CRM Solution Software

CRM Software Solutions

CRM software blueprint
An Executive's Guide to CRM Software

Marketing System Implementation Pitfalls


The most common differentiation factors in implementation pitfalls for marketing information systems pivot around the processes which separate marketing from sales and service. The automation and workflow of these processes evolves over periods of time and often, responses to one-time events become institutionalized and mandatory. Or the procedures held true for the time they were developed, but technological advances later make them obsolete. Every mature organization implementing an MIS system today has instances of workflow which need to be reviewed. Failure to review and scrub these in advance or in conjuction to a CRM, SFA or marketing system implementation is a key factor in system failures. In other words, implementing irrelevant or inaccurate procedures drives failure. Yet, the majority of marketing installation projects fail to define their processes, far less document and align them.

Erroneous data is another commonly cited reason a marketing solution deployment fails. Constant change is a nucleus of life today and the synchronization of updating information on a regularly scheduled basis is often not part of the ongoing project plan. This leads to data integrity problems and loss of credibility, which spurs system distrust and avoidance.

Many marketing system implementations fail to involve two key user groups, at least one executive sponsor and an representative group of end users. The system must have executive management support and demonstrate a clear case of lead by example. If management endorses and then utilizes the CRM system for key reports and expects the same participation from the end users, the project is far more likely to be successful. Correspondingly, should the marketing system deployment prove onerous to use, and not provide an unmistakable improvement over the previous processes, end users will resist the change and the implementation will become troubled.

While it is crucial to align marketing processes to the information systems workflow to achieve both consistent and optimized practices, frequently project teams over customize the solution to accommodate exception conditions or match every minute step of a procedure. Short sighted vendors sometimes enjoy long projects heavy on software modifications as they keep their consultants optimized. Be watchful and keep software customization changes to the minimum.

Evident, but too often the reason a project does not succeed, is taking on too much scope all at once and installing the software under one massive project plan. Recognize your marketing system and the personnel of the division are in a state of eternal adaptation. Plan the implementation using limited stages with a quantifiable milestones and go-live sign off to ensure success. Another commonly cited factor for why projects fail is not adequately budgeting for the project team members’ time required to complete their regular, daily activities. Failure to backfill project team members former responsibilities is a sure way to lose their attention for the project.

Every implementation is dynamic, and a failure to build in procedures to manage change is a critical pitfall. The three most often stated indicators of catastrophe are time and budget overruns, and vague objectives without definitive achievement benchmarks. Every aspect of a project should be associated with clear goals, a time period and a dollar figure. Many veteran project managers build in threshold ranges above and below their time and cost figures which act as early warning indicators.

Two areas where deficiencies produce fiascoes are user training and support. Most projects plan training before the go-live period and support for a limited duration after that date. Successful implementations begin training and support immediately and schedule regular events for the life of the software.

Since one of the most crucial measurements of an implementation’s success is user buy-in, the failure to measure this is a serious pitfall. Not only must it be calculated, but planned, regular monitoring must be part of the project plan. Amazingly, many businesses do not include this in their project plan and find themselves surprised when users drop off the system.

Similarly, another critical reason for implementation failure results from not building in the incentives and processes necessary to spur user buy-in of the new system. Successful projects tie required daily activity to job responsibilities and offer other motivations for using the software. The best motivational plans incur both positive and negative reinforcement for user buy in behaviors.

Perception is everything, and this applies to every CRM implementation. If the users perceive the system is successful, they are more inclined to use it. Yet many projects do not include plans for broadcasting continual examples of system utilization and achievement of goals. Many implementations fail to transmit to the end-user that the project is finished, far less that it is a resounding triumph.

The post implementation period is a time when a majority of projects collapse. One study recognized that a major factor in most smooth, successful system deployments is the incorporation of a detailed post-implementation plan with corresponding stated objectives and time frames.


CRM Introduction Real World CRM Executives Guide to SFA Marketing Automation Customer Support