Why CRM Projects fail and 3 simple tips to make it a success

By Michael Pipke, Betach Account Executive

Did you know that most CRM Projects fail after deployment? I've seen stats as high as 90% depending on the size of the organization. On average it takes between 2-3 CRM implementation projects before a customer gets something that is actually useful (Notice I didn't call it a success…) 

There are a lot of different reasons for this:

  • Lack of Vison for the project - Not having clearly defined business objectives

  • Measuring success based on how well you checked off boxes on a design document - Too focused on the technical elements

  • No process review or optimization - Creating duplication of work

  • Over complication of the solution - "Boiling the Ocean"

There are even more than just that list above, but the one I see come up time and time again, that in my opinion has the biggest potential impact is - User Adoption.

Get your team on-board!

Getting people to actually use the system is not as simple as "If you build it, they will use". Yet almost every project I've seen over the years has taken this approach. 

I wrote in a previous article [Here] about how most of these projects are driven from a top-down mandate to see data and be able to make decisions based off of it. What if all the data in the system is garbage though? How is that helping you make meaningful decisions on how to adapt to market changes?

What if we look at this through the lens of the people who will be using the system?

As a sales rep, what is the thing that is most likely going to drive me to want to use a CRM and put clean data in? 

The ability to make more sales. Sales people are incented to sell, so how can we make this tool invaluable to them? By making it easier for them to do their job, hit their quota, and get PAID.

How does this all happen?

We need to get your users to see value in the tool, see that it makes a sale cycle move quicker, unload administrative tasks, and puts more wins on the board.

So here are 3 super simple things to focus on that will drive that kind of adoption:

1) Leverage Automation

CRM automation.jpeg

Focus on making things simple for your users. The tool should take work off their plate, not be a make work project. When looking at options for a CRM you should be trying to find ways to automate work for users as much as possible. 

A quick example would be having renewal opportunities auto generated by the system and assigned to a sales rep a few months before then end of a contract term with a customer. 

Having it create the opp, notify the rep, and provide all the historical contract details removes hours of work from the sales reps calendar, arming them to reach out earlier to get that renewal motion going.

2) Live and die by CRM data


Most organizations in my experience have a terrible habit of working with reports in Excel instead of using the CRM. This usually looks like a spreadsheet of the funnel being emailed around to the team asking people for updates on their opportunities. 

Why? Isn't the point of the CRM so that a manager can see at a glance what the health of the funnel/pipeline is without having to go ask? 

This one is a mindset change. During project, sit the sales team and leadership team down in a room together and get them to say the following:

Sales : When Management comes and asks you about an opportunity you always answer - "Everything is in CRM"

Management: "If it isn't in CRM, it doesn't exist."

Having both sides of the equation looking in CRM for the data helps to push past the common challenge of people managing things in spreadsheets or outside of the tool. This frees up sales reps from having to spend a bunch of time duplicating effort (Updating CRM and Management separately) and improves the data in CRM to give management the most up to date information without having to chase people down.

3) Train, Train, and Train some more

CRM train.jpeg

Training is surprisingly one of the most overlooked aspects of a deployment. I've seen organizations do things as crazy as sending an email with a link to the new CRM system and another link to self-serve GENERIC training documents when rolling out. How is this helping anyone? 

Training on the basic mechanics of the tool doesn't help you understand how it's going to make your life easier or illustrate how processes have changed, it just shows you how to interact with the interface. 

Learning how to use the system is one thing, but knowing that you need to name opportunities a certain way, or when opportunities should be split up, or when to pull in team members etc. are all not something that is covered in a generic training document. 

Take time to build content that is going to help users understand how the tool is used in your own business processes.

Holding a refresher each month for your users during the first 6 months after the rollout really helps people get ramped up. It also allows power users to share new tips and tricks with the team which keeps people engaged with the tool.

Doing any one of these 3 will put you ahead of the curve

Making your CRM project a success is pretty easy when you invest in the right areas. Just keep your users front of mind and plan correctly. 

The thing to keep top of mind when deploying CRM is:

People want to do less work and get better results.

Help them do that and you can't lose!

Guest Contributor