During a crisis, companies are understandably selective about the tools they use. They don’t want to spend a penny on the tools that don’t pay off. Still, they realize

that customer-centricity should be at the core of their business, fostering personalization, and driving loyalty and business growth.

There are many ways to move towards customer-centricity. Employ a support team with astonishing interpersonal skills, start sharing highly engaging content and establish closer relationships with your customers. Better still, ensure all those factors are in line with the implementation of a CRM system.

Many business owners blame CRM systems for being ineffective and bringing no value. Reports state that around one-third of all CRM projects fail, with the failure rate ranging from 18% to 69%.

The truth behind this statement is twisted. CRMs are only ineffective when implemented incorrectly. Usually, a simple revision of the approach can be enough to convince a business to give CRMs another chance. Especially since the positive effects of it are so delicious.

CRM allows businesses to boost sales by up to 29%, sales productivity by up to 34%, and sales forecast accuracy by 42%.

You can resurrect your CRM system and make it work for your business. Let’s identify the main reasons why CRM implementation often fails, and determine the best course of action for rescuing it.

Poorly Set Objectives

As soon as you start thinking that CRM is not working for your business, that implementing one was a waste of time and money, stop. Ask yourself one simple question: ‘How do I know that?’. Dissatisfaction occurs when there is a mismatch between what is anticipated and what happens in reality. The fact that your expectations weren’t met means that you had some in mind to begin with. Therefore, the reason for CRM failure could be down to an inability to set objectives correctly.

If you don’t have the benchmark to evaluate your performance, it becomes impossible to make a fair judgment about how your CRM system is doing. On top of that, without a clear vision, you can get overwhelmed by the extensive functionality of a CRM system and accidentally focus too much on planning and implementation processes. These tasks might feel productive (after all, you are not procrastinating), but they don’t directly contribute to achieving your primary goals. This can have a hindering effect on your progress and make CRM seem redundant.

One solution to this problem is getting your objectives in check before you move any further. Well-set objectives are always SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. To give an unbiased assessment of CRM’s effectiveness for your business, you need to have defined metrics to measure it.

Some metrics you can consider.

  • Revenue Growth, the amount of revenue you generate from sales;
  • An Increase in Win Rate, the percentage of proposals or bids that result in a win.
  • A decrease in Cost per Lead. It allows you to determine how cost-effective your campaign is. The goal is to generate more leads without investing more money.
  • Shortened Sales Cycle, the overall duration of activities associated with closing the deal.
  • Increase in ROI, the amount of return you generate on a particular investment, based on the investment’s cost.
  • Increase in LTV, the net profit garnered from your relationship with a customer.

Furthermore, your objectives also need to be attainable and timely. One of the most widespread CRM implementation mistakes is scope creeping, uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope. Too often, excited by the variety of features and opportunities a CRM system provides, people from outside the initial project want a slice of it.

While CRMs are great for empowering teams and making collaborative work more productive, don’t go overboard. Once you have identified your plans, stick to them. If you want to make adjustments, don’t slap the additional scope requirements on top of an already existing project. Otherwise, it’s likely to collapse under its own weight.

Instead, break down your tasks into smaller bits and individually set objectives that can be attained with the use of CRM.

Lack of Customization

Or similarly, too much customization.

Two of the most compelling things about CRM systems are that they offer an extensive range of different features and a lot of them are fully customizable! This combination is terrific for large companies that need a full stack of different modules and add-ons to aid their activities, helping them run their business smoothly. The beauty of CRM software is that it has a little something for everyone; it can be configured to work for numerous use cases. However, the average user of a CRM system only needs a limited number of available features.

A frequent unconscious mistake many businesses make, that significantly reduces the overall usefulness of CRM, is enabling too many features at once. They usually mean well. The famous saying goes – “the more, the merrier”, but unfortunately with CRM this isn’t the case.

Trying to borrow somebody else’s CRM experience robs you of many advantages that genuine customization can deliver. You need to understand that all businesses are different, dealing with different problems. If a solution works for your colleagues, it doesn’t mean it necessarily works for you. Overloading your CRM with unnecessary tasks can lower the speed of work, complicate processes, and make it confusing for teams to navigate.

