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Why one in three CRM implementations fail

In collaboration with Emerce - A properly functioning CRM platform is a cornerstone for growth and customer satisfaction in your organisation. Yet many CRM implementations are doomed to failure.

In 2001 Gartner published research indicating that 50 to 70 per cent of CRM initiatives stall out. Newer studies have since shown this range holding between 20 and 70 per cent. So why do many organisations struggle with new CRM systems, and what’s the key to success?

A CRM system is no magic wand 

Many still know HubSpot as a marketing automation tool, but it’s now garnering fame as a full-fledged CRM platform that supports your commercial processes with centralised data, messaging, automation, content and reporting tools. The combination of a turn-key solution that lets you get right to work, a powerful user interface and strong references makes this platform an obvious choice: just fire it up and get going!

But that’s when the creaks and groans may pop up: the marketing team uses the CRM platform like their lives depend on it, while Sales logs in every now and again as they plough through their Excel sheets. The bookkeeper wants to link customer data with Exact, but IT was not even aware of any CRM platform. And then the CFO comes knocking to discuss the price tag...

After a smooth launch, the friction begins

We can identify several clear patterns in problematic CRM implementations:

  • Lack of broad support
    New system introductions often neglect stakeholders in the organisation. The implementation leaves teams feeling excluded and IT managers feeling circumvented. What’s more, the CFO only learns of the platform when the first invoice arrives.
  • Commercial processes not mapped out properly
    If your CRM platform setup doesn’t reflect the reality on the work floor, the whole system will break down: process friction, poor or non-existent communication and unclear responsibilities.
  • Platform not properly integrated
    Every organisation has a myriad of systems, with their configured processes and data. Failure to interface these with the CRM platform creates silos of teams, each with their own processes and data. Without a clear view of what’s happening, these silos are incapable of serving your clients well.
  • Lack of platform knowledge
    The HubSpot CRM platform offers an incredible range of functionality – it’s easy to get lost in all the possibilities. Different teams may end up implementing the same processes in different ways, frustrating users and causing them to tune out.
  • Low-quality and polluted data
    Over time, the volume of data in your organisation has grown. The quality varies: your mail forms have provided mediocre quality, but your financial records are top notch. Substandard data sources for your CRM platform make for friction and clunky processes.

  • Lack of transparency around results
    A lack of transparency in the output of the CRM platform could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back: the organisation not only complaints, but also calls the added value into question, and it’s practically impossible to optimise your processes.

Roadmap to CRM implementation success

If you recognise one of the above issues in your organisation, you’re no doubt wondering: so how do you ensure a successful CRM platform launch?

  • Secure broad support
    From day one, invite the stakeholders to take part in the CRM implementation: the team leads, CFO, IT, record-keeping, etc. Involving everyone in the initial decisions and periodic updates will go a long way towards keeping them on the same page.
  • Map out your commercial processes
    Sit down together and plot out the main commercial processes in your organisation, and use this to guide your CRM implementation. Tailoring workflows and communication so they link up with your processes at all times will prevent friction and unpleasant surprises for your teams.
  • Draw up a technical road map
    Map out your technical landscape and determine the desired changes over the coming year: introduction of the CRM platform, decommissioning of old systems and integration of existing systems. The better your CRM integration, the better your overview of all activities around your clients and teams.
  • Train your teams in the CRM platform
    Ensure that everyone who will work directly with the system is aware of the functionality and processes set up. The HubSpot Academy offers ample materials to get you up to speed quickly, and in-house training sessions can nip many issues in the bud.
  • Safeguard data quality
    Determine the quality of the data in your systems: are your data complete? How do you guarantee their accuracy? If necessary, organise a data cleanup and improve your processes to increase your incoming data quality.

  • Make results measurable
    Be sure you have a plan to make your results measurable: define KPIs based on your objectives, and use the data from your commercial processes in the CRM to support this. HubSpot offers an extensive range of options to organise your dashboards, so you can see you’re on the right track at a single glance.

Anticipating friction in a CRM introduction will boost your chances of a successful implementation. Your clients will feel better served, your teams will collaborate better and your organisation will ultimately tap its full potential for growth.

Picture of Jelle Raaijmakers
Jelle Raaijmakers

Technical Director