Business management

CRM Project: The 10 Mistakes to Avoid

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When implemented efficiently, a CRM solution provides an undeniable competitive advantage for a company. It enables the company to streamline its work processes and ensures customer data is both centralised and available. All with a single goal: to improve customer relationship quality. Here is a quick overview of the mistakes to avoid for a successful CRM project.

The implementation of a Customer Relationship Management software solution (often referred to as CRM) is a major, often very strategic, project. However, the results are often disappointing…  with a meagre average satisfaction rate of 6.3/10. This is the average rating given by some 40 companies to their CRM (2016 study by Acemis, specialised consultancy firm in customer experience transformation).


Mistake #1: Having too many or no project managers.

When everyone is responsible, no one is! There is no real ownership of tasks. The project comes to a standstill, it is doomed to failure. A CRM Project Manager must have a comprehensive understanding of all things sales related and of your Customer Relationship. This person will ensure that the system ultimately meets users’ expectations. 

Mistake #2: Forgetting to define the CRM project goals.

There are many benefits to implementing a CRM solution. But there are probably too many to target them all. In order to be efficient, you must define your expectations of the software. They will serve as safeguards to ensure an optimal implementation. So what are the goals of your CRM project? And, of course, once you have defined them, make sure you stick to them! Here are typical CRM project goals:


  • Centralise current and potential customer information.
  • Unify and standardise internal processes.
  • Keep track of all your interactions with your contacts.
  • Personalise customer communication.
  • Drive the activities of your sales force.
  • Automate administrative tasks.
  • Analyse customer data.
  • Accompany the evolution of your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Etc.

Mistake #3: Launching a CRM project without reviewing your customer relationship strategy.

A CRM tool is a fundamental building block of your company, and therefore, is closely tied to your customer strategy. For this reason, it is important to take stock of your current situation: existing tools, business needs, market evolutions, etc. Too many CRM projects do not achieve the hoped-for result because the tool was implemented before a clear strategy was defined. Is it about reducing the cost of processing customer requests?  About being more efficient in your external communications (for example, taking into account several languages )? Getting new clients? Retaining existing clients? Is it about selling more products or selling products with higher added value? All these questions can serve as the starting point for establishing a Customer Relationship Strategy, the foundation needed for any CRM project.


Mistake #4: Not involving users in the early stages of project preparation.

Forrester Research reports that lack of user adoption is responsible for over 70% of failed CRM projects. Those who use the software are the main people concerned: they are in direct contact with clients and prospects. The CRM software must be tailored to the business needs of your users. Your challenge? To ensure they adopt this new tool. What better way to achieve this than involving them from the outset of the project. The appropriate and efficient use of the CRM software by your sales teams will help them improve their performance 

Mistake #5: Minimising the importance of accompanying change during the roll-out of your CRM.

Implementing a new software tool can cause upheaval in your users’ working habits. To ensure your CRM project has every chance of succeeding, think change management. Make the Quality of your Customer Relationship what drives your teams forward, and build this into the core values of your company. For the deployment of your CRM to be successful, do not overlook user training. In addition to giving users the tools they need to use the software, it also helps promote user involvement. The Management should also be involved, to ensure the software is in line with the company’s strategic axes. 

Mistake #6: Using the CRM software to spy on your teams.

Deploying a CRM tool involves a great number of changes. For example, teams have to shift from sharing information informally to recording everything so that the information is more easily accessible to other departments of the company. As a consequence, your sales teams might feel you are spying on them, which can ultimately lead to a general feeling of distrust. Therefore, it is paramount you give your sales teams adequate training about the CRM tool, and clearly communicate its objectives. It is important that everyone understands the whys and the hows of the tool you choose to implement. For example, using the CRM in offline mode is a real benefit for your sales teams. They can access data everywhere, in real time (see article CRM and mobility: save time for your sales representatives). 

Mistake #7: Storing poor quality data.

Companies manage a great wealth of data on their ecosystem (clients, prospects, partners, providers, etc). It can be tempting to collect as much information as possible on your contacts. However, the underlying risk is that you end up with too much information, and that you do not know how to use it. To understand the risks of a massive collection of data, take a look at our article on GDPR, the new European regulation which comes into force in May 2018. This means that from the outset of your CRM project, identify the data you need, and how that data will be used.


Mistake #8: Expecting immediate results after deploying your CRM project.

It is often said that goals should be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. These principles ensure project stakeholders have a clear vision of the project, and enable you to measure project completion more easily. Therefore, the same applies to CRM projects: define realistic and reachable goals.


Mistake #9: Smothering consumers instead of wooing them.

If you want your information system to be comprehensive and efficient, it is critically important to link the CRM solution with your other IT tools. Why? So that you will have enough information to offer a personalized customer relationship, in line with what most consumers want and expect. Never forget: artful seduction requires knowledge. This is where your CRM software is a vital ally because it fosters customer knowledge and improves the overall quality of the relationship: 360° view, up-selling or cross-selling, history of interactions, etc.


Mistake #10: Failing to build an omni-channel approach.

On average, consumers use four different communication channels to contact a customer service. Needless to say, then, that it is paramount to define and deploy an omni-channel strategy to build stronger Customer Relationships. Your CRM should centralize all relevant information on your clients and prospects, irrespective of the channel through which they came in.  

Now you have the 10 most common mistakes for a CRM project. What is your experience? Did you know about these?  


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