7 Rules for

Implementing a new CRM represents a considerable investment of time and money, but for roughly a third of organisations, these projects fail. According to a CIO article:

"The analysts' methodologies and standards vary, so the resulting failure numbers are all over the place — between 18 percent and 69 percent."

Most of the factors that contribute to CRM project failure can be corrected if identified. To avoid the various pitfalls associated with implementing your new CRM, and help you leverage the most value from your new platform as early as possible, here are 7 Rules for CRM Success:

Rule #1

Have a Vision

You need to have a clear vision of what you want your CRM to accomplish. CRM software is highly configurable and adaptable to various industries, so setting explicit goals and targets will maintain focus over your planning and implementation processes. With your objectives defined, your CRM project is far more likely to succeed, and you will have a baseline to build upon was your organisation scales and system evolves.

No one can improvise a CRM project, as the saying goes - failing to plan is planning to fail - so make sure to invest plenty of time into the planning stage. CRM implementations are complicated, multi-stage projects that require translating a general framework into specific, trackable workflows; data migration strategy; training; user acceptance testing; and production roll-out.

Rule #2

Don't Fail to Plan

Rule #3

Manage your expectations

CRM systems are very powerful, and it's easy to get swept up with the excitement of adopting advanced new software into your company. Still, you need to remember the technology alone will not improve your customer relationships. CRMs comprise a dynamic set of tools that can deliver fantastic results when combined with the right workflows, staff, and management.

The majority of CRM project failures are due to low user-adoption, where employees did not learn the essentials of a new system or resist using it when deployed. Keep in mind, poorly planned CRMs with crude workflows can be a confusing ess for users; which is why this rule is #4 on the list. Make sure to include end-users in the design and testing stages of the project and focus training by group types and roles. You employees will then have the tools they want and know how to use them.

Rule #4

Use it or Lose it

Rule #5

The Customer is King

CRMs manage customer data in one central location, providing instant access to required information for your sales, marketing, service, and other teams - with various tools and automations - supporting their processes. Consider how your customers engage with your organisation, working back from their perspective, and you may uncover obstacles and opportunities that you were unaware of and can now leverage through the CRM.

Buy-in and participation from all end-users is a must, not just executives; CRM's are collaborative. You'll need support from your vendor also, to answer questions, provide fixes, and manage the updates maintenance your CRM will require as you scale. Most importantly, get a CRM expert - either permanent hire or consultancy. There's no substitute for experience, and they contribute more towards the success of your CRM project than any other party involved.

Rule #6

Don't go it alone

Rule #7

Pick and Choose

CRMs offer mixed sets of modules and customisations, designed to adapt to various use-cases. With competing vendors offering as many homogenous as disparate features and benefits, choosing the right CRM can be a daunting prospect. Remember your vision? Challenge these companies to demonstrate how their software will achieve your objectives. Include end-users and your vendor-neutral CRM expert in the decision-making process.

Want more insight on choosing a CRM? Click here to download a free guide.