Industry Insights

Remove Roadblocks to Successful CRM Implementation

According to the recent statistics, the average ROI of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is $5 for every dollar spent. Getting these high, or even better, results from your CRM implemroadblock-560-1.jpgentation requires following a sequence of certain steps from planning to user adoption. It entails taking down possible blocks that may stall your efforts.  Among the main pitfalls you may encounter on the way to your implementation success, are unclear expectations from CRM implementation, implementation delays, and user adoption issues.

Find out how to clear the implementation road to ensure that the time and monies allocated on your CRM implementation are well spent.

Block #1: Unclear expectations from CRM implementation

Perceiving CRM implementation as a mere technology selection issue is a slippery slope which leads to implementation failure. Since every business is unique, estimating benefits of different CRM solutions without thinking how they may support your business processes won’t help to solve your challenges. If you don’t know which processes CRM can improve, or which of your employees’ duties can be made easier with CRM, choosing even one of its best specimens won’t help. Without crystal-clear CRM vision, your CRM solution will fall short of your expectations, and you’re more likely to consider it a money-waste.

Clearing the way

If you want to get the maximum value from CRM, start your implementation with mapping a CRM strategy. A good CRM strategy is always SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). It means that the strategy includes your current pain points (for instance, low sales rates or inefficient customer service), short-term and long-term business goals you’d like to achieve with CRM, and time-bound milestones describing what you’ll get from CRM implementation. It’s also helpful to have your goals prioritized with a view to benefits obtained and ROI since it ensures early wins and encourages wide support of CRM efforts among your employees inspired with their productivity growth. Only after you’ve designed the strategy describing the goals CRM should help you to achieve, you may consider the functionality of various CRM solutions.

Block #2: Delayed implementation

Insufficiently covered business requirements cause the so-called scope creep—new requirements unexpectedly appear amid the implementation process, which leads to delays and budget overrun. According to CRM developers at ScienceSoft, it may happen for a number of reasons. For instance, inaccessibility of key stakeholders during requirements elicitation and analysis. The same delay takes place when the implementation project lacks a clear implementation plan containing accurate milestones for each step of the project.

Clearing the way

If you clearly define your business requirements to future CRM and get them documented in detail, the risk of falling beyond the project’s timeline goes down. As for the project’s plan, the exact number of hours spent on each project stage highly depends on the scope of the desired features to implement. Still, there’s a common recommendation for CRM projects to be iterative and agile. Delivering smaller, digestible pieces of CRM functionality in iterations can bring high value to users. They can become highly productive with new CRM when taking a good command of the basic features and getting accustomed to the newer ones shortly after they’re rolled out.

Block #3: Users’ inability to take advantage of new CRM

Even if you’ve seen to a comprehensive CRM strategy and documented requirements together with a project plan, there’s still a risk for your CRM implementation to fail due to low user adoption. The reasons for users’ reluctance of taking up new CRM may vary from fear of change to inconvenient UI and the lack of ongoing CRM support. Whatever the reason for poor user adoption is, it prevents your CRM implementation from being a true gain.

Clearing the way
Ensuring all-around user adoption doesn’t equal providing one-time training on CRM use. A set of measures to cover user needs in mastering new CRM should include:

  • Role-based user training

There’s no one-size-fits-all training that would be equally helpful for employees from different user groups. Instead of comprehensive training on CRM functionality, it’s better to provide role-based training, for example, different for sales managers and sales reps. This allows focusing on the core responsibilities of each user group and teaching employees how to support their efforts with relevant CRM features without becoming CRM experts with deep knowledge of all its capabilities.

  • Post-go-live support from a CRM admin

It’s crucially important that users have a CRM admin ready to assist them with every CRM-related problem they may encounter. Either an in-house CRM admin or the one from your implementation vendor, user support (for instance, in enabling email templates or managing security concerns and permission sets) they can deliver is indispensable during the first three months after CRM deployment.

  • User surveys for precise need identification

Conducting user surveys helps to discover their likes and dislikes. Take this info into account and modify your CRM with a view to user feedback. Empowered with this feedback, you’ll also be able to plan your further CRM releases jointly with your implementation provider and set the priorities in the deployment of certain features highly relevant to particular user groups.

  • Public reward to CRM user champions

After identifying the most active CRM users, you can publically reward them with certificates and prizes. Depending on your company’s culture, it may either spark the competition among employees making others show their best with CRM or encourage user champions to help their colleagues with their CRM issues.

In a nutshell

Successful CRM implementation requires thorough preparation and foreseeing possible pitfalls, but the result is worth it. To get high ROI from your CRM, see to a comprehensive CRM implementation strategy, properly documented requirements, and a project plan. To ensure efficient usage of a new CRM solution, provide a full range of activities for user adoption, from role-based user training, and surveys to post go-live support.

Denis Zhinko

Denis Zhinko

Denis Zhinko is the Head of CRM and Collaboration Department at ScienceSoft with 12+ years in software consulting with the multi-platform focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce. Denis has managed projects on CRM, CXM, Portals, System Integration, and Connectivity for businesses in Healthcare, Retail, Telecom and Banking, including CRM solutions for 7+ million bank clients and 5+ million media subscribers. In his spare time, Denis is a keen motorcyclist, tennis player and volunteer.

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