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Despite the challenges in CRM implementation, on-boarding an appropriate CRM solution unquestionably is an excellent way to show how much you value your customers and put customer service on topmost priority. CRM plays a pivotal role to collaborate between customer service, marketing and sales in a company. In fact, salespeople are the ones at the receiving end when it comes to reaping the core benefits of a CRM software. Nevertheless, businesses have been enduring with a number of challenges especially when implementing a new CRM system for SMEs and startups. This article is intended to throw light on some of the top challenges faced during CRM implementation to help you get past the curve.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software have continuously proved its significance for many businesses across industries by successful implementation records. The ability to manage several aspects of a business such as Customer Relations, Sales, Marketing, and Service Management happens to be the core function of all top CRM software. However, it is been observed that many CRM implementation fail which thereby cause companies to pay out of pocket expenses as well as impacts future revenue negatively.
A CRM system serves as a central hub for all the companies by offering a number of handy benefits related to Sales, Marketing, and customer service, but what benefit any software can provide unless it is implemented properly for full utilization for the company staff.
Why CRM Implementation Fails?
1. Lack of Communication
CRM implementation decisions are taken by the top management in all organizations because of the budget and the process changes which will happen after the CRM implementation. This decision and the process afterwards, needs to be communicated to the whole staff and the top management needs to be supportive of the plan throughout the implementation process. Lack of communication can give rise to insecurities and mental barrier in the minds of the staff. Lack of communication also happens when the CRM is implemented and still the salesforce cannot update the CRM on the go with their meeting details and rely on their support staff to do the same on their behalf. Here, the CRM does not eliminate the problem but gives rise to new ones as double effort is required on the salesperson’ behalf.
Over here, what you need is a CRM software with built in communication management module for seamless delivery of customer service. For example, if a Prospect or Customer calls and the original team member that earlier spoke with the client is unavailable. Then rather than leaving their query unaddressed due to no knowledge of previous discussion; another Team member can quickly pull out the notes such as Email communications, Meeting discussions or so on and efficiently answer any questions the caller may have.
2. Lack of Organization Wide Use
Introducing CRM as an important and time saving tool will encourage the users to make use of it on a wide range. Managers must make the CRM software an important medium to make or record all the interactions done by the Sales team on a daily basis. Making your sales representative believe that CRM is not just a tracking tool but very much efficient to help you keep updated with the upcoming appointments, open customer cases, top opportunities, as well as staying updated with the CRM notes of the latest communication done with the client will help manage their time.
Another way to ensure widespread acceptance of CRM is to introduce CRM as a help-desk tool for Customer Service executives. Making use of CRM’s service module to log and track cases of customers. Monitoring priority cases, examining employee performance through the use of SLA’s and escalation facility, reviewing the solutions provided are some of the main aspects of Sage CRM’s service module.
3. Lack of Technology Integration
Nearly all the processes in the company have some or the other software to take care of the manual work. The problem arises due to the fact that all these systems are not connected with each other and the data flow between them is absent. Understanding the need of the business and employees is the major facet to finalize a CRM software tool for the organization. A successful CRM implementation must guarantee that the CRM will meet the needs of the every level of employee may it be a Management User, a Sales Representative, a Service Executive or a Marketing Manager.
Sage CRM is one such CRM software that allows the users to seamlessly access their enterprise database thereby avoiding the need to enter duplicate data into system. Gaining full access to information of the Customer, Products, and sales – analysis etc. helps the staff to do their job more effectively. Data Management in Sage CRM not only helps to maintain the data security but also helps the user to identify what they need to close the sale on the go from any device, anytime and anywhere they might be.
Understanding and adopting full capabilities of the CRM system will lead to a higher level of customer service, increased revenue for the company, and in turn, increased commissions for the sales representatives.
What are the CRM Implementation Challenges?
One of the greatest challenges businesses face when implementing a CRM solution is cost. Yes, it might turn out as a costly affair if done in haste and without a robust planning. Here, it is advisable to decide as why your business needs a CRM. This should give out a clear picture about the type of CRM implementation techniques required eventually helping to set a budget for the same. So simply diving in imitating your competitor’s CRM strategies is a lot like shooting in the dark that might lead to total disaster. So it is always a sound thing to discuss the total cost of ownership, IT resources, hardware or software, etc. with all the shortlisted CRM providers.
2. Set Clear Objectives
Defining clear objectives that a business intends to achieve with the system is one of the secrets for a smooth and successful CRM implementation. Further, it is advisable to work towards making these objectives as measurable metrics. Failing to do so might make it difficult to evaluate the ROI or core benefits of the system. Next, it’s time to reckon on the functionalities you expect from the system. For this, ask yourself: do you intend to have it for sales, marketing, customer service or all of them? What problems you aim to address with the system? Having a clear idea about the objectives and key functionalities required in the system is a crucial step towards seamless CRM implementation.
