Getting the initial implementation of your CRM software right is an important aspect of using it successfully in your business. To help ensure that your implementation is a success, here are 7 common pitfalls to avoid.
1. A lack of leadership
Failing to assign a project manager for your CRM implementation can cause a lot of problems. You need someone to lead the project and the team, and keep it moving. Whilst some implementation approaches aim to deliver a system with as much “out of the box” as possible, others are a large project so it’s vital that everyone involved in the implementation is motivated and knows exactly what their role is, and this is something that the project lead should be managing.
A good leader will get input from key staff members during the planning stages and make sure that everyone’s talents are utilised. An ideal candidate for project manager would be someone who is passionate about the project and has a clear understanding of why the business is adopting the CRM system, what the main goals of the implementation will be, and is strong enough to maintain direction and deadlines.
2. Choosing the wrong vendor
Choosing the right CRM vendor is vital, which means a lot of thought and research should go into this before you start planning the implementation. You must be clear on exactly what your requirements are. What functionality do you require now and in the future? Can you easily add functionality and users as you grow? Do you want a hosted or true cloud solution? Or do you want an on-premise solution?
You should make sure that the vendor you choose can provide references from customers in your industry. You could also try asking industry colleagues, insiders or competitors what they use and their opinion of it.
3. Choosing the wrong partner
Most vendors are focused on initial implementations. Very few are designed to provide a long-term, on-going relationship that can optimise your use of the CRM. For this, you will need to choose a partner, and picking the right one is important.
Once you have gathered your requirements you can then use your “how it is”, “how you want it to be” and a personality fit to filter your choices, allowing you to make an informed decision.
Again, you should make sure that the partner you choose can provide references from customers in your industry. You could also try asking industry colleagues, insiders or competitors who they use and their opinion of them.
4. Setting inflexible deadlines
It’s good to have an ideal deadline for the completion of the project – it gives you and your team something to aim for. However, the deadline shouldn’t be set in stone and viewed as the be-all and end-all. If you do have an immovable deadline you should aim to finish your implementation at least two weeks before hand to allow for some contingency.
If there are key parts of the implementation that haven’t been achieved by deadline day then there’s no shame in pushing it back. It’s very easy to underestimate the scope of a CRM implementation and as a result, cut corners in order to reach your deadline. A more flexible approach is always better.
5. Failure to get staff on board
This is a very common mistake when implementing CRM software. If your staff don’t understand the benefits that using a CRM system will provide and how it will help them and the business, then they’re not going to be fully behind the implementation.
The best way to get your staff on board is to get them to contribute. Fully explain the benefits that you are hoping to deliver and ask for their assistance. Once your staff are clear on why the implementation is happening and have ownership of the solution they’ll be much more helpful to you during the process and you’ll experience less opposition.
6. Forgetting that it’s only software
It’s very easy to adopt a new system simply because you’ve heard it provides benefits and expect those benefits to be instantly realised upon implementation. However, CRM software is just a tool and can only provide true benefit when it’s combined with processes and people.
Customer Relationship Management is a business strategy and your system is only as good as the people entering the data and utlising its tools. Make sure that you put in place an overall plan and objectives of what you want to achieve from your CRM software, and then put the processes and training in place to make this happen.
7. Not cleaning up your data
One of the biggest pitfalls we see is customers not allowing enough time to clean up their data ready for migration into the new system. If your data is in the wrong fields (e.g. text in a phone number field), then the migration will not work and can slow down the implementation significantly.
Your software can work wonders for your customer management, but if the data is incorrect, out of date, or duplicated, then you simply won’t be able to use it to its full potential.
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