PITFALLS OF CRM IMPLEMENTATIONS
THE PROBLEM with most customer
implementations stems not from the
software itself but from the process
through which it is adopted by the
company. Most people, unfortunately,
don’t know what they don’t know. A lot
of companies spend a whole lot of time
planning everything out to the most
minute detail well ahead of the actual
implementation, then spin their wheels
when it comes time to take action—
or worse yet, stay the course without
redirecting the ship when things aren’t
going exactly how they wanted. That’s a
The ability to run ideas past people to
get feedback and pivot (i.e., testing) is
an essential part of CRM adoption. Each
iteration and change ultimately saves time
and money because you are learning what
might go wrong ahead of time and taking
care of it before widespread adoption
takes place. Back-and-forth is an essential
part of the process, and pilot studies are
the best way to get that information. Take
a small team and have them try the system
out and help figure out the issues before
the critical point of launch.
The best way to obtain true adoption is
through a series of steps and discussions,
not a single, all-day, face-to-face meeting.
It’s a large project and asking people to
do so much at once is not efficient. We
recommend a series of one-hour online
sessions to go through, piece by piece,
one at a time. Management and leadership
also need to fully understand what people
are being asked to do and what they need
to be able to do themselves. Think of them
as the first pilot.
So what does the process look like?
Setup > Configuration > Management
> Team Pilot Studies > Launch
This adoption technique is specifically
designed to work out kinks and test what
is being misunderstood ahead of time
without causing a huge problem during
the official launch. The problem is that
the plan you came up with before starting
implementation could be wrong. You just
don’t know it yet. You won’t know it until
you start the studies with management
and running pilot studies. Sticking to
the plan after that, rather than pivoting,
is a huge mistake. The companies that
attempt it often take 3.5 times the
estimated amount of time and money.
The very best launches are those that the
organization launches themselves and
are simple enough to explain to everyone.
Chop it down to the minimal amount of
things to get value out of the application.
Set up and configure the system, train
management, run pilot studies, pivot, then
launch. Simple but effective.
What does your plan look like? Are you
willing to pivot if things don’t go the way
you think they will?