Ana Colak
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STRATEGY FIRST: 6 tips on how to avoid CRM failure

While the CRM system often symbolises powerful changes and enduring success, sometimes the CRM can turn on the business. Instead of witnessing the great digital transformation as promised, the CRM project detours into a surprising fail. And, CRM failure happens more often than you think.

According to several data sources, the failure rate of CRM projects is somewhere between 30% and 63%Think of the time wasted or money spent. Yikes!

For years now, various research and CRM companies have tried to nail down the reasons behind the CRM fails. Based on what we gathered so far on the web, it seems like Forrester, Salesforce and Harvard Business Review share the same opinion on the matter. 

At its core, the reason why CRM projects fail so often lies in the absence of a CRM strategy.

Without the strategy in place, companies risk missing the crucial elements of a successful CRM implementation and adoption.

Or, in other words:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Since every company is unique, one could advocate spending some time to create a custom CRM strategy is time well invested.  But before we start planning for it, let’s define it first. 

 

What is a CRM strategy, you ask?

CRM strategy is a product of planning and business alignment before the CRM implementation takes place.

Or to make it short and sweet:

“The CRM strategy is a roadmap to a better version of your business.”

As the CRM implementation will bring cross-departmental changes, such as new processes in customer service, marketing and sales – the CRM strategy will have to reflect the steps to get those changes right. In fact, the customer experience efforts you did before your decision to bring in the CRM, will be the essence of your CRM strategy.  

For example, if you are accustomed to engaging with your customers every week through a newsletter, you will simply extend that action with your CRM system. 

By bringing in a new CRM system, you are essentially bringing in a significant change to:

  • Management
  • Users
  • Customers 
  • Business 

Without a strategy in place, companies run the risk of wasting money, polluting the data or creating departmental silos. That is if the CRM adoption doesn’t fail in the meantime. 

 

6 Key Ingredients of a Foolproof CRM Strategy

 

So what does it take to succeed in your CRM adventure?

Take a peek at our list of 6 critical components of a foolproof CRM strategy, so you can avoid the big fail.

1. Connect the business goals to the CRM strategy

The leadership often understands the business goals they need to obtain, however, as it often happens, the users get cut out of the loop. Even though, everyone should have a voice in the process.

CRM projects are most successful when project targets are designed to serve the company, customer and CRM users.

For example, if your company goal is to increase sales by 5% in 6 months, then your user goal would be to design workflows that will support and improve the sales process. While the customer goal will be to keep customer retention high via better communication and engagement.

Similarly, you can break down every goal your organisation has (business, user or customer) and connect it to the CRM strategy.

 

2. Assemble a CRM STAR TEAM

Along with the CRM implementation partners, a strong strategy involves a start team that will drive the CRM success.

To assure a smooth implementation, get your leading talent on the same page. Build a supportive team culture, explain what it means to the business to have them on this project and how their working lives will change with this new CRM.

Additionally, make sure you get the right people on the project team. They need to come from different backgrounds of the business such as marketing, sales, customer service and IT.

Once the CRM project kicks off, they will already be aligned and ready to promote a new automated culture.

 

3. Get different departments on the same page

Breaking down organisational silos is the key here. An organisation should be working like a well-oiled engine, even more so when times are challenging.

To achieve departmental alignment, firstly, define the new roles of every department head and its members. A straightforward attitude like this will assure the CRM project will become a smooth ride.

Secondly, to guarantee everybody is on the same page, give your workforce an outlet where they can express the concerns and challenges they are facing in the transformation process.

By offering a safe space, your future CRM users will feel supported, which will inevitably result in better collaboration between the departments.

 

4. Connect the dots between the CRM features and business processes

Connecting CRM features to business process before the implementation is crucial. To start with, connecting the features with processes should mirror the communication practice you have with your customers.

Consider this:

  • The core purpose of the CRM system is to manage customer relationships in a more superior way.

Then naturally:

  • The ultimate result of the CRM should be a better customer experience, right?

Based on that conclusion, your feature – process connection should start with planning the:

  • Customer support practice
  • Customer communication channels 
  • Lead nurturing practice
  • Sales process practice

The answers to how you plan to perform these practices should be mapped out in your CRM strategy.

 

5. Put the customer in the centre of your CRM strategy

We have already recited it so many times, but here it comes again – the customer comes first.

(apologies, but it’s really that important!)

For instance, to keep your customers happy, you could prepare for contact opportunities with them. And, the most appropriate method to do such preparation is the mapping of the customer journey.

The customer journey map is the visual representation of the customer’s journey with your company; from the initial contact until the final purchase (and after). 

Additionally, a customer journey map should include the different stages and touch-points through which your customers engage with your company.

CRM best practices recommended uniting the sales and marketing teams to create a vision of the customer journey together.

As a result, the customer journey map will give you a clear idea of where your customer experience can be improved, which should also be added to the to-do list in your CRM strategy.

 

6. Stay on top of your data

Data must be well planned out to achieve a successful CRM implementation and adoption.You will use the CRM data for segmentation, lead management and reporting, therefore, it must be up to the highest standards. Otherwise, you are wasting the powers of your CRM.

Make sure you focus on organising your data entry points. Every entry point must be regulated with data hygiene practices to ensure the best CRM results. To secure a good data practice, list down every entry point of your data streams such as website forms, sales inquiries or customer support tickets. 

 Next, establish an organisation-wide practice for data management at each entry point. This way, you will be able to keep your CRM clean and up to date easily.

 Additionally, best practice recommends making an audit of the data that is already at the company disposal, along with a plan for migrating it into your CRM system.

 

Conclusion

Similarly to CRM solutions that come in a wide variety of structures and features, so do the CRM strategies. Depending on your organisational structure, the CRM strategy will vary accordingly. Equally, don’t worry if your strategy needs to be adjusted as you go – it’s a common thing to happen. 

The CRM strategy is supposed to be flexible enough to allow for fine-tuning in the CRM implementation process. 

If you are not sure that your CRM strategy covers the main pitfalls, reach out to your CRM implementation partners for advice. If you don’t have one, reach out to Cloud Orca. They will know what to do!

About Ana Colak information

Ana is an Enterprise Technology Content Writer serving the UK market.
She is guest writer on the Cloud Orca blog and works for several high profile digital businesses throughout the UK.
She has strong media and communication background, fuelled with experience working in the staffing industry in Salesforce and IT-related market.

3 Responses to “STRATEGY FIRST: 6 tips on how to avoid CRM failure”

  1. Ana Colak Tim Richards says:

    Interesting read – (good) data is so key to the success of a CRM.

  2. Ana Colak Nick Beas says:

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  3. I really like what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and exposure! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.

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