Analysing why CRM implementations fail and how to make yours a success
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Analysing why CRM implementations fail and how to make yours a success

Implementing a CRM has the power to revolutionise the way businesses approach lead management and nurturing. According to Capterra, 74% of CRM users report that their CRM system has improved their access to customer data. 

If inefficiencies with your current CRM software emerge, migration to a new system can allow you to unlock growth opportunities and operational improvements. Maximising the ROI of your new CRM requires a well-planned and seamless implementation process. But as with any large-scale project, oversights, miscommunication, and a lack of project planning can cause it to fail. 

Avoiding common mistakes with CRM implementation is crucial to a successful project. Below are a few things you can do to help ensure this.


Understanding why CRM implementations fail 

Migrating CRM requires careful planning. CIO estimates that approximately 33% of all CRM projects fail due to various reasons, ranging from poor project objectives to inadequate stakeholder involvement. Understanding the potential pitfalls of a mismanaged CRM implementation will direct your strategy and set you up for success. 

Undefined goals
Clear objectives are at the core of every successful CRM implementation project. Without understanding what you want to achieve with the system and how it will help your business, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re working towards. 

Do you want to improve customer retention and loyalty? Boost operational efficiency? Grow revenue? The key is to make your specific goals clear, measurable, and concise. Keep in mind that too many objectives can be as harmful as none at all, as they risk diluting your focus. 

Inadequate CRM strategy
Implementing new CRM software without a robust wider CRM strategy in place can lead to team misalignment and a lack of direction when it comes to achieving objectives. 

A lack of team buy-in
Implementing a new CRM system without getting stakeholders and end-users on board is a common mistake. If key individuals in an organisation aren’t involved until after a new system is introduced, it can add friction and blockers on the road to CRM success.

Low user adoption and a lack of training
Despite the powerful features and potential growth that can come with a new CRM, if staff aren’t using the system effectively, it will fail to support your goals. If your team is resistant to change and doesn’t understand the reasons for migration, the project is at risk. 

Similarly, if your end users don’t receive comprehensive CRM training and are unable to use the new software correctly, user adoption will be low or data inputted into the CRM will be poor.

Selecting the wrong system 
Your CRM plays a crucial role in your tech stack and will become an integral part of your daily operations. If it doesn’t suit your specific requirements, or integrate with legacy systems, you could waste time and resources implementing a system that’s not fit for purpose. 

Poor data quality
If the data quality within your current CRM is poor, then migrating it over to the new system could mean past frustrations are carried over too. Before moving CRM, identify what data is insightful and valuable, disregarding inaccurate data no longer representative of your customer base. Conducting this data cleanse will put your business in a much stronger position prior to moving over.

Choosing the wrong implementation method
Before moving CRM, it’s crucial to carefully assess the right implementation method for you. Choosing to implement a CRM in-house without the internal capacity and an effective plan, can harm the success of the project. This approach also means there’s one single point of failure, and can present vulnerabilities if key team members leave the business.

Trying to solve too much at once
A common mistake with CRM implementation is trying to solve all problems at once in phase one of the project. Instead, it’s crucial to set a solid foundation then adopt a mindset of continuous improvement when it comes to adding to your CRM.


Exploring the components of a successful CRM implementation

Having delivered hundreds of CRM implementations and integrations, we’ve identified the key components that every successful CRM migration requires. There needs to be strategic alignment, resource allocation, and buy-in to facilitate a positive, internal cultural shift.  

Develop your CRM strategy 
A robust CRM strategy goes hand in hand with successful software implementation. By driving the connection between your sales, marketing, and customer success teams, your strategy should help to organise your pipeline and streamline your customer journey. 

  1. Define SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Make sure these goals are realistic, considering what is most important for phase one of the project. This can reduce the pressure to achieve all goals in a short timeframe
  2. Identify your customers
  3. Understand your customer journey
  4. Pinpoint key metrics to track
  5. Focus on continuous improvement

Choose the right CRM software 
A well-functioning CRM should integrate sales and marketing efforts, ensuring a seamless customer journey. It’s important to consider the size of your business, types of transactions required, and what integrations the new software will need to facilitate. 

Choosing an all-in-one solution like HubSpot helps to consolidate your tech stack, positioning your CRM, CMS, and sales tools in one place. HubSpot also enables thousands of native integrations if you need to connect other apps in your tech stack. 

Make sure the software you choose aligns with not only your current business needs but also your future plans. Can the CRM scale with your business? Are there limitations on the number of users and amount of data you can add? 

Secure stakeholder and end-user buy-in
For a CRM implementation to be successful, wide stakeholder involvement is crucial. Representation from all relevant departments is key, which often includes IT, Sales, Operations, Client Services and Finance teams.

Stakeholders and end-users alike need to be aligned on the benefits of the new software, and how these align with wider business objectives. Getting buy-in early in the process ensures all areas of the business can prepare for the migration. 

Consult a partner agency 
Especially if you don’t have the in-house capacity to support CRM migration, a specialist partner agency can provide you with the expertise needed, from implementation to training. A partner agency can help to manage timeframes and devise your roadmap with you, so you can move at pace to coincide with existing contracts. Choose an agency with a: 

  • Dedicated onboarding specialist
  • Platform partner status such as a HubSpot Elite Partner
  • Support package options to assist with training

Invest in onboarding and CRM training
End-user adoption shouldn’t be left to chance. Arranging CRM training is an effective way to empower end users to adopt the new software. It also minimises the risk of user error, which often results in data inaccuracies. 

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