5 common challenges in CRM implementation
Many businesses are quickly adopting CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions to boost their lead generation and customer retention efforts. According to recent studies, CRM is the fastest-growing software market with expected revenues exceeding $80 billion in the next five years.
Companies that haven’t started implementing CRM solutions may face the risk of falling behind or losing ground to their competitors. But despite this big risk, some are holding back because they anticipate serious challenges. As reported by ThriveMyWay, 63% of companies encounter issues with their CRM.
Certainly, just like with other types of integration, there’s a steep learning curve for CRM implementation. The challenges are broad and cover different aspects of the implementation process. So, it's crucial to understand these common issues and explore effective solutions tailored to overcome each hurdle.
1. A gap in communication between and across parties
CRM doesn’t just benefit one team, it’s a win for the whole company. However, many organizations make a mistake by failing to integrate CRM across all departments. In fact, poor company-wide implementation is often the primary issue in CRM integration, leading to the risk of CRM failure. To avoid this, CRM must be implemented across all employee levels and everyone needs proper training on how to use this technology in their business process. Investing in training programs to equip employees with the knowledge and skills required to use CRM effectively is also crucial to successful CRM implementation.
However, the gap isn't limited to internal teams; it also extends to third-party implementers or CRM vendors. Implementing CRM features can become problematic when external parties lack a solid understanding of a company's goals, objectives, and operations. This may result in the exclusion of essential elements that the company truly needs from the CRM, leading to more significant and serious issues. Maintaining open communication between internal and external teams is crucial to mitigating problems that come with CRM implementation.
2. Lack of active leadership oversight
The role of a company leader goes beyond choosing the right CRM system for business growth; it involves overseeing implementation and providing guidance to the entire organization. Top executives should be responsible for communicating requirements to vendors and supervising the implementation. Often, this responsibility falls on mid-level staff, leading to potential issues in the CRM adoption process, as they may lack knowledge and access to critical information.
Ensure that company leaders take a more active role in all phases of the CRM implementation process, offering direction and guidance to their employees and even vendors. Additionally, providing training and resources to mid-level staff directly involved in using the CRM tool can help empower each member to leverage this technology effectively and with little to no problems.
3. Relying too much on IT for troubleshooting
Involving the IT team in every stage of adoption and maintenance may not always be necessary. While their expertise is needed, relying entirely on them may not be practical. Non-IT teams need to have a solid understanding of how CRM systems operate since they are the primary users.
Non-IT departments must also be well-versed with the basics of CRM usage, so they don’t have to add to the burden of the IT team with every concern. Fortunately, many CRM solutions come with features that simplify the management and sharing of data (e.g. remote access data without IT support). For a successful CRM implementation, every department must be proficient in using the CRM platform and capable of addressing minor issues independently.
4. No clear, overarching CRM implementation plan
One of the most fundamental challenges businesses face with CRM is the lack of a solid CRM implementation plan. Although many businesses have the necessary data, they often lack a clear strategy on how to leverage it effectively. In fact, according to Forrester, despite 74% of businesses aspiring to be more data-driven, only 29% know how to leverage this valuable resource.
To successfully integrate CRM systems, companies need to be clear with their objectives and hash out a comprehensive plan on how these technologies can help their business. This requires choosing CRM platforms and features that align with their business goals and fulfill specific business requirements. Creating an integrated marketing communication (IMC) plan that incorporates various communication channels, such as SMS, email, and social media, into the CRM strategy can empower businesses to create more effective implementation plans that achieve broader goals while driving specific results.
5. Lack of professional knowledge of CRM
Failures in CRM can result from issues with both the technology itself and the capabilities of the company. Frequently, IT teams lack the necessary knowledge to implement new CRM systems, perform integrations, or address issues. Even when the CRM has suitable integrations, inadequate setup can still result in CRM failure. In cases where businesses lack confidence in the capabilities of their internal IT team, seeking assistance from external experts and specialized agencies may be essential for a successful CRM implementation process.
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