Your CRM should propel you into the future, not drag you backwards. Unfortunately, CRM projects fail all the time, for a variety of reasons.
Some CRM implementations result in systems and processes that are incredibly frustrating to use, while others end up looking like a masterpiece. I’ve worked on CRM projects in a variety of industries throughout my career, from real estate and medtech to cybersecurity and supply chain, across both B2B and B2C. In this article I’ll explain why implementations of CRMs fail — and what you can do to ensure yours produces positive returns.
Why CRMs Fail
Implementations of CRMs fail most often because they don’t have buy-in from employees, users don’t receive proper training and the systems aren’t designed properly. Fortunately, these are not only avoidable, but they present opportunities to get more out of your tooling investment by unifying your people, processes, technology and data.
1. Lack of Buy-In
With CRM implementations, you are ultimately asking (or sometimes telling) your people to change the way they are working and adopt something entirely new.
In many cases, this will actually be met with excitement and relief — if the team understands the value of the project. But pushback can occur when that value is not understood. The success of CRM projects, as with all rev tech that isn’t fully automated, is at the mercy of the people who are expected to use it.
How to solve: When exploring tooling, consult your team and users to better understand their problem areas or points of frustration. Get their buy-in to solve these challenges instead of leading with technology first.
2. Lack of Training
If employees don’t understand how to use your tech, then you end up getting no value out of it — even if they’ve bought in. Your users likely are not all at the same level of experience or confidence with rev tech, so despite some strong adoption overall, you can still have pockets of inexperience.
How to solve: Once you have a tool and plan in place, don’t wait until your CRM project is done to start training. Training should be consistent and comprehensive throughout the journey. Take the time to collect individual feedback where possible. Don’t leave anyone behind.
3. Poor Business Architecture
CRMs such as HubSpot and Salesforce are extremely powerful… when built correctly. If you lack the expertise to design them to fit your business model and keep consistent with good design practices, then you can quickly end up with a bloated Frankenstack that starts to negatively influence your business.
Being held prisoner by tech debt is a guaranteed growth killer that will eat you from the inside out, and unfortunately a lot of gut reactions to fix this problem actually make it worse.
How to solve: Make sure you have an expert leading the charge: either a strong in-house team or, better yet, an implementation partner such as York IE. But keep in mind that success takes both strategy and tactics. The extra investment here will pay out big time on the long road ahead.
If your CRM fails, it can be a huge liability that hinders your growth. Tackling your CRM projects right from the start can make the difference between hitting and missing your targets.