CRM is notoriously difficult to deliver. Get it right, and you will benefit from an excellent return on investment that transforms your business with optimised communications and business aligned processes. Get it wrong, and you will have an expensive IT application that's over budget and unused by your employee's. 33% of CRM projects don't deliver for a myriad of reasons, and these are often due to CRM partners overpromising and underachieving.
At Serversys, we've rescued many failed CRM projects and have been able to put them back on the right track. We've identified the most common reasons and how to address them.
We often get asked to pick up internally mismanaged projects. CRM systems are complex and when configured correctly can catapult your growth. Handing it over to your IT team to work on it when they have any spare time is a recipe for disaster. We believe CRM systems need a fresh look at your business environment as internal teams get too close to the project and often overlook broader issues.
Our recommendation: Pick a certified partner with a great track record of deploying CRM systems in your sector. This will ensure your business gets the most from your investment and your CRM doesn't become another failed IT project.
Your CRM has all the processes, integration and the best tech a growing business could ask for. However, you forgot something. User adoption! We find many businesses, particularly with a heavy top-down approach to development neglect to inform departments along the way about the process and are suddenly expected to use the system with little or no dialogue. This usually ends with dissatisfied staff who aren't comfortable with the change and often create mistakes. Often they start using other systems to avoid using it.
Our recommendation: Build in CRM training as a core consideration of your CRM system objectives. It's usually viewed as an afterthought, but giving them the new skills to use the new system will lead to more productivity, motivated staff and increase the success rate of your CRM. We would also suggest keeping an open dialogue with stakeholders across the business so that their concerns are addressed throughout the development process which will make them feel they are a part of the future of your business. For further information, we covered how to increase user adoption on our blog.
An integration CRM should provide a single location to activate business processes from multiple channels. For instance, you should be able to integrate a social media tool into your processes, and your organisation should be able to follow projects and receive notifications on any updates.
Many CRM projects fail as they fail to account for data AND process integration. This leads them to have multiple unconnected systems which create bad reporting systems, low user adoption and fragmented data processes.
Our recommendation: If your CRM project is failing, examine what systems your business uses and how it interfaces with the new CRM. You may need specialists to develop connectors between the systems, but larger CRM systems such as Dynamics 365 will integrate easier with larger external systems such as LinkedIn.
A common problem we come across is projects setting objectives and adding a wish list of features and not keeping to it.
As the project develops, stakeholders at different levels of the business begin wanting to add capabilities that weren't identified at the start of the project. This is often problematic. Any added feature needs to be planned ahead of time, robustly tested and viewed as part of the larger CRM business process. Changes late in the development process can have unintended knock-on effects to other parts of the system such as compatibility issues or data duplication. Scope creep also means milestones will be missed, extra costs added and critical issues overlooked.
Our recommendation: When you set your objectives with your IT team or CRM partner and list your features, ensure you keep to it. Plan your CRM in phases so that any capabilities that were thought of by stakeholders aren't added ad-hoc, but built into the next stage of the CRM project.
Your CRM is only as good as the data it stores. You can have the best CRM in the world or an old contact spreadsheet from 1997, but if the data is low quality, you're not going to reach the CRM's potential. Many projects fail because the existing company data was not audited and cleaned when during migration. This poses problems such as data duplication, missing field entries and fields from the existing data not aligning with the new system. Dirty data will undoubtedly cost you.
Our recommendation: When managing your next CRM project, review your existing data top to bottom. How is your data currently collected? Are you purchasing contact lists? Plan your migration with specialists who understand how you will import your existing data into the new system. Of course, you will need to ensure you are GDPR compliant which hopefully should resolve many immediate data issues.
When you start planning your next CRM application, it's critical you identify what infrastructure you'll be using. Will you use existing hardware on your business premise, would you consider moving the Cloud? Evaluate the pros and cons of the technologies you examine. It's crucial you future proof the system for multiple years with the possibility of capability expansion in the coming years.
Examine your future business environment, what will your objectives be in 5 years, and will your CRM align with them? Many organisations fail to address this and often launch old software on new hardware or vice versa.
How flexible is your infrastructure? If your contracted CRM partner goes under, with your new one be able to take it over?
Our recommendation: Look at your business goals in the short, medium and long term (5+ years) What challenges will you face and how will you overcome them? Build this into your plan and don't cut corners or try to save on budget. Your business will pay for in the long run.
Your competitors may be investing in cutting edge technology. Employees could access remotely, processes automated and have world-class performance and security. Does your planned CRM do that?
We've picked up many CRM projects in the past, whether that is due to poor infrastructure, software integration compatibility headaches or project mismanagement.
We'll evaluate your current business environment, understand where you are in the CRM development process and analyse where your problems are.
We will then put together an action plan, set objectives, milestones and a timeline and get to work. Your CRM project will be back on track.