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February 16, 2016
Sales  |  5 min read

9 CRM Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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Rebecca Johnston-Gilbert

In a tongue-in-cheek article, "11 Terrible CRM Systems for Your Company," Gene Marks wrote that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are “terrible when they are not implemented the right way. They are terrible when companies…don’t put the right processes in place…so that the data can be properly used.”

Seventy percent of CRM projects fail to deliver on expectations

Getting ready to implement CRM software? Don’t be terrible. Avoid these nine common mistakes.

Mistake No. 1: Absence of leadership

In late 2014, the Project Management Institute found that less than two-thirds of projects have executive sponsors, despite the fact that executive sponsors are the primary factor in project success. Your employees pay attention to management. If your leadership team doesn’t see Customer Relationship Management as important, your employees won’t either.

Mistake No. 2: No project owner

There’s an old saying, “If everyone is responsible for a task, no one is responsible for a task.” A project without an owner is like an orphan with no one to care for it, left to waste away over time. This issue is especially problematic for smaller businesses who are already stretched thin for resources. In a related blunder, some organizations pick the wrong owner. The project leader should be experienced and understand the sales and servicing process inside and out. This person will be responsible for mapping internal processes to the tools and ensure the system works well for the entire team.

Mistake No. 3: forgetting the end users

Forrester Research estimates that up to 70 percent of CRM projects fail because of poor end user adoption. Often management is driven by a desire to gain greater insight into their sales team. It’s easy to be wooed by fancy dashboards and bonus features; however, if the system isn’t simple and easy to use, it will never be adopted. Systems that don’t make sales teams faster and more efficient will start gathering dust immediately.

Mistake No. 4: Dirty data

Importing dirty data into a system is the same as “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” Inaccurate or incomplete information will make end users question the viability of the system and aggravate end user adoption. If sales reps can’t rely on the data, they’ll revert back to what they know—email and spreadsheets—and abandon the project.

Mistake  No. 5: Assuming the “me too” attitude

When most companies and sales teams start looking for CRM software, they start talking to colleagues and partners at other companies. This is a great place to start. You’ll hear about the tribulations and triumphs that others have experienced, but don’t stop there. Assuming that a particular system worked well for someone else is like assuming that all of your customers and processes are the same—odds are there are significant differences between your organization and others. Do your own legwork to figure out if a tool is right for you.

Mistake No. 6: Building Rome in a day

Projects regularly expand beyond original requirements as management piles on more and more functionality. No project is a magic wand—it can’t address every issue in the organization. Doing too much in the first phase of a project makes it difficult to get off the ground. Another danger of scope creep is that extra functionality will make navigation difficult and get in the way of everyday sales tasks.

Mistake No. 7: Lack of training

Sales teams are busy and it’s easy to downplay the importance of training. When education is cut short or ignored, the results are predictable—new processes and systems are neglected. Another common mistake is assuming training is “one and done.” As teams begin using the software, new questions will arise that left unanswered, cause frustration. New hires are frequently overlooked too, and don’t get the training they need when coming onboard.

Mistake No. 8: Lack of reinforcement

Every time sales managers bypass the system and call their team for updates, they send a message, and it’s not good. Employees who spend time keeping CRM information current figure out their time was wasted; they would have been better served by calling their managers in the first place. Rewarded behaviors continue, behaviors that are not reinforced will eventually cease.

Mistake No. 9: Lack of communication

Finally, it’s not enough to provide training and reinforcement; frequent communications are important, too. Teams who don’t know why the project is important or how it will benefit them will see CRM as a burden and imposition, not a benefit.

Small Business CRM Adoption Acceleration Checklist - Download Now

This article was written by Rebecca Johnston-Gilbert from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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