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Navigating CRM Projects: How to Achieve Success

Navigating CRM Projects: How to Achieve Success

CRM projects can take time to deliver successfully. When executed effectively, these projects yield improved productivity, valuable data insights and increased customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, numerous studies still highlight a concerning trend: many CRM projects fail to meet expectations. For project leaders, CRM can proves a bumpy process.

Our team has helped many organisations rescue a failing Dynamics 365 CRM project, putting them on the path to success.

This post delves into the main obstacles that impede CRM and shares insights on avoiding these pitfalls. Join us as we explore the most common barriers to achieving CRM success and discover proactive measures to mitigate these risks.

CRM research

It’s tempting to select a CRM solution you are already familiar with. However, what may have brought success in another business under specific circumstances might not be effective when confronted with different challenges.

To make an informed decision, take into account several crucial factors. First, consider the people who will be using the system. Second, evaluate the type of data and processes that will be managed. Then you can figure out how CRM needs to integrate with other applications and identify the reporting requirements.

By carefully considering these essential requirements against prospective solutions, you can narrow down your options and avoid the costly mistake of selecting a system that doesn’t meet your unique needs.

Minimise complexity

When faced with an array of requirements for a new CRM system, it’s beneficial to prioritise immediate needs while considering the available investment to meet expectations.

One practical approach is to deploy on a smaller scale, initially targeting one or two teams. This strategy minimises upfront costs and allows for the delivery of quick wins before proceeding with a broader rollout.

By carefully prioritising, leaders can direct their focus toward teams and processes where the implementation of CRM will have the most impact.

This phased approach generates early results instilling confidence, providing businesses with a solid foundation.

Avoiding excessive complexity from the start is crucial. You can begin with a simple, role-based interface that includes only the features necessary for individual user groups. This tailored approach promotes user acceptance and paves the way for a smoother CRM implementation process.

RELATED: CRM Project Risks: Re-Evaluating Your Requirements for Success

Sell the benefits

To successfully sell the benefits of a new CRM solution, it’s crucial to ensure that team members understand how it will directly benefit them rather than merely monitoring their activities.

During the initial discovery stage, it is essential to convey that implementing the new system aims to enhance their working lives.

Emphasise the significance of their input at this early stage, as it plays a vital role in guaranteeing that the chosen solution and system build incorporate the capabilities and functions they require.

For instance, illustrate how the automation of repetitive manual tasks can reduce their effort, allowing them to redirect their time and focus on more meaningful activities. Additionally, highlight the positive impact on job satisfaction when all their data is consolidated in one central location.

Take the time to identify the current challenges or time-consuming processes your team members face.

Demonstrating to sceptical employees how the new CRM system will contribute to their performance and help them achieve their targets will motivate them to embrace the forthcoming changes.

Visible executive support

Business owners and management teams stand to gain the most from implementing a CRM system, benefiting from improved reporting, streamlined processes, and increased customer retention. It is essential for them to visibly demonstrate their support and accountability when advocating for CRM investment.

Nothing undermines a CRM project more than an executive who champions the need for a new system but fails to support the project team in realising their vision or using the technology themselves.

Leaders must be committed and actively use the system to embed CRM into the organisational culture.

During the project design process, conflicting requirements may arise, leading to delays and increased costs. In such instances, difficult decisions may be necessary, requiring senior managers to take ownership and be held accountable.

Emotional engagement

The successful delivery of CRM projects within timeframes and budgets is crucial. However, it is equally vital for stakeholders to desire and emotionally invest themselves in these endeavours actively.

The project should be regarded more than merely as a checklist to mark off individual tasks. Instead, it should serve as a reminder to remain attuned to the broader objectives, guaranteeing that CRM initiatives yield successful outcomes.

Within effective project teams, CRM holds significant value. Stakeholders are willing to devote their time, energy, and passion to ensure its success.

IT involvement

Successful CRM systems are adopted throughout an organisation, so people across these teams should be able to participate in the decision-making process.

IT teams should be fully involved but not solely lead the project. CRM is about managing customers, improving processes and driving business growth. Service, sales and marketing leaders can gain the most from these improvements. Their representatives should be fully involved as the primary stakeholders responsible for steering these projects.

Ownership and accountability for CRM projects should sit with its primary beneficiaries. CRM will likely fail to deliver if teams expected to use the technology aren’t involved in planning.

However, we’ve encountered projects that reached an advanced stage only to see plans delayed or deadlocked because of IT problems.

In many cases, incompatibility existed between the proposed CRM and internal systems.

