7 Roadblocks to Successful CRM Implementation and Overcome Them

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a necessary tool for the growth of an product-selling organization. CRM systems are widely used across organizations to support sales, marketing, business development, and customer support. In fact, 91% of companies, with at least 10+ employees, have a CRM system. However, it has been found that 63% of all CRM implementation initiatives fail to deliver desired outcomes.

So success with your CRM solution can be hard or impossible!

Bad Data means Bad Debts

Bad data, according to David, is the silent killer of a CRM system. According to Gartner, 30% of data within CRM system becomes obsolete within 12 months.

Data in CRM can be easily compromised. Through duplicated, missing, inaccurate, or incorrect data, there are a lot of poor data types floating under the radar that can impact your CRM’s performance. Even if your CRM has high quality data, within a year, 30% of that data will become useless.

To put that into perspective, if you have 400,000 contacts in your CRM, that’s 120,000 inaccurate contacts changing throughout the year- from name changes, new positions, retirement, etc.

If this data pollution continues, your CRM will no longer be the valuable tool you want it to be, providing inaccurate client insights to your business development team, which place your client relationships and deals at risk.

In order to have a successful CRM solution, you need to take measures that ensure the data going into your CRM is clean, accurate, and useful. Purging bad data annually or even monthly is not only costly in terms of time, but also ineffective with hundreds of contacts going bad each day. But some smart solutions like Odoo CRM, Salesforce CRM, can guarantee that your contact data is accurate and up-to-date without taxing your team with manual data entry or management.

Old Habits Die Hard

Your CRM will work perfectly up until you introduce it to your employees! That’s when the quality of the tool starts to dwindle and CRM success becomes harder to achieve. To encourage change and CRM use within your organization, your CRM needs to fit into your culture and how your team works. If your tool doesn’t fit with or help their routine, team members will push back against the change, creating new problems you need to solve.

Common barriers you could face include:

  • Lack of adoption / buy-in
  • Underutilization
  • Lack of leadership support
  • Lack of education
  • Poor training
  • No accountability
  • Data entry
  • Turnover
  • Inadequate data resources
  • People want the system to read their mind
  • People don’t want to do things for themselves
  • Whiny professionals
  • Zero tolerance for imperfection

"These are all people issues, not technology issues".

If these barriers go on unnoticed, your team will continue to reject your CRM. Without proper communication, training, or set processes, they will never see the value of the CRM system or experience the true benefits of the tool.

To help CRM to become fit into your company culture, your culture needs to be top of mind when creating your CRM implementation plan. Before selecting or implementing the tool, you need to speak with your team’s key stakeholders to earn their buy-in, discover what features are most important to them, and educate them on the benefits of CRM. This helps you to earn team approval before the tool is introduced, increase your chances at CRM adoption and success.

Integration Woes

Today there is no killer application that solves all integration problems. Most large-scale implementations require some customization. This may lead to problems that put vendors and consultants at odds with customers.

Many vendors and consultants maintain that most customers expect integration to happen like plugging a light fixture into a socket and flipping a switch, when in fact it is an evolutionary process. However, customers like Rick Hassman, project manager at Pella Corp., argue that integration technologies aren't there yet. "With an integrated system there are always inconsistencies between the separate applications," he says. As Hassman discovered, employing a vendor's consultant to help with the integration can smooth the process.

The biggest problem for Pella, a $900 million manufacturer of windows and doors, in Pella, IA, was in the call center. Specifically, telephone calls and computer screen pops were not in sync. Using the call center solution within the Oracle CRM suite 11.5, Hassman expected each customer telephone call to instantly initiate a screen pop on agents' computers, so the agents would have all the customer information in front of them when they say hello. "The overall flow wasn't done as well as it should have been," Hassman says. "Sometimes the call would prompt the wrong data, or the screen didn't pop up fast enough, or it would wipe out your screen or data from line one when picking up line two. So getting all the parts and pieces in sync was more complicated than we thought."

Initially there were three Deloitte consultants and two Pella team leaders working on the call center integration, which took nine months to roll out. In retrospect, Hassman says, he would rather have had two Deloitte consultants and one Oracle consultant working with Pella from the beginning, because of the complexity of the phone and call routing system. "We now have an Oracle consultant whose expertise is a level higher than what we had. We feel comfortable with where he is taking us," Hassman says.

For this reason, Hassman says, it pays to work with a vendor consultant on large, complex installations. Not only are they extremely proficient in their own technology, they often include fixes to your problems in their company's next software upgrade.

No Long Term Strategy

Believing that CRM is a technology solution is still a tremendous obstacle for far too many firms. The fact remains that CRM is a business process change, often supported by technology. But there continues to be a tendency to look to technology as a sort of business panacea, says Jonathan Copulsky, global lead partner for customer and channel-strategy practice at Deloitte Consulting. Business leaders who do so are often disillusioned by CRM, because they don't align their business processes to meet specific goals. Issues like job roles and responsibilities, accountability, and incentives are required for CRM to succeed.

A call center manager, for example, may want his agents to switch from general, undifferentiated roles handling all sorts of calls to specialists. This transition from a homogeneous environment to a heterogeneous one requires a skills-based routing solution. But before implementing the technology, the manager must determine the various job qualifications for the different support tiers. He must also determine the training and career path options for customer service reps in these new roles.

For a long-term business process change to be effective, Copulsky recommends having members of the CRM implementation team spend time in the field to determine how the CRM system will help employees. "Executives at Land's End, for example, work on the production line during the busy season. As a result, they have a much more intuitive feel for what employees do," Copulsky says.

This level of evaluation helped Land's End realize an annual 22 percent ROI/savings on the total cost of its marketing initiative project areas, including costs of in-house labor, upgrades to the Affinium software it uses, and catalog and marketing expenses, according to Steph Mohlmann, director of marketing operations for Land's End.

No Accountability

Driven by fear of the unknown, resistance also spills into the managerial level in the form of avoidance, or lack of accountability. There is an unwillingness in top management to assign accountability to project leaders, Copulsky says. It's what he calls the nobody syndrome. But CRM success depends on that accountability. "We have tended to find a high correlation between lack of success and lack of accountability," Copulsky adds.
The fact is, if accountability is not taken at the upper most managerial level, negligence there will only breed negligence among those who should be using the system, but aren't, making failure inevitable.

Copulsky suggests baking accountability into managers' bonus options or other compensation packages. One of the reasons for Hewlett-Packard's recently successful company-wide transition to Siebel 7 is that there was some financial compensation for some executives associated with meeting their CRM milestone deliverables, according to Mike Overly, HP's vice president of marketing.

Know Your Limitations

A CRM is a valuable sales tool. It is not, however, a sales department. Don’t engage yourself into thinking that you have suddenly broken free of your processes and strategies. Rather, your CRM should form an important capstone on those functions, enhancing, but not replacing them.

What Else...

CRM’s tend to be large, complex pieces of software. It might be tempting to ignore some of the more esoteric features, and use what you know. This is a mistake, and a limiting one at that. So don’t just take notes. Make sure you check the documentation properly, or vest that responsibility in a team. That way, your CRM’s possibilities will be available should you want it.

Reference: DestinationCRM and Bizlabs

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