Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to help businesses manage their interactions with customers. The goal of any good CRM system is to give you, as a business owner, better insight into your customers. A CRM system can help you increase sales, making it easier for your sales team to reach out to individual customers or tailor targeted interactions based on each customer’s unique preferences.
CRM software has become an indispensable component of many businesses, especially those that have multiple departments or locations. However, there are challenges in CRM adoption, integration, and implementation that can sometimes affect performance or simply make the software more difficult to use.
Read more: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Explained
11 Challenges in CRM and How to Solve Them
1. The Time and Cost of Implementing CRM Software
Implementing CRM software can be both costly and time-consuming. This is mainly due to what many people perceive as a steep learning curve. It takes time, effort, money, training, and organizational culture change.
This challenge can be mitigated by choosing an off-the-shelf solution from a reputable provider instead of building your own CRM from scratch. Look for a solution that offers flexibility as you grow and adapt, as well as meeting all current regulatory standards for handling consumer data.
2. Lack of Users Adopting CRM Software
A major challenge with implementing CRM software is that it’s not always easy to convince your team to use it. After all, it requires them to spend time learning new processes and change how they work. If people aren’t incentivized or inspired, they probably won’t make an effort to change their habits.
This can lead to frustration on both sides of the fence — users who feel like they have too much stuff to track and executives who feel like their expectations aren’t being met because no one uses what they thought would be a helpful tool.
To solve this problem, make sure you’re incentivizing users properly for using your CRM system, especially during its initial roll-out phase, when you need everyone on board for success. You should also make sure that your employees understand why they need to use it and how the software would help them.
3. No Organized Strategy or Plan for Adopting CRM Software
As with any software implementation, without an organized plan of action to encourage adoption, it’s nearly impossible to convert your employees to new software users. If you want your company to be successful with CRM, you need a plan for introducing it, setting expectations for employees, and making sure everyone understands how using CRM will help them.
An implementation plan will give your team focus and let them know what’s expected of them. Even if your CRM is simple enough that they don’t need training or assistance getting started, you still need to set these expectations.
Read more: How to Create a CRM Strategy (Step-by-Step Guide)
4. CRM Software Is Not Scalable With Your Business
Poorly implemented CRM can’t scale up with your growing business. As your company adds more users and clients, your CRM will start getting slower, causing you to abandon it or find another solution. It is important that businesses implement a CRM that can adapt to new challenges as they arise.
The best CRM software offers flexibility from the design to the payment plans. This flexibility will help you add systems without bogging down performance while ensuring quick access for employees at all levels of your organization. If you have a larger team, it’s important to have a cloud-based solution, so everyone has access to everything in real time.
5. Wrong Type of CRM Software Chosen and Implemented
Choosing or implementing a CRM system that does not fit your business needs is one of the biggest reasons for failure. Research is very critical when you choose CRM technology. If you don’t put enough effort into research, chances are that you won’t be satisfied with what you get in return.
Therefore, make sure you look into numerous software products, determining their strengths and weaknesses and how relevant the features are to your business before finally making up your mind.
If you have already implemented the wrong type of CRM for your business, and if it’s appropriate for your company’s needs and budget, try switching systems altogether to one that has better capabilities — and save yourself from having to create manual workarounds down the line.
Read more: 5 Types of CRM Software — What’s Right for You?
6. Leadership Has Yet to Fully Buy Into the Software
Though there are proven business benefits to CRM software, many CEOs and other executive leaders may not buy into it. They might think of CRM software as a glorified contact database, rather than an integral part of their teams’ strategies, and may not see the reasons behind implementing new CRM software.
It is important to make these leaders understand how powerful CRM really is, the ROI, and how it will add to their business’s bottom line.
7. Lack of Training on CRM Software
CRM is a complex tool, so employees have to be trained on how to use it. If training isn’t done properly, your company could lose out on key information about their clients. This would mean lost revenue and opportunities for improvement, and it may even cause you to miss deadlines.
Make sure you train all your employees on how to use CRM software when they first start using it, and make sure they get refresher courses when there are any changes in the technology, such as updates or added features. This way they can work more efficiently and stay focused on providing good customer service.
8. Poor Data Quality
Your customer information is scattered across numerous programs, multiple teams, and possibly even third-party companies. This increases your data-entry workload and increases errors. It’s difficult to keep all your customer data organized, which makes it impossible to automate processes like lead nurturing.
The only way you can address poor data quality is by finding a CRM solution that allows you to put all of your customer information into one place, so you can easily manage it yourself or through automated processes.
Read more: Most Important CRM Software Requirements
9. Software and Data Integration
As large companies scale their CRM infrastructure, they are typically challenged with data-integration issues. The goal of creating a centralized CRM is to provide consistent customer service across all touchpoints. However, what ends up happening is one CRM silo is created, and then each team has to extract and transform their data into that central system. This extra time spent creating workarounds can cost businesses precious time and money.
The solution: Business owners should look for software solutions that automatically sync and update data between different platforms and systems. Implement a CRM solution that integrates into an existing database or software architecture and accepts data from virtually any source — including web services — and directly from front-end applications.
10. Failure to Dedicate Enough Resources
When developing a CRM system, it’s critical to make sure you have enough resources dedicated to its development. To ensure your new CRM works properly, make sure to devote adequate time and money to its development.
Without enough resources, your new system is unlikely to have all the features you require or meet your high expectations. Also, remember that a system can take months — or even years — to develop. The better prepared you are from the beginning, the smoother your project will run.
11. Access to Actionable Data in CRM Software Is Hard to Acquire
With so many tasks that have to be completed, access to data is crucial. Your team must have easy access to customer records at all times. The problem with most CRM systems is that they are not set up to provide direct access to your records without jumping through hoops. This puts a strain on productivity and can even hinder sales.
To mitigate this obstacle, it’s vital that organizations develop intelligent search tools integrated into their CRM systems. These tools are designed to allow users to quickly locate specific sets of records within huge databases, allowing them to complete projects much more efficiently.
Read next: CRM vs ERP: What Are the Key Differences?