When it comes to CRM systems, the most appropriate approach is less is more. Identify the list of tasks you need to automate and only make use only of these elements that are necessary for your particular business.

Low CRM Adoption Amongst the Team

Another block for CRM system success is low CRM adoption levels by your team. There are several reasons this could be the case, starting with a reasonably weird but totally real ‘Big Brother’ effect; ending with a wrongly assigned in-house CRM coordinator.

Let’s take a closer look at these mistakes and learn how to fix them.

  • Psychological blocks. One of CRM software’s critical advantages is that it brings workers and teams working together, providing a shared space for company-wide collaboration. But too often, this turns into a key disadvantage. Employees avoid using a CRM system because they feel watched and overly controlled.

“Big Brother is (not really) watching you”

A lack of freedom of action can be limiting and discouraging. To overcome this block and encourage staff to adopt CRM, you can create visual dashboards within it for sales managers to see their individual impact on the company’s revenue and growth.

  • Implementing a CRM system that is too advanced for a business’ needs. Complex doesn’t always mean good. You need to remember that the main purpose of implementing a CRM system is to unite your departments, which means all kinds of employees are going to be involved in it… even the less tech-savvy ones. Having a confusing CRM can be off-putting, immediately reducing the effectiveness of it.

The simpler, the better.

Choosing a simple yet effective CRM system, perhaps, one that integrates with a familiar interface such as Gmail is the best solution.

  • No training. No matter how intuitive or straightforward the CRM you implement is, you can’t skip onboarding. Just a couple of years ago, 22% of sales professionals weren’t sure what CRM was. Now the situation is better, but it’s unwise to assume all your employees are familiar with it.

If you want your teams to use the CRM actively, you need to show them how to. A great way to bring this idea to life is to appoint a CRM administrator or ambassador. This is someone responsible for creating guidelines, ensuring data quality, and training the team. Take your time explaining instructions so that all your teams are on the same page about using the system, data input formats, etc. Only then can you expect data accuracy.

  • A randomly assigned in-house CRM administrator. At the same time, you want to make sure you approach the process of choosing a CRM coordinator responsibly. While it makes sense to appoint the CTO or the COO, granted the tech nature of the CRM, delegating these responsibilities to the Director of Sales or Marketing would likely be more efficient.

Let people who use the system every day be in charge!

Thinking CRM Is a “Set-and-Forget” Thing

It can be tempting to treat CRM as a miraculous tool that will do the job for you. However, you need to remember that it’s just a piece of technology that helps you to improve relationships with your customers… but it can’t replace you on this quest.

Don’t place too many expectations on the CRM tool alone, but rather work on establishing the perfect framework for it: the right workflows, well-trained staff, and thoughtful management.

Using Different Systems for Sales and Marketing

Both Sales and Marketing departments have shared goals of a healthy pipeline and accelerated sales. However, they have different KPIs and are responsible for different end goals, which means they are likely to get caught in a perpetual struggle.

One of the most common miscommunications between the two appears when the Sales Department blames the Marketing Department for not attracting enough high-quality leads. Meanwhile, Marketing claims Sales isn’t effective in nurturing them. On top of that, when the departments store essential data in different systems, it’s difficult to aggregate them and make correct and comprehensive conclusions.

By using a common CRM system and pulling all the data automatically, you’ll have the opportunity to see the full picture of both departments’ performance, with the ability to identify a bottleneck and fix it. Whether you need to change your approach to messaging, touch up the follow-up strategies, or develop mediums to get the leads from, you’ll have it all neatly laid out in front of you, ready for further analysis and management.

To synchronize the work of the Sales and Marketing departments, create records automatically after website registration, specify acquisition channels, track the lead moving down the funnel, and get to know which campaigns work better and scale them.

Tip: Define your buyer persona, their journey, and the responsibilities of each department on every stage of the journey. Implement a single CRM system to track every interaction with the prospect.

Customer relationship management is easy when you know how and where you can trip over. Eliminate the threats and enjoy your success!

Read more: