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When you’re implementing a CRM system, there are various pitfalls you need to avoid. Here are some of the most common and how you can combat them to set your business up for a successful CRM deployment.

1. Not having a clear vision

CRM implementation pitfalls

Many companies set a goal to use technology to transform their processes…just to end up reproducing what they already have. The only difference is that before they were using outdated or no technology.

That’s why you need to understand your business needs and processes before you start looking for your new technology (a CRM, in this case). Ask yourself: Why do you need a CRM? What problems will it solve and what do you want to accomplish?

Know why your business needs a CRM and the issues it can help resolve, and then you can set a clear vision for growth.

2. Not considering all of your users, from leadership to everyday

The most successful implementations (CRM or otherwise) are those that consider users at all levels.

This highlights the need for effective change management as any shift in the way your business operates will affect your team. So, think about everyone who might need to use the CRM and how your choice of system will impact them. Then think about which people might be affected by the implementation project, whether it’s because they’re on the project or because someone they need is on the project.

With this in mind, you can establish goals that everyone can have a vested interest in.

3. Not getting your team’s buy-in

Common issues with CRM implementations

Speaking of goals that everyone has a vested interest in, this is key if you’re to get your team on-board with the project. And team buy-in (at all levels) is key to your project’s success. Why? Well, how can the project run smoothly if there are people who might resist?

Get your team’s approval by ensuring they’re kept in the loop throughout the whole project. A great way is to invite key members from each team (who will be impacted by the implementation) to the initial planning meetings.

Getting their input right from the start helps them feel more valued and involved which sets the tone for the rest of the project.

4. Choosing the wrong CRM and/or vendor

There are so many CRM options out there. Which type of CRM do you pick, for example, cloud-based SaaS vs on-premise? Or how do you narrow down the vendors??

Vet your options by examining your business needs and seeing how the new CRM fits into your existing processes. Find out more in this blog.

5. Having an implementation team made up of your senior executives

How to avoid CRM implementation challenges

To maximise the benefits of your CRM, you need to implement it properly and part of that is assigning the right team to the task.

Always choose by ability rather than job title (which may seem like basic advice but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to overlook) because your senior/management team may know how the business works but they may not know the specifics of how the business works. Your everyday users will have more knowledge of that because they work with it, day in and day out.

Another thing to consider is your team’s capacity. No matter their level of seniority, will they have enough time to commit to an implementation project? This is where outsourcing seems to be a more viable option. We’ll cover this in more detail in a later section.

6. Not having a clear implementation plan

Take too long and people lose interest and motivation. Do it too quickly and you could overwhelm your team and errors can slip through the cracks.

Combat this by planning your rollout in stages. This ensures large groups of users aren’t affected in one go and you can train in small teams before moving to the next stage.

7. Underestimating the user adoption challenge

CRM implementation challenges

Speaking of training, you should ensure your teams receive the training and support they need to get to grips with the new system. This is key to successful change management and implementation.

For example, your marketing team may need training on how to segment contacts and use lead scoring models, while your sales team may need to be shown the new tools that can enhance their close rates.

This shouldn’t be a one-off training session either. To stay ahead of the competition, your CRM needs to be updated and your teams should be learning new tricks and features to improve their efficiency and performance.

8. Seeing CRM technology as the answer to all your problems

A CRM system can help you enhance team productivity, improve overall efficiency and achieve greater ROI. But it’s just a tool which you have to use properly - it can’t produce results on its own.

Keep in mind that technology is just one wheel of the tricycle that represents business growth. The other two are people and process. This means you need to focus on all three to achieve true success. Make sure your teams understand this.


The best approach is to work with an implementation partner

As you might be able to tell, CRM implementation projects (or any business system, really) aren’t simple. There are various pitfalls to avoid which can be tricky when you’re balancing all your other day-to-day responsibilities.

The best approach to tackling CRM implementation challenges could be to work with an implementation partner. With years of experience in CRM rollouts across a variety of sectors, they can handle this complex project for you, leaving you with more time to spend on other tasks. Want to discover our tips on how to choose the right partner?

Click the button below to download our guide to CRM implementations.

How do you ensure a successful CRM implementation?

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