Why do most CRM implementations fail?

Companies that are going for web-based services now have a variety of customer relationship management (CRM) systems to choose from. These range from the 800-pound gorilla such as Salesforce, to the simple offerings of 37signals Highrise. But the problem is not only choosing the right CRM for the company but also other aspects such as CRM adoption, ease of data entry, and integration with existing email services. This blog post will discuss some of the essential CRM implementation issues and give suggestions on how to lessen the burdens of each.

The first issue among CRMs is that there are numerous features that exceed those that are only needed for some sales teams. This makes the interface cluttered and the pricing more expensive than usual by paying for features that aren’t needed. Having a cluttered interface gives a more difficult user experience and as a result lessens the ease of CRM adoption for the company. What one could do is to choose CRMs that are widely known for their simplicity. The most popular ones are 37signals Highrise, PipelineDeals, and Base.

Another issue, and probably the most overlooked one, is hidden implementation costs. The costs that the company expected in the beginning balloons to twice or thrice when the actual implementation occurs. Trying to underestimate CRM implementation budgets is oftentimes the source of hidden costs and may result to the most expensive drawbacks. There is still no substitute for detailed planning and to give excess buffer budgets that are about twice or thrice the expected costs.

The last issue is that some CRMs are implemented by companies who skipped considering important 3rd-party integrations. Integrations are important towards completing an ecosystem that specifically fits the way your business does sales and handles customer relationships. These ecosystems not only include the CRM itself, but also mailing lists, social media accounts, and most importantly your email inbox.

As a lot of communication is now happening over email, salespersons and business developers spend a lot of time in their mailbox. To ensure good adoption among users, it’s important to lower the barrier to access information that is in the CRM and to update this information.

For Highrise users we built Collabspot to bring Highrise to work in Gmail. For Salesforce users, they just released an Outlook side panel to integrate with the email client, and Cirrus Insight offers another integration that brings Salesforce to Gmail. These CRM-email integrations give the best bang for the buck for people spending a lot of time in emails.

Do you know other notable CRM implementation issues and how to address them? Let us know by posting in the comments below.