7 reasons CRM Implementations Fail

October 15th, 2020 Posted by Adoption, Implementation, Services, Technology 0 thoughts on “7 reasons CRM Implementations Fail”

CRM systems are the cornerstone of your business. They enable you to monitor your progress towards, and deliver against, your business objectives. They are the platform your employees use to communicate with other employees, your customers and your partners. Finally, they store, process and develop insight into all the data that goes into your business. Yet, according to a lot of different studies, over 50% of CRM implementations are considered a failure. Why?

In this blog we explore some of the most common reasons CRM implementations fail and what you can do to set yours up for success.

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What is poor vision in a CRM implementation?

Lack of vision means not having a clear view on the purpose of the implementation. A CRM implementation needs to align with the goals and values of the business. It should improve the productivity of your employees at all steps of the way and help realise hidden potential through a 360 degree view of your customer. If this vision doesn’t exist, isn’t measurable, or doesn’t have stakeholder and business user buy-in then the implementation could fail.

What problems does this cause?

Not having measurable and clear vision means you have no concrete goals to guide your strategy. This can lead to confusion between stakeholders, difficulty in making decisions down the line and conflicting priorities. A lack of concrete goals or metrics of success wastes valuable time and resources.

How do you avoid this problem?

The first step to avoiding this problem is to set a clear vision from the get-go. This means discussing with the stakeholders in the business, the implementation partners and (just as important) the business users as to what they think is best for the business. Understand the main pain points within your business processes and develop a vision of the final implementation that alleviates these problems. Key questions that a vision of a CRM implementation should answer are:

  • How are the business users going to use this CRM daily?
  • What are the KPIs that measure the success of this implementation?
  • What are the business KPIs this implementation aims to improve??
  • How will this implementation grow with my business?

Wrong Technology

What is the wrong technology in a CRM implementation?

Unsurprisingly, choosing the right CRM technology is one of the most important parts of the implementation process. In many companies, there tends to be a lot of experience with different CRM systems and the different technologies surrounding CRM systems. Choosing the right CRM technology is all about balancing cost, business objectives, business evolution and user experience. If a technology doesn’t tick all these boxes then the implementation could  cause problems down the line.


What problems does this cause?

Poor choice in technology can lead to a myriad of problems. If the technology doesn’t have the functionality to achieve your business objectives the implementation will be a waste of time and resources. If the technology costs more than the business value it provides (or can provide) then the implementation is a waste of money. If your technology is too complicated to use, this will cause frustration and lower productivity within your workforce. Finally, if the technology doesn’t have the capacity to grow with your business then the implementation will become redundant in the near future.

How do you avoid this problem?

This problem is relatively easy to avoid if careful deliberation is undertaken before choosing the technology. The technology should tick all the boxes outlined within your vision (as discussed above) yet also fit within your business budget. With the wide range of solutions and implementation partners out there, any business should be available to find the solution that is right for them.

Poor implementation

What is a poor CRM implementation?

A CRM implementation should always be in service of the user experience. In other words, the solution should be as streamlined as possible. Yet, CRM technology is highly flexible, highly powerful and highly customisable. This means companies can get excited with the possibilities and lose sight of the end goal. What you are left with is a CRM with too many features, complicated custom code or unintuitive user interfaces.

What problems does this cause?

If a CRM has too many features or custom code then it can be difficult to build, difficult to teach and difficult to use. This means the CRM becomes a drain on resources and productivity which is the exact opposite of the goal of the implementation. Moreover, a feature heavy CRM is also difficult to scale which means in the near future you will have to rebuild the solution anyway.

How do you avoid this problem?

The best way to avoid this problem is to focus on the mantra, “less is more”. Technology is exciting but it’s important to curb your enthusiasm before your solution gets out of hand. A company should keep focus with clear objectives and vision during your implementation. A trusted technology partner can always help you to iterate and improve your CRM to drive growth over time.

Lack of Executive Support

What is executive support in a CRM implementation?

