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  • Writer's pictureAdam Curwin

Why Your CRM Initiatives Fail

You've felt it. Finally, you're on your way to a cleaner, more focused CRM that you can trust. No more confusion or panicked looks when handling requests or reports. Your frustration is nearly over. However, CRM initiatives often stumble due to less obvious, even ironic, reasons, considering they are meant to "manage relationships." The problem lies with people - not your people, but people in general. Don't get us wrong, we love people (almost as much as dogs).

Humans resist change, and because "a good CRM implementation is disruptive," by necessity, implementation will be resisted. To make CRM projects work, you need to combine hands-on know-how with a solid vision from leadership. This combo is key to breaking through the usual barriers of narrow thinking and weak collaboration that often mess things up, whether the project is big or small.

Experienced leaders know "goals need to be explicitly set so that your team knows what they are striving for ..." regarding essential tech/services process or tech implementation. Ignoring the human-centric nature of any CRM initiative is why such initiatives fail.

Business Users Aren't Involved in CRM Buildout

If you want user buy-in, get users involved early. A significant pitfall in CRM initiatives is the exclusion of business users during the buildout phase. When the people who use the CRM daily are not involved in its design and implementation, the potential benefits and efficiencies are lost. Building early champions inside the org for impending changes always pays dividends post-launch.

Overbuilding and Overcomplication

With their myriad features and customizations, CRMs can sometimes fall victim to their complexity, leading to redundancy and siloing of information if an experienced eye is not involved. Users find themselves lost in a labyrinth of features that add more confusion than value. This complexity increases as leaders consider that the CRM system does not operate in a vacuum (see below).

Lack of Ongoing Training & Feedback

Consistency in reinforcement is critical in a successful change process, CRM or otherwise. That means comprehensive support and training plans are needed. Without consistent training and feedback, user proficiency gaps and missed opportunities to align the system with evolving requirements are at risk. It is imperative to prioritize continuous training and feedback as essential components of CRM system implementation and maintenance strategies.

Lack of Reporting/Dashboards

Inadequate reporting tools and dashboards make CRMs less useful. The right report to the right reps at the right time allows managers to become coaches. With that stated and knowing none start here, every business has nuanced needs. It will eventually benefit from robust and comprehensive reporting capabilities to monitor performance and gain data-driven insights—the question of "When" is usually determined by buy-in and user compliance.

No Enforcement of Usage

When every individual within the organization deeply understands the criticality of the CRM system and actively takes responsibility for its usage, the likelihood of success increases. Being lax with enforcement leads to waste, not just in underuse but also by creating redundancy within the system, making pulling relevant data impossible. It is interesting to note that streamlining processes greatly enhances team compliance: less hammer and more removing what isn't needed.

Inadequate Data Quality and Management

The value of any CRM lies in the presence of high-quality data. We all hear a sales manager's voice (or our own if we survived long enough)- "If it isn't in the CRM, it didn't happen." Data hygiene ultimately comes down to individual responsibility and amplifies any other obstacle to the successful implementation discussed.

Ignoring Other Tools & Integrations

CRM is one piece of the array of tech that sellers must now manage. Failing to consider integrating with other tools in the sales and marketing tech stack can limit its functionality and reduce its overall utility for the organization. To be the "center of truth" for the org, what it is the center of must be factored in. What else is tied into the tech stack? What is redundant? What has priority?

Working With the Wrong Service Provider

Good project management alone can't achieve this fantastic result from a CRM initiative- it takes expertise. Selecting the most suitable CRM service provider is paramount for the initiative's success. An ill-fitting provider or one needing more experience can result in a system that needs to meet the unique requirements and goals of the organization.

The success of a CRM initiative, regardless of scale or size, cope is not solely dependent on the technical aspects of the system. Equally important is how well it integrates with the human elements of the organization, such as employee buy-in, training, and change management. Curious how Skydog Ops' comprehensive and customized fractional approach navigates these obstacles?


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