CRM Solution Software

CRM Software Solutions

CRM software blueprint
An Executive's Guide to CRM Software

Top 10 Factors for CRM Implementation Failure


Few companies on the market today achieve a successful Client Relationship Management software implementation on the first try. In fact, a majority of mature businesses (in existence more than twenty years) have written off at least one significant investment in a CRM software solution.

Think about it.

CRM projects fail for a variety of reasons. In the North American market, a recent study estimates that over half of all CRM implementations fail to meet their objectives. In the European market, the corresponding statistic is a horrific seventy to eighty percent. Study the top factors for failure in order to avoid them.

Not defining clear objectives for the software implementation is a commonly cited contributing factor associated with failed implementations. A successful project is one that attains its objectives, but it is amazing how many business entities undertake a CRM solution with vague, unidentified, immeasurable goals.

Not attaching measurements to your objectives is a similar contributing factor. Labeling a project unsuccessful requires some degree of measurement, and if a company does not calculate pre-implementation assessments of critical objectives, it becomes impossible to pinpoint the issues responsible for either success or failure. While it may be a generally accepted fact that a project is not successful, unless the business can identify where and why, it is doomed to repeated failures.

A failure to review and define the key performance indicators for the company is the reason many a project descend into disaster. Evident, but an amazing number of implementations do not define clear metrics. Unclear metrics or poor metric quality is an often overlooked factor in the dividing line judging a system implementation’s failure or success.

Over-customization of the software particularly during an early implementation phase can spell the demise of a project. While lack of defined business objectives is a sin of crucial importance, going to the other extreme, is perhaps the second most common reason Client Relationship Management solutions are not utilized by users. Do not attempt to implement every feature inherent in the software. This tactic guarantees failure. An equally common reason for failure is planning to customize the selected solution before utilizing it in a test environment. Even identified, possible holes in software functionality can often be worked around, thus avoiding customization.

Not incenting your employees to use the system contribution to user adoption challenges. Possibly the most important single quantitative gauge of success is the user adoption rate. If only the self-motivated utilize the system, it is not successful.  Use a combination of rewards and procedures to spur users’ buy-in, and recognize that this is necessary for all personnel, including executives.

Insufficient training and support delivered during key periods can berry a project. User adoption rates drop off for a number of reasons, but two rank high on the list - lack of training and support prior to and post implementation. Sometimes this occurs not because the training and support are absent, but because it is not provided in the appropriate format.  A remote sales force, for example, may not be able to rely on in-house personnel for remote support.

Another reason for poor user buy-in is incorrect, incomplete or bogus data. Marketing cannot direct concerted successful campaigns if prospect information is inaccurate. The same holds true for both the Sales and Service divisions, and, indeed, in these lines of business, erroneous records can bring operations to a complete halt, ensuring dismal failure.

Failure to align the business operations of the divisions utilizing the system virtually guarantees the project’s outcome. CRM solutions generally involve three often disparate departments with separate processes, cultures, and aims. Numerical targets exist for each division and these can be contradictory. Unless these areas are aligned harmoniously prior to the project’s initiation, failure is likely.

Not only must operations be aligned across sectors, but they must share consistent processes where those processes interact with the customer. Each salesperson must perform the same process to take a lead to client in the same manner. Consistent, aligned processes cannot be translated into system workflow unless they are documented and understood. Undocumented business practices are unreliable and leave large margins for inefficiency and breakdown.

Not planning for change and delineating a specific method of handling each out-of-scope incident can doom a project. Besides user adoption rates, two other important gauges of a successful CRM implementation are budget and cost overruns. Both of these are simple, quantitative evaluations easily measured by objective analysis. If a project was supposed to be completed within six months, but actually took in excess of a year, users will view it as unsuccessful and become reluctant to associate with the project. Project duration estimates are exceeded for numerous reasons; inadequate resources, timely unavailability of resources, the changing global marketplace, and many others. Exceeding the budgeted dollar figure for installing and using a CRM system is a result of many factors, but the primary culprit is creeping project scope.

CRM Introduction Real World CRM Executives Guide to SFA Marketing Automation Customer Support