CRM solutions provide a wide range of functionalities. Some companies use it to track potential customers, others to automate marketing and services, and the best of them to manage the whole company effectively and comprehensively. Regardless the way of use, CRM is a big challenge. A challenge in terms of understanding and especially the right implementation within an organization. Our CRM expert, Richard Sládek, contemplated on the most common mistakes relating to the CRM implementation.
Companies are on a different level in terms of CRM implementation. Some of them still use table and text editors or e-mails to manage their companies, others have partly implemented some out-of-the-box solutions, and others have bought it from an integrator which customized CRM to their business needs. The success of a CRM solution seems to be its main problem. CRM implementation fails in more than a half cases. It´s not because it would not start to function, but it does not meet the expectations.
Recently, many companies have come to a conclusion that they need a CRM solution. It happens for various reasons, which sometimes can be mistaken or insufficient. For instance, all competitors already have it, it will make their work easier, or that it will sort out their data, etc. Having this opinion, they are looking for an experienced integrator who is able to consider their needs and find out whether CRM can help the situation in the company. Sometimes, the integrator finds out that instead of CRM the company needs something different – some other system or just some workflow adjustments. Therefore, the right integrator shall be an advisor at the first place.
Lack of strategy is the most common mistake not only when implementing CRM, but in any project. At first, companies should analyse in detail their needs and define what they want to achieve, because it can easily happen that, at the end of the day, implementation of unsuitable CRM brings more problems than benefits. To avoid this, it´s very important to make sure that the set goals is realistic, time-bound, and measurable. Most of the companies want to implement an information system with inadequate expectations that the system will fulfil their strategy and needs.
However, they do not thing about the fact that the implementation itself is only a part of what needs to be done. It´s crucial to take into consideration how the CRM influences current processes and the way of work. It´s alright when a company decides to implement CRM in order to track in detail its business activities. However, they cannot miss the fact that it needs to be actively used, for example, at business meetings by presenting statistics, reports, etc. Long story short, it needs to serve as a trusted tool helping employees to make their work better, not to be looked at as some necessary evil. Thanks to this, the employees will be naturally motivated to use it. Moreover, the one whose data are not updated will look at the meeting like the one who “doesn´t have anything to say” or “doesn´t do anything”, since their CRM will look “empty”.
Historically, lots of companies have various departments, all with different way of work. For example, the marketing, sales, accounting, or manufacturing departments have their tasks clearly defined, but they do not cooperate a lot among each other. They are connected only at a managerial level. Suddenly, a new information system happens to be implemented, connecting all the departments. But how when each department uses different methodology? To come up with a plan how to motivate individual parts of the organization to mutually cooperate so the CRM has a value for all parties are the major challenge. Besides, one of the common mistakes is that the management looks at things from only one department´s perspective.
Let´s say that a sales team comes with an idea that they want to track sales activities and have an overview of their customers. It´s very commendable, however, the sales team needs to cooperate also with the marketing department, customer service department, etc. A problem arises when systems used by the departments are not interconnected. Then it happens that the sales department does not know about potential customer problems, since they are stored at a different place. Since the solution is not grasped conceptually, the company does not benefit from it. It´s important to realize the essence of the CRM – it´s a tool aggregating customer data and helps to serve customers across the entire organization. It represents an added value, thanks to which companies have everything relating to their business at one place.
Quality of data is often an underestimated and unsolved question, which has its place within the CRM implementation. Without data, even the most sophisticated system will not have the desired value. It´s a failure if after a solution has been implemented, a company realizes that data which were supposed to be stored in the system, cannot be obtained. Within the implementation period, it´s a must to secure data availability and to solve how they will be uploaded into the system, even if manually during the initial phase of the project.
Wrong data are another challenge. Any wrong data can lead to chaos in everyday work and negatively influence performance of the company. The most common data problems happen during their migration. For instance, while the sales department tracks their activities in Excel, it´s necessary to make sure that the format is defined correctly and data control is taking place. If that is missing, it can result in creation of a duplicate data set or their saving in incorrect format.
Another major disillusionment can happen regarding the implementation extent. To exaggerate a little, let´s say that a company which has been operating only with “a paper and a pencil” suddenly wants to have implemented a top-notch latest solution on the market. They want to fully automate their workflows and transfer everything into CRM. If companies have such unrealistic expectations, it’s impossible for it to work – they have simply bitten off more than they can chew.
It makes much more sense to implement the solution gradually, step by step. They have a time to see if they have chosen the right path, and if not, it´s still plenty of time to make suitable corrections. It´s recommended to start with parts which have potential to bring the highest added value in terms of benefits, not complexity. After its successful implementation, another set of functionalities can be examined, and the process shall continue in accordance with the set vision. It can seem trivial, but it has been proven to be one of the biggest problems when implementing CRM solutions.
Of course, CRM implementation can have many other pitfalls. Upper-mentioned examples should serve as a basic check list. It´s obvious that we have not discovered America here. Those are well-known principles. Paradoxically, they still are the most frequently occurring reasons why some projects fail. So, the basis of everything is a well-designed strategy, not only technical but also processual. Only with a good strategy the system can be user-friendly and built to serve desired goals.
Following our advice, companies should be able to avoid the situations when an integrator builds a solution agreed by their managements and then, after launching the solution, they find out that they expected something else that what have been delivered. In other words, each party can imagine the resulting solution differently. Therefore, the most important added value of integrators lies not only in their technical experiences, but mainly in their art of identifying the goals which are expected to be achieved by the CRM implementation.
If you are thinking about implementing a solution that would make your business processes more efficient, do not hesitate to contact us. We will review your requirements and suggest the optimal solution before you have to deal with the above mistakes.