When Implementing CRM, KISS

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Organizations can make a number of costly mistakes when implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) CRM_Keep-It-Simple-Stupidsystem – especially when they elect not to use specialist and perform the development and implementation internally. A few mistakes can have significant time and financial impacts. In the worst-case scenario, organization can be left with a CRM system that doesn’t meet business needs. Here are some common CRM implementation mistakes, and how they can be avoided.

Unclear Goals for the CRM System

Organizations should know exactly what capabilities are required before implementing a CRM system. Organization should make the effort to clearly understand what the sales performance and marketing strategy problems are as well as what improvements are desired before selecting the CRM platform. The more knowledge an organization has about requirements, the more likely it will be they implement a system that helps meet business goals.

CRM system requirements should be as detailed as possible. If organizations only have a vague idea of business goals for the CRM, there is a high likelihood that the platform simply won’t be adequate in the short or long term. Additionally, organizations should be prepared for requirements to evolve over time. New requirements may be introduced during implementation as organizational knowledge grows.

Once organization know exactly what they need, they be able to better allocate implementation resources. CRM implementations frequently require more time and higher budgets than is initially anticipated – poor resource planning due to lack of requirements is a big reason. Underfunded, under-sourced CRM implementations are more likely to result in a system that doesn’t adequately support business processes.

Adding Too Many Features or Too Many Customizations

It is highly unlikely most sales and marketing staff will require every feature that is available in the new CRM system. Determine which features provide the most value based on the business process and user preference and only implement only those features.

Adding a unnecessary features can make the solution difficult to use and have a negative impact productivity. Over-engineering can not only make the system difficult to use, it can be expensive to develop and support over the long term. Similar issues can result from too many customizations. Since user adoption is critical to the success of the CRM, let the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid ) principal be your guide.

Low Software Adoption Rates

It shouldn’t be too shocking that organizations cannot benefit from a CRM system if nobody uses it. In many organizations, tt can be difficult to get sales and marketing personnel to use a new application, especially if they’re having problems with it. When implementing a new CRM, keep track of user adoption rates. If certain members of the staff aren’t using the new CRM system, find out why. There’s probably a good reason – adjust if necessary.

Make sure sales and marketing staff have access to good user support, and keep track of user support calls to see where the most common problems with the new CRM system lie. Fix these common problems to improve user adoption rates.

Painful Upgrade Paths

No matter how great a CRM system is on the day its implemented, eventually it will become obsolete. A CRM implementation isn’t a one-time job, but an ongoing process. A CRM system should be scalable, so that its capabilities can expand as business needs grow.

Organizations should be able to upgrade CRM systems without unreasonable effort or expense. This brings us full circle to the KISS principal. A solution that was unnecessarily complex from the get-go will only add to upgrade woes.

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3 Responses to “When Implementing CRM, KISS”

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  1. Dan Rickershauser says:

    Completely agree with your point on adding too many features too quickly. I work for a CRM Vendor, and we just recently had our Head of Customer Support write a blog on this topic here – http://www.landslide.com/en/community/blog/crm/post/keep-it-simple-at-least-in-the-beginning/

    Great tips Lindsay!

  2. Dan – thanks. I’m sure we’ve both seen disastrous results from management who ignore that philosophy. If only they’d hire us before they start! Wes mentioned his mom in his blog- he should check out http://bit.ly/jCZVVb. Moms can get a pass! 🙂

  3. Dan Rickershauser says:

    Haha, too funny!

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