5 Key CRM Implementation Challenges for Businesses

Maulik Shah
Jun 27,2016

More and more organizations realizing the benefits of a customer management strategy and implementing CRM systems. But successful implementation of a CRM system within an organization is easier said than done. Introduction of a CRM system requires a change in approach to customer management at the organizational level. It's not the concern of merely a department – whether marketing, sales, or IT. On top of all this, many organizations also hear scary stories of failed CRM experiments at other organization and hence, don't want to commit to a CRM strategy themselves.

Fear of failure is always a major stumbling block for any IT system implementation project and CRM is no exception.

In order to overcome this fear, organizations need to think through thoroughly, assess all the benefits a successful CRM implementation will bring along with all the possible challenges they may have to overcome to ensure that a new CRM system is implemented in the best possible way yielding optimum return on investment without affecting current business processes and with minimal risk.

Here we will elaborate on 5 such challenges organizations face and how to overcome them.

The CRM Product Doesn't Fit In

If the CRM product cannot accept multiple deployment model options like On-Premise, On Cloud, Private Cloud, etc. or the product is not flexible enough for broader customizations that fit with organization’s growing and changing needs it may not leave you with enough options, especially for a growing organization. Also if the product is not up-to-date with the current CRM trends like Social CRM or Mobile CRM it may not be suitable for future. Hence make sure that your CRM product fits not only for current business needs but also for the organization’s growing and changing needs.

Lack of Integration Capabilities

A CRM will work only as good as it is integrated with existing IT systems like ecommerce, marketing automation, ERP, etc. If there is lack of support from the support staff of vendors of existing systems that need to be integrated with CRM, the whole integration process can be a huge burden and may eat into hours of working time of your staff without any visible results. It is advisable to plan integration needs, if any, in advance to avoid CRM implementation overkill.

Lack of expertise of the CRM vendor

If the CRM implementation vendor does not have enough experience with the CRM product or have never before undertaken any CRM projects of a scale similar to that of yours, it may result in unforeseen hurdles which may be very difficult to overcome once the CRM implementation project is already underway. The CRM vendor may also be ill-prepared with possible implementation challenges, resulting in the loss of value time and resources. To avoid this, assess the capabilities of your vendor thoroughly and verify their credentials before signing a formal contract with them.

Lack of User Adoption

Probably the most ignored aspect of CRM implementation is the assumption that once the software is in place all the users will just dive into it and makes as good use of it as possible. More often than not this is not the case. Even though user adoption is critical for CRM success many organization don't have a proper plan or strategy in advance.

It is important to have comprehensive training programs in order to provide an understanding to end-users of the system. Making your team members navigate complex screens or enter detailed time-consuming form won't work. More than the usability, team members should be educated about the need to make the CRM system a part of their daily schedule and how best to use it to enhance their effectiveness.

Lack of Business Insight

So you've got the right CRM product, the right vendor, got it implemented well and have your got team members excited about this “cool new software”. You may have all these steps in place and your CRM strategy may still fall apart if it's only used as a data dumpster and no actionable insights are drawn from all the available data and no adequate action is taken on those insights. A CRM software can only get the data for you. It can't draw conclusions on your behalf or get your team members to act on them. Your sales or marketing team needs to use this information to effectively address customer issues, exploit opportunities and close more sales. For example, you can get better insights by integrating surveys in your CRM and get real-time insights from your contacts.

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