IT can significantly affect which type of CRM solution will be effective. Although mostly all deployments are now in the cloud, there may be IT considerations that sales or service teams aren’t aware of, so make sure that IT is involved to swerve potential obstacles later on.

Data quality

Merely implementing new technology won’t resolve the issue of poor-quality data in your current system. It’s a classic case of ‘rubbish in, rubbish out.’

Before undergoing any data migration, conducting a comprehensive audit and clean-up process is essential. This will undoubtedly reveal necessary actions to address issues such as data duplication, missing field entries and outdated information.

If left unaddressed, inaccurate data can result in significant costs and hinder the realisation of the benefits offered by your new CRM system.

CRM integration

An integrated CRM system combines data, enabling actionable insights and seamlessly connecting processes across various channels.

To ensure the success of a CRM project, it is crucial to prioritise data and process integration. Neglecting these aspects will result in persistent data siloes, leading to inefficiencies caused by duplicated efforts, limited scalability, and manual reporting.

Consider the existing systems used by your organisation and determine how they should interface with a new CRM system or if they can be replaced altogether.

When data siloes exist, operational efficiency is compromised. To mitigate this, map out the necessary information flows that support your business processes within the CRM. Visualising these flows will identify bottlenecks and help recognise opportunities for integration, streamlining workflows in the process.

Scope creep

Once your priority objectives and deliverables have been clearly defined, it is important to resist the temptation of including additional requirements that may arise.

During the project lifecycle, stakeholders may want to incorporate new capabilities not identified during the scoping stage. However, it is crucial to approach any feature additions with careful planning, thorough testing, and consideration of their impact on the broader business process context. Late changes can have unintended consequences, leading to missed milestones and increased costs.

While certain changes may be necessary and can be addressed through proper change control processes, it is generally recommended to maintain a fixed scope after setting objectives and documenting deliverables. Planning projects in distinct phases whenever possible is advisable, allowing new requests to be rolled into subsequent stages rather than being included ad-hoc. This ensures a more controlled and organised approach to project execution.

User training

CRM is a business strategy supported by processes and technology used by teams. Technology is a vital component, but overly focusing on this increases the risk of failure if insufficient attention is given to how supporting processes will be mapped to CRM or creating a user adoption strategy.

For CRM technology to be relevant, the software must be personalised to fit your processes and the needs of the people using it. The level of personalisation will depend on your unique workflows and the capabilities of the solution you are implementing.

‘Build it, and they will come’ isn’t a successful approach for CRM. Despite team consultation during planning, don’t expect individuals to be fired up and effective users from day one. The goodwill created through consultation will quickly evaporate if people don’t understand how to use the technology.

Training needs are frequently underestimated. As well as delivering tuition across the main functions, group training is ideal for confirming processes and securing collective buy-in.

This isn’t a one-off event. CRM training is a continual process helping users learn more about the product, so they can increase their knowledge, do more with the application, and repeat as new people join the team.

Our clients use our Dynamics 365 managed service to schedule training sessions whenever they want to explore new features and access eLearning resources to help onboard new users.

CRM Testing

Once you have a working system, begin a beta test with users – not just IT team members – before the go-live event. That way, if the interface isn’t intuitive, data input fields are missing, or process flows aren’t consistent with their methodology, they can tell you early on what needs to be looked at again to make the system usable.

User support

Once initial training has been delivered and your CRM system is live, things can quickly unravel if users struggle with their early experiences and cannot find answers.

We provide resources to support new users by recapping training points, answering support questions, and noting change requests.

Aside from this, successful projects will have super users across the organisation. They are ‘go-to’ resources that teams and individuals can contact for internal help and support. They will be knowledgeable about the departmental area users work in and understand the day-to-day tasks they encounter.

Super users play a pivotal role in identifying any issues or challenges faced by users, enabling project leaders to review and resolve these problems swiftly. This proactive approach significantly minimises any potential damage to user adoption and motivation.

Once the system is established, CRM super users are the eyes and ears of project leaders. They’ll provide valuable insight and updates about how the system should evolve to keep pace with new requirements and user change requests.

CRM Project Tips: Next Steps

By carefully considering these crucial points, you have the power to set your project on the path to resounding success.

If you’re planning a new CRM system implementation, we are here to guide you through the journey, ensuring you avoid the common pitfalls along the way. Our expertise lies in using the power of Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud platform, enabling you to realise long-term value.

With help from ANS, you’ll be able to navigate the complexities of CRM implementation, benefiting from a solution that meets your needs and delivers tangible and quick results.

Don’t let pitfalls hinder your progress. Choose our trusted expertise and embrace the potential of Dynamics 365 to transform your CRM experience and drive your business forward.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements and embark on a successful CRM implementation journey.