While a new CRM implementation has the power to transform your business, if implemented incorrectly, it can end up crippling your bottom line instead.


CRM can change your business.

Transform it. Take it to the next level. Turbo charge it, and all those other tired but true cliches.

But CRM can also harm your business if you don’t implement it correctly. Drive down profits. Consume budgets. Leave your bottom line beaten and battered.

You could end up a percentage point of the 63% of companies whose CRM solution fails.

But why does CRM fail for so many businesses?

One reason is that some companies rush in, throwing money and resources at CRM implementation without fully considering how they’re actually going to implement it.

To avoid disaster, steer clear of the following CRM implementation pitfalls:

1. Levelled By Legacy

CRM offers companies access to a vast range of new tools and skill sets, but old systems must work hand-in-hand with any new CRM platform.

The trouble is, is that some companies aren’t ensuring that the new and old systems have ‘tied the knot’. To ensure they don’t end up in the divorce courts:

a. Do a company-wide IT survey and learn how existing systems can be mated with the new CRM system.

Or at least be in a position to work together before the legacy system is phased out.

b. Do understand the impact that CRM will have on your entire IT structure – or you could pay dearly later.

c. Don’t jump in both feet first; run a pilot programme before full rollout so you can test that the new and the old will work together.

d. And most importantly, don’t simply migrate the data from your legacy system carte blanche, or else you could end up with…

2. Dirty Data

Ensure your database has been cleaned before you introduce the CRM solution. All entries should be standardised and any discrepancies dealt with.

These can include dealing with double entries, missing fields, gone-aways and non-compliant data. Remember – a CRM system is only as good as the data that’s fed into it.

3. Trials of the Unexpected

A company can change overnight; it may merge, be acquired, a department outsourced or a key stakeholder may be replaced.

Rolling out a CRM system needs to take such potential changes into account, so ensure you have the right budget and schedule contingency plan in place.

4. Those Damn Damning Doomsayers

To ensure that CRM is successful, it has to be embraced by everyone in the company:

a. The C-Suite needs to be on board – executive sponsorship is vital to promoting the new system across the company.

b. A CRM advocate is required from a department – say, the marketing manager – who can show results quickly and prove to other departments that CRM works.

c. A full training programme must be rolled out for all employees so they can grasp CRM’s benefits immediately.

5. DIY Disaster

The idea of carrying out a CRM implementation in-house might sound appealing – even cost effective. A CRM implementation is, however, a big job.

It needs specialists who can:

  • Help design and implement the CRM system.
  • Provide that all-important training to employees.
  • Aid in legacy system migration and management.
  • Offer support during and after the implementation process.

Unless you have that kind of expert knowledge in-house, what’s the best solution?

Hire in a consultant for the initial planning and rollout before bringing on board an in-house CRM manager for the day-to-day running of the system, once it’s up and running.

With these five critical areas covered, you’re now in a better position to ensure your CRM implementation is as pain-free as possible and, most importantly, successful.

And once installed, you can take solace in the fact that you will be one of the 37% for whom CRM works.

They’re not the only pitfalls. Avoid leaking critical cloud-based CRM data with The ultimate guide to: security in the cloud

This post first appeared on the Redspire blog