How to Avoid the 4 Mistakes That Kill Every CRM Implementation

Are you in the market for a new customer relationship management platform, or do you want to improve the levels of adoption with your existing CRM? You can run into many roadblocks that lead your sales team astray. Before you go forward with your CRM implementation, learn about the four mistakes that will kill every plan.

1. No Vision

Do you have an answer to the question “Why?” A CRM is integral to your sales team’s job duties, so you can’t bring in a new platform “just because.” Their workflows, processes, and routine get completely disrupted during new software deployment. They have to take time away from closing deals (and getting commissions) for training that’s necessary to start using this tool.

You need a compelling reason to put your sales reps through all that. Before you do anything else, make sure that you can explain to everyone on your team exactly how their lives will be better after you adopt this CRM.

Don’t use a high-level approach that’s not relatable. Go down the list of specific benefits that address their pain points with the current CRM. If you haven’t consulted your front line sales force about what they’d like to see out, stop what you’re doing and get their feedback immediately. You need their buy-in to achieve success with this rollout.

2. No Leadership

Speaking of buy-in, is management on board with a new CRM? You can only do so much to compensate for leadership that doesn’t care about implementation success. You encounter many roadblocks when you don’t have top-down support for what you’re doing.

The most obvious one is a lack of financial assistance for the CRM rollout. You may not have the funding to get your first-pick solution, or you end up without the right team in place to deploy it to your sales team. A lack of resources can turn a promising implementation into a productivity destroying disaster.

IT projects already have a high risk of failure due to any number of things going wrong throughout the process, so you don’t need to add another variable into that pot.

Your sales managers also need to support the CRM strongly. While the sales reps are the ones using it the most, the managers have a strong influence in whether the team actually ends up using the software. If you skip out on this step, you’ll end up with your reps using the old software or bringing in their own personal favorites.

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3. No Purpose

What’s the ultimate objective of this CRM implementation? Do you need to boost productivity numbers through new time-saving features? Is your current CRM so old that you suspect it might have been in place since the founding of your organization? Are your sales reps spending too much time on data entry and not enough time out in the field doing their actual jobs?

These are a few questions you can use to determine the exact purpose of bringing in a new CRM. You need to go one step beyond this answer and put clear measures of success in place, with a definitive timeline to seeing the improvements.

Handling this part of the process can go a long way towards getting that critical buy-in from leadership, especially if you can pinpoint a few quick wins shortly after deployment.

4. No Data Strategy

Your sales team depends on the data in the CRM for everything from contact information to a history of activities with prospects. Yet many implementation plans completely overlook the need for figuring out exactly how you are exporting data from your current CRM and moving it into a new solution (if you’re switching).

You need two parts to your data strategy that cover the initial load and then the ongoing needs. For the initial load, one of the trickiest parts can be maintaining data quality and integrity when you’re moving it from your old CRM. Some vendors use proprietary formats that are difficult to work with so you may need to bring in specialized help to accomplish this task.

Keep an eye out for duplicated data, missing fields and improperly merged information if you’re handling this process in-house. Deduplication and other data quality services can clean up the database.

Once you have that settled, it’s time to address the second part of the data strategy. How do you keep your CRM database up to date and clean going forward without flooding everybody with manual data entry?

Working with CRM technology that automates the data entry process cuts down on the human error and manual work needed for this process. If you can capture the information at source, then everyone is working from the same set.

Emphasize the importance of data quality, use third-party data sources to fill in information or check the validity of prospect records, and schedule routine data audits to ensure that the quality isn’t slipping.

When It Comes to Your CRM Implementation

A new CRM implementation can be the best thing that’s ever happened to your sales force. Avoid these mistakes so you can improve your chances at a successful CRM implementation, deployment and adoption.

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