the new CRM, then it’s going to fail. Your employees will push-back and resort to the old ways.
You must incorporate user adoption strategies from the get-go to gain buy-in from your teams and prepare them for the change. Part of that includes communicating with stakeholders and gaining their feedback on each phase of the implementation. Ask your stakeholders to communicate to their teams why adopting this CRM is important and answer their questions and concerns about the CRM adoption. Getting proper feedback from your teams and keeping them looped into the process along the way will not only prepare them for how their work will be impacted, but also get them excited about what those changes will mean for them.
#3 Poorly Defined Functional Requirements
A CRM strategy should follow a roadmap. The roadmap should align your business requirements to your CRM implementation plans. To develop the plan, you should ask yourself: What must this CRM offer in features, price, and compatibility with other solutions for us to benefit from its adoption? This is why functional requirements are so important.
If you don’t first define the project’s functional requirements you will invest in a CRM that isn’t a true fit for your business, leading to a waste of time and money. An experienced CRM consultant can help you translate your business goals into functional requirements to guide your implementation and prioritize the most important tasks. Defining functional requirements at the start will make it easier to narrow which CRMs you want demo’ed to you, so you won’t waste time on solutions that don’t meet your business needs. Some examples of functional CRM requirements include contract management, client interaction tracking, workflow automation, intelligent data enrichment, etc.
#4 Lack of Training and Support
Training is key for a successful CRM adoption. It ensures everyone is on the same page and understands how to navigate through the new environment. Formalized training sessions teach everyone to learn the right way to use the new CRM.
If your employees don’t know how to use it, they’re not going to take the time to learn it on their own. Training should be segmented by teams so each set of users can understand how to apply the CRM’s tools to their specific job. That means training sessions for sales, marketing, services, and the designated CRM administrator at your company.
In addition to training, reliable support is also important for CRM adoption to stick. When a problem occurs, your teams should know who they can contact to help resolve those issues. A support contract with an experienced CRM partner should define the terms of that support. How is support accessed? Is it via chat, email, or phone? What kinds of timelines should users expect for issue resolution? Without clear support pathways and expectations, users will become frustrated and possibly abandon the system.
#5 Insufficient Project Management
When a client adds new requirements to a project that’s already underway, that is known as scope creep. This can kill a CRM project because it causes issues with timing and budgets.
A good project manager will make sure the project is properly scoped from the start and everything is staying on track. They are also responsible for ensuring the development team is completing their work. The key elements within scope are cost, time, and project management. If the project goes off the rails and the CRM rollout is delayed, it could negatively impact adoption. Employees will be actively preparing for the transition, so the more the project lags, the more uncertainty and stress it will add to everyone’s plates.
How to Tackle CRM Failure
Communicate the Value
Employees have such a huge role in carrying out successful CRM adoption. It is crucial to help your employees understand the new CRM system to start off on the right foot. Engaging them in the implementation process from the beginning makes the transition easier as they navigate the new processes. Communicate the value and show teams you care about their input.
Start with Clean Data
CRM will only be as good as the data that’s in it. The accurate analytics and data relationships that results will help solidify the usefulness of the solution in the minds of your users. They’ll be able to see with their own eyes how the CRM works for them and the new insights it’s offering. You can use CRM automation to further streamline their tasks and make processes more efficient. After an initial data audit and cleaning, your CRM admin can work with the implementation team to define data entry rules and automated workflows that help maintain the quality.
Use Feedback for Improvement
As your teams use the system each day, they’ll start to notice areas where efficiencies can be improved. Don’t ignore these comments; act on them! Not only will it further streamline your system, but it will also make employees feel invested in the outcomes. You can make this a casual process or do a formal survey every few months to gather sentiment around the CRM and its uses. If you notice any negative patterns in user sentiment towards the CRM, you can address it head-on.
Knowing the warning signs of CRM adoption failure will help you avoid those pitfalls and catch issues early on. CRM adoption takes careful planning and team input. With a strategic approach, thoughtful communication, and formalized training and support, you can sidestep potential issues and have a smoother, more successful CRM roll out.