Research estimates that up to 63% of CRM systems fail to meet expectations – and a failed CRM implementation can be extremely costly, not just in terms of the financial expense, but also because of the costs in lost time – and credibility. Even more impactful: you don’t often get a second chance at CRM success. This means that it’s critical to select the right CRM system.
The good news is, CRM success is possible. If you simply follow a few critical steps before and during the CRM selection process, you can ensure that you select a system that will help you achieve your organization’s goals, enhance adoption and provide value to your users and return on your investment.
Tip 1: Problems First, Then Products
When attempting to successfully select and implement CRM software, it’s essential to focus on people and processes first, products second. Too many people immediately rush out to find potential vendors so they can set up demonstrations of the most popular CRM software. While it’s easy to get caught up in the shiny bells and whistles of a good CRM demo, it’s important to resist the temptation to dive into features and functions too soon without first taking the time to gain a real understanding of your organizational and user needs.
Tip 2: Assess Your Needs
Organizations buy CRM software for a number of reasons – but each firm is unique. To provide real value and ROI, before making the purchase, you have to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Start by putting together a list of the key reasons you think you need a CRM. Are you trying to communicate more effectively with Clients and prospects? Manage and evaluate the ROI of events or sponsorships? Track and enhance business development efforts? Help the organization be more efficient? Maybe increase business and revenue?
After assessing your organization’s needs, you may discover that you have a lot more goals than you first thought. If this is the case, it will be important to prioritize the goals. Don’t try to boil the ocean. If you try to tackle too many things at once, especially during the initial rollout, you will be less likely to succeed. Instead, assign your goals to a timeline based on importance and value to users. For the initial implementation, set a few relevant goals, achieve those initial successes, communicate the successes – and repeat.
Once you understand your organization’s unique needs and requirements, it’s time to talk to your users. One of the biggest frustrations we hear from Clients is a lack of CRM adoption. This isn’t surprising since, in many of these organizations, system users were not involved during the selection process. To get people to buy in and use software, it has to provide value not only to the organization, but to them individually. The challenge is that different people define value differently, which means different groups or types of users will have their own unique needs and requirements. That’s why it’s so important to get them involved early. Making your users part of the process up front will also make them more likely to adopt the software later.