Considering CRM implementations don’t come around very often in a business, it can be hard to know what you’re in for.

In our experience, there are six traps which come up time and again on CRM implementations. Here they are, in the hope you can avoid them.

1. Buying the wrong CRM

Have you ever heard anyone say “I thought the function was included?” or “I thought this CRM would do it for the price I am paying”? Unfortunately, many organisations quickly skip through the due diligence during their purchase cycle.  This is often because they assume all CRMs are the same or they don’t properly understand their own requirements.

To avoid this:

  • Take some time to properly explore your business needs to help you choose the right solution.  As part of your due diligence, develop a defined list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” functions. During the purchase cycle, the vendor should be able to demonstrate these functions based on your high level requirements.
  • Be wary of going for the cheapest option (these are usually “light” versions and extra add-ons will be expensive) and vendors who are willing to give you a fixed price after just two meetings. Unfortunately, there are some vendors out there who are simply chasing your dollars and will most likely cut the wrong corners during the implementation or ask you to pay more for every little modification you want.
It's a trap! CRM implementation traps to avoid...
Don’t fall into these common traps on CRM implementations

2. No business leaders / lack of project management

Implementing a CRM like Salesforce is a big change for a business.  If you’re fortunate enough to have someone in your business who is a strong leader, respected by your people and has a good knowledge of the end-to-end processes in the business – count yourself lucky. Very often, your internal IT team shouldn’t be leading CRM implementations. Rather, appoint someone from the business function set to most benefit from the implementation. In the case of Salesforce, this is often marketing and sales or even the management team. Also, don’t expect your software vendor to do the project management for you. Most of the time, they can coordinate the IT activities, but not the change management process.

To avoid this:

  • Appoint a dedicated project leader for the duration of the project. As a guide, this person should be full time if the implementation has more than 50 users.
  • Get your leaders on board. The change must be driven from the top. We have heard of a number of implementations where employees did not even know why a new CRM was required.

3. Inadequate time and budget for testing and training

During the early stages of a CRM implementation, it can be tempting to request changes. But this usually ends up costing more money. These early changes can eat into the budget leaving your project with a shortfall before testing and training has commenced. In this case, you may find yourself cutting corners on testing and training to get costs back on track. This could be risky, as your people may not be properly prepared or even know what to do on day one. Your implementation partner could then have to spend more time sorting it out (and therefore more money) during the post go-live phase.  So one way or another, you’ll pay for it.

To avoid this:

  • Have a detailed blueprint which has had input from the relevant subject matter experts to help cover the right needs from the outset (and avoid the change requests in the first place).
  • Keep change requests to a minimum during the implementation. To help you stay focused, only changes which are critical to run your business should be approved. Just a nice to have? Let it go.

4.     Great tool, terrible documentation

With so much effort going into the implementation itself, it can be easy to overlook other aspects like associated documentation. In the scheme of things, documentation can seem less important. But documentation is critical if you want the application you’ve invested be used. Sloppy documentation can undermine your whole project.  Without it, your people are less likely to trust the new system or may not know how they’re supposed to use it. Software vendors can write system procedures for you, but only if you pay for it. Some organisations write the documentation themselves but it takes time, needs prioritisation to ensure its ready well before training starts and requires the writer to have a thorough knowledge of the CRM.

To avoid problems:

  •  Include a budget for writing the documentation (approx. 3 weeks of work for a 50 user site implementation).
  •  Once written, ensure someone internally is responsible for the maintenance of the documentation going forward.

5.     Dodgy data conversion

Too often data conversion is overlooked because businesses are eager to get onto the new system. But their enthusiasm will quickly fade if they find the same old dodgy data replicated in their new system.

To avoid problems:

  • Think twice before you tell your vendor the data can be imported ‘as is’ and cleaned up in the new system.
  • Do a proper assessment of your data health before the implementation starts and clean as much data as possible before the final data conversion starts.
  • Have some processes in place to control data health in the new system.

6.     Poor communication

Even if everything else on your project is outstanding, poor (or no) communication will bring it all crashing down. If you are the project leader, you will know exactly where the project is at and what the key deadlines are. But does anyone else?

To avoid problems:

Key information must be communicated regularly including:

  • Project timeframe (when and who will be required)
  • What will change and what won’t
  • Why the project is required
  • Project status

The best CRM implementations come down to careful planning and resourcing

Setting your project up for success can be daunting, but all these traps can be avoided with careful planning and adequate resources. If you are embarking on a project of your own, we’d be happy to discuss your approach, just get in touch.

How can we help you?

Carnac Group is a Salesforce consultant in Sydney, Australia.  We advise clients on any or all aspects of Salesforce implementations, from project inception and Salesforce strategy through to day-to-day support and continuous improvement. If you’d like some help to avoid traps covered in this article (or any other aspect of your Salesforce for that matter), please get in touch, we’d love to help.

Contact Us