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Why CRM Projects Fail


According to Gartner, 63% of CRM implementation projects fail to deliver on their investment.

Many people report that CRM solutions need to be re-implemented three times or more just to get it right!


14% of Managing Directors want to junk their CRM platform and start over!

Given our experience rescuing CRM implementations, we’re surprised it’s not higher…

Why do so many businesses implement CRM so badly?

We’ve identified 6 key reasons why CRM projects fail none of which are 'choosing the wrong technology'.  We see these again and again.

  1. Failure to scope (properly)
  2. Implementing processes that are already weak or failing
  3. Importing too little or incorrect data to the new CRM - and expecting the CRM to automagically sort it all out and give you the reports that you want
  4. Lack of testing
  5. Inadequate training
  6. Learning on the job - without guidance 

Businesses don’t scope properly.

This exchange from Alice in Wonderland sums it up nicely!




“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.

The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”




Sometimes the business has only the vaguest idea of what it wants to achieve from the project.  All too often, the expectation is that ‘everything will be better once CRM is in’, but no one defines what ‘better’ actually looks like.  So when things are not perfect (and they never are!), the CRM takes the blame for every issue.

Good scoping turns vague improvement ideas into SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals.

Find out about the Opsis scoping workshop, or get materials to run your own workshop.

Businesses don’t review their processes.

If you automate inefficient processes, they’re still inefficient. If you automate broken processes, they’re still broken.  It is far better to review and improve them before you automate.

Often managers ‘know’ what the standard process is, but 4 out of 5 people in the team are doing things their own way.  Implementing the documented processes which no one actually uses doesn’t help.

Make sure you spend time finding out what processes are in use, review them with input from the users and the CRM experts, and then implement these reviewed processes.  

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The data in your CRM system will make or break your implementation.

Carefully analyse your data, clean it up and format it for import into your new system.

This is especially important if you’re combining data from more than one data source.

Remember, a stich in time saves nine. Going back and trying to correct data is a major cause of headache and a leads to users not trusting the system (or using it).

How good is your data right now? Here are some simple tips for better data quality before you import into CRM.

Test, Test, then Test Again

Testing is there to identify issues with process and bugs. User testing is especially important. It’s about how your users will use the system in real life, rather than what a developer thinks users do. But if your users are testing in a hurry one afternoon while their ‘real job’ piles up into a backlog, how thorough are they going to be?

Plus, you need to test not just the ‘standard’ process, but also the exceptions – the weird and wonderful variations that your own clients and prospects come up with. (For example, your credit card process needs to handle invalid cards, potential fraud, insufficient funds, negative transactions and more.) These may only be a small proportion of total transactions, but you have to test them to ensure a robust system and confident users.

Learn more about best practice user acceptance testing.

User training is critically important

My team are smart, they’ve used a CRM before. They’ll work out how to do it on the job.

Yes, they will.

But each of them will work out a different way to do things. And some (most) of those ways will not match the process your CRM was configured to support. So vital data may be missing from reports. Or automation may not trigger when expected. And when a new person starts, two different users will train them ‘on the job’ in two different ways.

A good CRM project includes a training plan, with different types of training at different stages.

Not getting expert CRM help!

why-crm-projects-fail-expert-partner-helpCRM is a combination of technology and “business process”.

Successful CRM hinges on getting the “business processes” right. In many ways the technology is immaterial. You could use any of the leading technologies and still get it wrong. (See point 3 – Garbage In, Garbage Out.)

Your IT team may be experts in your own systems, but are they experts in 3rd party CRM? Or even in your own sales and marketing business processes?  Leaving CRM implementation to in-house IT is one of the major reasons why CRM projects fail.

When you engage a 3rd party expert organisation, they note only document and implement your processes, work scheduling and reporting analytics, they also contribute ideas and improvements based on their experience in previous projects.

And when selecting a partner,

  • Don’t get fooled into choosing a ‘gold partner’ because ‘they are at the highest level and must be best’.  Partner status is often based on revenue or licence numbers rather than project skills or end client satisfaction.
  • Even partner size can be misleading. What’s the benefit of a bigger company if 98% of their staff work in areas other than CRM? Or if the CRM ‘experts’ only have experience of two to three CRM projects each?

Learn more about how to choose a CRM partner.

How confident are you about your CRM project?

Will you become one of the 63%?

Or find yourself re-doing the implementation?

At Opsis over the last 12 years we’ve helped hundreds of organisations ranging in size from two to many hundred people implement CRM projects successfully. Many times, we’ve been called in to “rescue” a project that’s already been implemented.

Don’t let this happen to you.

For a no-obligation discussion about how Opsis can help with scoping, planning and implementing a successful CRM, or with CRM Project Rescue,contact us today.

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Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365 consulting company. Our focus is your Microsoft Dynamics 365 success - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal Consultant, Gill oversees all business operations and strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions.  We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia.  We offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 strategy, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scoping, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 technical support, Microsoft Dynamics 365 advice and guidance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 training and mentoring.