Common CRM Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Making Them

November 5, 2012   //   Customer Relationship Management, , , ,

At SWC, we host monthly events focused on helping our customers choose the right Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) system for their businesses. At these events, I get asked a lot of questions on CRM adoption, best practices and what are the biggest mistakes mid-market organizations make with CRM. Today, I thought I would share some common CRM mistakes and how you can avoid making them. I also encourage you to join me on Wednesday for my next CRM event (register below), where I will share more insights on keys to a successful CRM deployment from marketing to sales to customer service.

MISTAKE: Applying technology to an already broken process

Applying technology and automating an already broken process can be a very costly mistake for any organization deploying a new CRM solution. I suggest interviewing your top performers to understand their best practices. Understand how they go about their day – what works and doesn’t work for them. Also consider your customer’s perspective – how do they want to interact with you throughout the customer lifecycle? Define these processes and apply your CRM solution to match.

MISTAKE: Lack of an adoption plan – before, during and after launch

Too many CRM deployments fail as a result of a poor adoption plan. Most adoption plans only focus on the go-live date and a smattering of one-time training offerings. To increase the odds of widespread usage, companies need to have a sustained adoption plan in place before launch. Consider the deployment as if you were launching a new product to your customers. Weeks before launch, management needs to promote the business case for the new system and what are the expected longer-term results. At launch, offer training as usual, but ensure users are active in the system right away – create a ‘scavenger hunt’ of activities to perform right away. Training needs to continue on an ongoing basis for new hires.

MISTAKE: Continuing to use spreadsheets for reporting

Executive and manager-level staff need to be the frontrunners using the new CRM solution. If they are active users and participants they are not only leading by example, but are also able to describe and quantify the business value of the platform. One way of showing the inherent value is to encourage the management of data all in one place. Sales managers need to fully embrace the CRM to pull forecast reports and other needed data. Typical disconnects for new deployments find sales managers asking for individual Excel sheets from each sales member that must then be aggregated. This double entry of information should be rendered obsolete with an effective CRM deployment.

If you enjoyed this post, take a moment to read Todd Wickens’ other interesting CRM posts.

To learn more about Customer Relationship Management, please use the “Register Now” button below to join SWC for our next Chicago area CRM event Wednesday, November 7, 12:00pm – 1:30pm in Oak Brook.

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