Before embarking on a major investment in Customer relationship management software, it is important to know the CRM Software Implementation Considerations. An effective customer relationship management solution increases customer affinity, makes sales team productive, creates transparency into customer relationships, and gives you valuable insight on your clients so you can make strategic decisions that benefit your company. However, implementing a CRM solution can be challenging. To ensure your company is ready and that the process is successful, here is a look at some of the common implementation pitfalls and how to avoid them.

CRM Software Implementation Considerations

1. Not Enough Support

Implementing a CRM solution requires C-suite, management and staff to be on board. Without the right support, the software may not have the time or funding it needs to be successful.

The project team should create a compelling business case and the benefits of the CRM system transformation and ensure that executives and upper management understand the importance of funding and supporting the solution – at every step of the way.

To mitigate lack of support, the project team should create a compelling business case and the benefits of the CRM system transformation and ensure that executives and upper management understand the importance of funding and supporting the solution – at every step of the way. Throughout the process, there should also be a focus on making the software as useful as possible for the end user.

2. Infrastructure Issues

If you don’t have right infrastructure in place to support your system, you may face downtime, lost data or similar challenges.

While upgrading hardware is always an option, the best choice is to look at software as a service (SAAS) solutions. Cloud should probably one of the primary drivers of your enterprise CRM transformation

With an SAAS CRM solution, you don’t have to physically host the software on your hardware. Instead, that function is outsourced to a hosting provider.

3. Misunderstood Scope

Rather than just vaguely supporting the project, management needs to understand the scope of the project and ensure there is adequate time and money to make it happen.

Don’t underestimate training time or adoption reluctance, and insist upon a flexible development methodology that can identify issues early and adjust as needed.

4. Wrong Fit

Custom Relationship Management software isn’t designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution, and if your company adopts software that may have worked for another company, that doesn’t mean it will be the right fit for you.

Agin, finding the right fit boils down to due diligence during the discovery process. Ideally, your program should deploy on a platform that works with your company in terms of mobility and whether the solution is based on the cloud, in a private cloud or on in-house servers. It should also be user friendly in a way that makes sense for your company.

5. Lack of Customization

Nearly every element of a CRM solution should be either configurable or customizable, and businesses should take advantage of this fact so that their software looks and runs the way they want.

Customization elements to consider including custom fields, page layouts, tabs and a range of other features. Also, in addition to customizing small things, work with your vendor to ensure your software generates the types of reports you need.

6. Not Supporting Current Processes

CRM solutions should mirror and improve the processes you already have in place when dealing with customers.

Map out all your processes in great detail so that they can be successfully implemented into the software.

If the solution doesn’t mirror these process, it isn’t going to be as useful for the end user. Additionally, it doesn’t provide management with the visibility they need over the company’s practices. When putting together a project team, make sure to fill it with people from multiple departments of the company who understand the processes that happen in their departments. Don’t exclusively staff the team with people from the IT, marketing or sales departments. Map out all your processes in great detail so that they can be successfully implemented into the software.

7. Integration Issues

In addition to mirroring processes, the CRM solution should work with existing databases and other types of software. However, encryption challenges, old software or lack of support from existing vendors can lead to integration issues.

To address integration issues, work with a vendor who is committed to help through the setup process. Make sure that the vendor uses open architecture, and have them examine your legacy systems to ensure they can integrate the CRM software with your existing solutions.

8. The Data “Dumpster” Effect

The data dumpster effect refers to heaps of data that aren’t organized in a way that lends itself to clear insights. This effect can refer to a CRM solution that doesn’t have the right data analytics in place, or it can refer to porting too much old, irrelevant data into the new system.

When transferring data, set aside time to scrub and organize it. Get rid of what you don’t need, and be prepared to classify data in terms of sharing rules and hierarchies. Take steps to maintain the integrity of the data you are migrating.

9. Geographical Issues

If you have multiple locations, you need a CRM system that can take into account different laws and practices in each area.

Work closely with your software vendor to ensure they understand any unique geographical challenges you have. Adequate communication can easily make this implementation challenge a non-issue.

10. Implementing Too Quickly

If you launch a complicated CRM system all at once, that can be overwhelming to your staff, creating the risk that they may be reluctant to the implementation process. Implementing the system too quickly can also distract staff from daily tasks, creating unnecessary stress and issues.

Avoid a fast implementation and instead opt for a waterfall or scrum implementation. Waterfall is a phased, sequential approach, while scrum refers to releasing small units of functionality one at a time. Under the scrum method, each module is tested and refined as it’s released.

11. Resistance to Change

Slow implementation can help to reduce resistance to change, but some employees may still balk at changing old habits or may see the system as something that only benefits management.

An intuitive interface that is fast and easy to use is key in reducing reluctance, but it’s also important to show users what the system does for them through announcements and training sessions. Additionally, get end users involved by having them submit “wish lists” of features or information about their processes.

CRM software gives you the tools you need to effectively engage with and manage your clients. Working closely with the right vendor to customize your solution ensures that your business will have software that analyzes data, tracks information and generates insight that is useful to you. However, you need to be prepared, and ensure that you have the time, budget and support in place to take the journey towards a new CRM solution.

In your experience do you have any additional CRM Software Implementation Considerations? If so, please feel free to share it with us.