8 ways to ensure a CRM project fail (Part 2)
Assuming you are reading this article because you enjoyed part 1 so much and could not wait to see what comes next, welcome back! If you have not read Part 1 yet, I would recommend you do that. Now.
Again, my goal is to bring insight on pitfalls to avoid if you do not want to fail your CRM project, as so many do. Part 1 gave insight on being prepared for purchasing, in this continuity, we will tackle the implementation process. Let’s get the CRM implementation party started!
The Universe was created in the Big Bang, your CRM shouldn’t!
A successful deployment will require lots of efforts from your internal team. Yes, your team. The difference between a successful project and one that fails, is as simple as this – Don’t lean back and relax. Look at this deployment as a rally race (although it’s not a race), where you, the pilot, and your integrator, the co-pilot, work together towards a win. I have seen projects where clients have their two hands on the steering wheel, and the integrator provides the guidance needed to prevent ending in the ditch, and others where it’s the opposite. In the end, it comes down to your comfort level and internal expertise.
But either ways, a CRM project requires a lot of efforts on all fronts. You need to commit to an internal project structure, and ensure your team will dedicate the time required to see this though. Speaking out of experience, if you are not prepared to do what it takes, and dedicate the required time, just leave the project in a locker until you can, because you are headed right for that ditch! Day to day activities are unavoidable, but are not an excuse. Plan your resource availabilities, allow them to invest the time required. The last you want is a project team that gets discouraged/annoyed with the project, and solution provider that spends all your money on additional project management tasks. Sounds extreme, but it happens.
Recommendation: You need to dedicate time for the steering meetings, you need to free up your internal project team’s time, and you need to ensure your internal project manager follows through on deadlines. Hire additional staff, reduce workloads if needed, but don’t expect the same output. This is not business as usual. A project can take up to 2-3 days out of someone’s week, for 8 to 12 weeks. Don’t underestimate the workload, you can expect to invest a day of work, or more, for each day of work your solution provider puts in. Steer clear of partners that say a CRM project is easy, because it’s not.
Getting your CRM adopted
The end in mind goal for your project is for the solution to be adopted, and forever be loved by your team. You want your team to fundamentally care for it, like they would for a child. I know there are various ways to get something adopted, and that the subject is far greater than this article. One thing that worked for us is to involve the end user, as they are often overlooked. I’m not saying – Give the power to the end user! Otherwise you’ll end up with a CRM that triggers the coffee machine when it recognizes Joey is two blocks away from the office according to Google Maps. But consider them in the process, they’ll be the one making this a success.
So, build a CRM Ninja Team formed of tech-savvy individuals that are perceived as leaders to others. The CRM Ninja Team will have two purposes. The first one is to prevent a major solution rollout that does not meet the expectations of end users. The second is spread out the desire for this solution like a virus would spread in a zombie movie. No one can be spared.
How do you do this? Easy. Collect feedback from them in the design and/or testing phases, on things such as navigation, steps required for task ABC, form layouts and overall usability. Listen, and adjust if required. Also, ask them about their ideal features. And say NO to them. If they present a value-added business case, then you can consider. Give them a voice and a choice in how this solution should feel.
Recommendation: Management can impose that employees will need to use a new solution, but do not impose any solution on them. Form a CRM Ninja Team, test on them, listen to what they say, monitor them while letting them be creative, adjust your pitch, and only then, spread on a larger scale, rollout to larger groups. Find what’s in it for the end user and leverage this as part of the plan. Remember, a CRM is a tool that helps organizations meet their goals, and goals are met through individuals (end users), make them count.
In conclusion, there are many more steps you can avoid. At a high level, I hope these points will help you avoid such failure. In the course of the next year, I will explode some of these subject in more details. I hope this helps you in your CRM endeavors as a successful project will have an immense positive impact on your organization.