Is CRM the right way to go?
The decision to take on a CRM platform isn't one that any business should take lightly. Vendors such as Salesforce, Zoho and Insightly claim vast benefits to be reaped from a CRM package. Whilst their claims are not untrue, the devil, as always, is in the detail.
Taking on a CRM project for the first time, or changing CRM is a big task. It goes to the very core of how you do business:
- What systems and processes do you have in place?
- How do you communicate with your customers and partners?
- What data do you collect, manage and transfer? What data do you need to retain?
- How do you measure the success of your operation?
- What other digital applications are in the picture? Websites, payment platforms, accounting packages, marketing automation platforms?... Oiye, the list goes on.
I took a moment today to search Google for "what percentage of CRM projects fail". The numbers being thrown around start at 50% and peak at 70%.
That's a lot - a lot of wasted time, resource and money. Although, as someone that's been involved with my my fair share of CRM project failures, I'm not all that surprised.
So, what are the key take-outs?
1. Don't go it alone.
There's a lot of expertise out there, information online, blogs to read. As always, expertise comes in different shapes and sizes and caveat emptor applies.
2. Set clear goals.
Always keep in mind the big picture of why you are considering a CRM. Likely, you're running a business, trying to scale in some way and existing processes are holding you back. What will be the biggest wins? Along the way a lot of little ideas will pop up, but keep your eye on the big prizes.
3. Don't try achieve everything at once.
Your CRM will be with you at work every day! Like you have your email window open on your laptop, you'll have your CRM window open too. It is a tool that will grow with the business, and so, feel comfortable to set timelines over a long period of time. Some ideas can be pushed to 'next year'. I say, dream big... and prioritise smartly :)
Like a piece of string really. It depends on your size and the complication of what you are trying to achieve. If you're running different teams and expect lots of integrations to existing or planned cloud software, you'll probably need to bring in CRM experts to either assist in planning, or to run the process for you. If you're a small business, there's a middle ground to be found between running the process yourself and getting outside help. I definitely suggest talking it out with a few CRM vendors or providers to get an idea. Either way, for budgeting, remember to expect the cost of CRM to be ongoing - the cost of subscriptions, maintenance and upgrades.
5. Be diligent and patient
CRM is a very involved undertaking. If you aren't diligent with the process, it will most likely fail or not live up to expectations - it's just the way it goes on this one.