Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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4 Ways to Fail at Implementing a CRM Solution

November 4, 2014

If it wasn’t so easy, thousands of companies wouldn’t have already done it. Here’s how to ensure that your new CRM software will soon be failware.

You know Featured imagehow long it can take to develop a good rapport with a prospective customer. Sometimes you get lucky and hit it off quickly, but usually – employing a combination of emails, social media “touches,” and, in some cases, phone calls and face-to-face meetings – the process is a lengthy one.

Taking on CRM software for your company should be an equally time- and thought-intensive journey. In some ways, this kind of computer-based solution is your most critical piece of technology. While there are all kinds of issues that managers must tackle in making a business run – HR, production, accounting, etc. – your entire staff is focused in some way on the customers you serve.

So your selection and implementation of a CRM solution are more critical than you might have considered. Just ask any of the many companies that have put countless hours into an application and watched it tank. Here’s how you can have the same experience:

Do not put a lot of time into defining your objectives for the system.

CRM software is really just a big database, right? And who knows more about database software than the IT department? Let’s just let them decide.

There are managers at companies who think that way. Even if the decision is left up to them, they go at the process backwards, looking at the available pool of options before they’ve determined exactly what they need a CRM solution to do. It’s easy to be swayed by a persuasive sales pitch, a single review, or a recommendation from a business associate.

What are your goals for the CRM software? What do you hope to be able to do that you can’t do now? Focus on your needs as a sales team and the benefits you hope to glean. Don’t even start looking at options until you’ve completed that step and written everything down.

Buy based on price, not features.

Both of these systems create customer profiles and have links to social media and will my team track the sales process, so I should just buy the cheaper one.

OK, so these two cars have four wheels, front seats and back seats, brakes, and a steering wheel. I’ll just buy the cheaper one.

Introduce all of the solution’s features to your sales team.

If a feature is included in a CRM solution, there must be a good reason, and I must teach my salespeople how to use absolutely every function.”

This is another reason why you made that list of objectives earlier. Use what you need, and introduce even those features in increments. Make sure your team has mastered the basics before moving on to more sophisticated functions.

Don’t bother upper management with the details.

Customer relationship management is a sales function. So I, as the sales manager, have carte blanche to decide which software to buy.

Ideally, anyone in the company who deals with customers at all should have at least limited use of your CRM solution, including management.

Determining your needs, selecting a CRM solution, introducing staff to it, and actually using it successfully can take months. Give this decision and implementation the time it deserves.

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