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Guide To Successful CRM Implementation – 5 Steps

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

According to various estimates, 50% of CRM implementations fail. Some analysts peg it as high as 70%. It’s ironic, however, that companies intend to invest in CRM applications as part of their top technology investments. This means that most organizations – even SMBs are aware of the benefits of deploying a CRM software but eventually fail to roll it out successfully.

Based on our experience with numerous CRM consulting services assignments, we have listed down steps to avoid CRM implementation failure or steps for successful CRM implementation

– Select The Right Product

Most executive decision-makers responsible for CRM selection believe in “Go for the best and leave the rest” which means shortlisting and purchasing products with the largest market share, and market visibility and are the most expensive. This is done to save jobs and eliminate any questions about CRM selection. They fail to realize that choosing a large & complex product will slowly eat into the CRM budgets and eventually prove too hard to handle. Also, some enterprise-grade solutions are difficult & expensive to customize and have complex licensing & pricing.

As an experienced CRM advisory services company, we can vouch that most well-known CRM products have a solid foundation and do their jobs well. As part of the CRM selection process, a company should look at 4 to 5 products, ask for customer references and understand pricing and support models.

– Work On Your Customer-Facing Processes

The project of implementing a CRM solution is an opportunity to audit your customer-facing processes to identify gaps and plug leakages. An example: Define the criteria of a cold lead vs a lot lead or relook and realign your customer service SLAs. Please remember CRM automates a process designed by humans. CRM will be flawed if the process is flawed.

– Select The Right Partners

CRMs are usually implemented by a network of CRM implementation partners. As mentioned above, the core DNA of all CRMs is good and somewhat similar. What ensures a successful implementation is the product and domain expertise of the implementation company.

Another point to note is whether the CRM consulting/implementation services company is product-centric or product agnostic. Many CRM implementation partners look at a CRM project from the lens of the CRM software they resell. This can lead to a myopic vision and may result in deviation from the process-centric implementation approach. A CRM consulting services company with experience in implementing multiple products across industries can help in the right CRM selection & will bring to the table the best implementation practices acquired through numerous project implementations.

– Create A CRM User Group Led By A CRM Manager

For a successful CRM implementation, actual users should be involved in the project from day one. In most companies, CRM implementation is limited to top executives and the IT team. This is a recipe for disaster and leads to poor CRM adoption.

Appointing a CRM manager is an open secret to successful implementation and user adoption. A CRM manager ensures system usage, and data sanity & derives intelligence from the system to be consumed by the top management for decision-making. He also works with the implementation company to create, maintain & monitor the project roadmap & acts as a bridge between the implementation company and the organization.

  • Avoid the Big Bang Implementation

Unless highly necessary, adopt a phase-wise CRM implementation approach. Attack critical processes that need automation and are most painful in the first phase. The target should be to keep the implementation simple with the focus on integrations that will make the data flow complete, avoid duplication of effort & eliminate repetitive tasks. CRM implementation is a journey that should be completed by reaching small successful milestones of implementation & adoption.


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