3. Deployment Type
This is all about on-premise vs. cloud! A perfect escape plan here is to compare the set budget vs. the total cost of ownership that should include cost for all the resources required, maintenance, upgrades, infrastructure, etc. before making up your mind of whether to go for on-premise or cloud. This further boils down to business preferences, type of industry the business operates in, etc. Form a dedicated CRM team within the organization including people from top management, IT department, senior executives, customer support and end-users to discuss about their daily struggles, reasons leading to inefficiencies in their work, suggestions to boost productivity, etc. This should give a good picture about the type of deployment type best suited for your business.
Another widely encountered challenge during CRM implementation is the company-wide training it summons up. This calls for involving all the potential users right from the early stages itself. In fact, if possible it is good to involve all the would-be users of the system right from the decision-making process. Pick key personnel from each department, who can be trained extensively. Eureka is these personnel turning evangelists of the newly rolled-out CRM system, which helps significantly to educate their fellow team members.
5. Plan out Integration Needs in Advance
Integrating CRM system with other business management solutions such as ERP, payroll, etc. tops the ‘wish list’ for most of the businesses opting for CRM implementation. Nonetheless, it is advisable to plan integration needs if any well beforehand to avoid CRM implementation overkill and information overload to your employees. A smart thing here is to plan a phase 2 for integration needs post company-wide adoption of the CRM system.
6. Hire the Right CRM Solution Provider
Roping in the right CRM solution provider or partner is the crux for successful implementation. Preferably, go with a partner that helps in both implementation as well as pre-implementation strategy. Moreover, it is imperative that your partner puts down all the implementation risks on the table well before you sign on the dotted line.
RM Implementation is an important and a crucial step in the CRM buying process. It is a make or a break situation where it can totally go kaput or be seamless. It is in this stage too that all the data is migrated to the new platform and since the data is of a crucial nature, utmost care needs to be taken during the migration.
To have a successful implementation we must plan in advance as how our implementation can be smooth and successful. For most it may be the first time that CRM is being implemented in their premise, hence, we have compiled some actions that can be taken to get rid of any blunder to happen. Let’s see the same one by one.
What are the top CRM Implementation Disasters?
1. Lack Of leadership
It’s like riding an Aircraft without a pilot. It is only the leader – CEO, CXO, Founders, etc. who have the required insight and the direction that they need to steer their business towards. They will be the ones who will be able to provide the ERP vendor with the exact requirement and can overlook the implementation effectively. When the task of implementation or any critical process needs to be handled by mid-level staff, expect that the implementation will not be a smooth one. They have insufficient business knowledge and might also not be authorized to access important data like finances and sales. Hence, the role of a company leader is not restricted to just selecting the CRM Software. In fact, it stretches to implementation and post implementation helping and motivating the company staff to use the new software.
2. Absence of Clearly Defined Goals:
More than 50% CRM implementations fail due to lack in clearly defined goals. Before buying a CRM system, there is a brief plan laid out that the company wants to grow, expand in future and hence, they need a CRM software for it but a clearly defined goal gives way more information than that – How much transaction will happen, how many security levels will you need and how do you manage the gap between what your company does and the software provides, etc.
If goals are well-defined and handy then you can measure the success or failure of the CRM implementation. Also, important factor is that the complete organization or users need to be in sync with the understanding these goals and know pre hand what they should expect from the system.
3. Too Much IT Involvement:
It is not always important that the IT team is involved in every phase important. Though they are integral in understanding the technicalities and the functional aspects, it is not sensible to be completely dependent on them for everything. The sales and marketing team need to have a better understanding of how the system should behave in order to accomplish the future goals since these departments are the key users for the CRM system.
Today, there are many ERP vendors who provide Cloud access as a basic feature in their CRM software which assists in the managers to access their client data remotely. This helps in closing deals faster and being where the business is actually happening. Now, for these functionalities, the IT team may or may not be available always to show the way around. Hence, all teams should be equally participating during implementation and data migration period.
4. “It’s My Way or the Highway” Mentality
When any organization decides to implement something new, people often reject it saying that they are not comfortable with the software, however to avoid the ‘it’s my way or the highway’ mentality, the management needs to convince and train them efficiently on the new system that would be well fitted in their current comfort zone to get more growth and stability. Likewise, the management should make sure that the software needs to be user friendly and easier to navigate around.
These are not the only challenges faced during CRM implementation, but these are certainly the top ones. Your partner should educate about all the possible challenges that might hinder a successful CRM implementation. Having a checklist of all the challenges can save a significant amount of money, time and resources as well as helps in successful and company-wide adoption of the new CRM system.
How to Make CRM Software an Indispensable Asset?
CRM software can be your core business strength if implemented smartly.
Is your CRM implementation turning out as promised in terms of ROI? If not, then you have reached the right page. CRM systems hold excellent potential to help uplift an organization’s customer relationship management game, most of the enterprises unfortunately fail to use it to the fullest. For example, several features you pay are not used.
Purchasing a good software is only half battle won, as its success relies greatly in the way it is implemented and used subsequently. Proper implementation and usage are two key factors for better ROI. It is not just used to capture a customer’s information, but also to store important documents. However, improper use can put a dent in your business.
Also Read: Failing to drive growth with CRM?
CRM is not just a tool for sales, as everyone in a company can benefit from it including marketing, finance, etc. if used properly.