Top Five CRM Project Pitfalls

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So you have selected Microsoft CRM and found a great Microsoft CRM Partner like Chicago based Logan Consulting to help you.  Everyone is excited and the big project kick-off meeting is completed.  And sometimes it seems like right after the kick-off meeting ends, issues arise.  The good news is that these issues can be addressed BEFORE the project begins.

PITFALL 1:   Lack of Executive Buy-In.  RESOLUTION:  Get Executive/Owner Project Buy-In BEFORE the Project Starts!

Some CRM projects are IT-driven. Other CRM projects are business-driven.  Regardless of who's pushing for a CRM project, it is critical to ensure that ownership and/or executive management supports the project, embraces the objectives, and understands the risks, costs, hard work, and additional effort required by internal personnel.   But most importantly, you must get their buy-in before the project starts.  Your CRM project will not be successful if you try to build buy-in and excitement from the executive team once the system is up and running.  At some point during almost any CRM project, there will be tough times.  When and if a tough situation occurs, it is critical for business leadership to stay the course and encourage the team to move forward.  Remember, there were a number of good reasons for choosing a CRM software solution.  The executive team won’t be willing to support the choice, if they haven’t even bought in themselves.

PITFALL 2:  Failure to Properly Define Requirements.  RESOLUTION:  Make Every Key User Group Provide Requirements 

Arguably no area of CRM design and implementation gets more attention than requirements definition.  CRM packages have certainly evolved to the point where most major players handle standard business processes pretty well.    As a result, at Logan Consulting we believe it’s important to focus more precisely on your specific industry requirements, and even more specifically, the things you do as an organization that gives you your competitive advantage, and the business processes which support them.   Defining these critical requirements up front before you start your CRM software review will help you narrow possible CRM candidates down to a short list.  And every key group of users must be represented and present their key requirements.

PITFALL 3:  Failure to Anticipate How Project Will Impact Customers and Other Stakeholders.  RESOLUTION:  Focus on the Customer

Given that the name of the software is CRM and the “C” stands for Customer you would think the effect on the customer would be a key consideration.  Yet,  Logan Consulting has been involved in more than a few CRM projects where no one has considered how the customer will benefit from the project.  Companies perform deep CRM software comparisons, yet rarely is the question asked to CRM software vendors “How will your solutions benefit my customers?”

We believe this is a must ask question for every CRM software comparison.

PITFALL 4:  Inadequate Budget.  RESOLUTION:  Be Realistic

CRM projects can help you drive more revenue, find more customers and prospects, and better serve your customers.  These are all good things.  Yet we consistently see companies reduce their CRM project budget and still try to achieve the same results.  We understand all companies have cash flow and budget considerations so we often suggest implementing a CRM solution in phases.  Taking the time to properly plan each phase has its own benefits, but properly allocating the budget required is critical.  Even if you focus on the customer, get executive buy-in, and properly define requirements, you still have to allocate the budget required.  CRM projects require the proper funding to be done right.  Some companies see all the benefits of a CRM solution but are unwilling to allocate the budget necessary to do the job right.  So at Logan Consulting we really stress breaking the implementation into phases and properly allocating funds for each phase.

PITFALL 5:  Focusing on the Technology.  RESOLUTION:  Focus On Business Processes Rather Than Technology

CRM technology especially from a top notch company like Microsoft is impressive.  Microsoft is rightly proud of the software they deliver.  However, the software and technology should not be the primary focus.  While the technology is important and impressive, what is more important is how the technology supports the business processes which support your critical, industry and competitive advantage requirements.  It is easy, time consuming, and costly to get caught up in all the technology bells and whistles offered by today’s packages, especially the major CRM providers whose offerings need to be robust enough to support all sorts of industries.  A majority of business executives surveyed say they spent time and money on technology they don’t need or use.  Clearly it is as important to know what to turn off as it is to know what to turn on.  This mindset starts with focusing on the business and the business processes, not the technology.

If you want to learn more about Microsoft CRM and CRM Project Pitfalls to avoid please contact us today.

By Logan Consulting an  Chicago Illinois based Microsoft CRM Partner

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