One of the key factors outlined in the report given here for CRM failure is “executives who personally override ‘due diligence’ results and considered recommendations”. From these findings it is clear that executive buy-in within a CRM implementation is key to success. Those who define the business objectives need to be 100% behind the CRM that will help align to those objectives.


What problems does this cause?

If the C-suite planners are not 100% behind the decided implementation of the CRM then the vision that underpins the implementation holds no weight. This can have an impact on the management of resources during the project when an executive feels that resources can be spent elsewhere. This can also have an impact on user adoption. Why should the employee engage when the boss doesn’t?

How do you avoid this problem?

Executives should be at the forefront of every decision about implementation that gets made. The KPIs should be clear and measurable and the business value should be highlighted at each step of the way. Simply put, the implementation should not happen if there isn’t enough executive buy-in to drive the project forward.

Lack of User Adoption


What is user adoption in a CRM implementation?

One of the more commonly overlooked problems in a CRM implementation is user adoption. Between the technology providers and the executive decision makers, the users of the final product can be forgotten. Yet, they are the main drivers of the KPIs and ultimately decide whether your implementation was a success or not. The business users need the know-how and the desire to use the software for the implementation to drive the productivity it is designed for.

What problems does this cause?

Poor user adoption inhibits the ROI that the implementation was designed for. If the users don’t know how to use the software it can lead to frustration, a drop in morale and a drop in productivity. If nobody wants to use the software then the implementation was essentially a waste of time and resources.

How do you avoid this problem?

This problem is avoided by encouraging consistent and frequent user feedback. This will help the technology providers adapt their solution to the user. User training is also vitally important throughout the process to ensure that the users know how to use the software. A popular approach is to train super users within the organisation. They will be able to train other employees on how to use the software whilst also providing feedback from the point of view of the user.

Poor Strategy

What is strategy in a CRM implementation?

Once your vision has been successfully thought-through and defined it is important to develop a strategy that is consistent with your vision, time appropriate and measurable. A lot of projects fail because the strategy isn’t achievable within the defined time. CRM projects are no different. Some of the common problems that can cause problems in a CRM strategy are unrealistic timelines, a lack of measurable metrics to outline the progress of the project or a lack of feedback processes built in within the strategy.


What problems does this cause?

Due to the size and complexity of a CRM project a poor implementation strategy could lead to failure. There are a lot of moving parts so a single blocker can cause repercussions down the line which will jeopardise the project.

How do you avoid this problem?

Every moment spent strategising before the project will save a lot of time during the project. Be realistic and honest about the timelines you can achieve. Otherwise the implementation will be jeopardised. Similarly, it’s important to realise that the initial strategy will never fulfil exactly what is required. This is why it’s important to develop a culture of transparency that accommodates for consistent feedback and continuous process improvement.

Scope Creep


What is scope creep?

Scope creep refers to the continuous change of scope as a project develops. This is a problem for a large percentage of projects to varying degrees. It frustrates project holders and stakeholders alike. The simple cause is additional features being added to the scope of the project, during the project, without the cost and time of the features being accounted for.

What problems does this cause?

Scope creep is an almost inevitable part of any large project. Yet if poorly managed, it can cause serious disruption of the project and potentially put the project at risk. Additional requirements will invariably eat into the time allocated to the original strategy. This pushes back timelines and adds pressure to the project team.

How do you avoid this problem?

Not all scope changes are scope creep. Scope creep occurs when a scope change doesn’t go through a scope management process. If a change in scope is necessary, then the timelines of the change should be built out with the same rigour as the original scope.


CRM implementations fail at an alarming rate. The complexity and flexibility of the project means they are liable to the issues that simpler projects can avoid. Moreover, they are highly important projects within the scope of a business’s evolution. This is why it is important to take heed of the most common pitfalls reported in these projects.

Trigg Digital are Salesforce experts with a combined experience of 50+ years. If you need advice on how to navigate through a CRM implementation in the best way for your business, contact us now.

Juher Shaikh
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