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CRM Checklist: avoid these six stumbling blocks

In collaboration with MT/Sprout - Anyone who wants to guarantee their company's growth and customer satisfaction, refines their digital strategy with a well-oiled CRM platform. But how do you ensure that you are headed in the right direction and that you become (and remain) successful in both the short and long term?

Usually, it goes wrong — the implementation of a CRM system. Twenty years ago, Gartner already published that between 50 and 70 per cent of new CRM steps go wrong. That percentage has now fallen to 33 per cent on average, concludes CIO magazine, but one in three of course remains dangerously high. How do you ensure that you take the right route on that digital highway and that you become (and remain) successful in both the short and long term?

Jelle Raaijmakers is Technical Director at Webs and assists companies in these issues. This Eindhoven-based company specialises in the CRM platform HubSpot and helps organisations grow or transform with it. Which six pitfalls do you have to avoid? Raaijmakers mentions several stumbling blocks that unfortunately occur time and again during such a process. What should you avoid at all costs?

Stumbling block 1: too little support

There is often little support for a technical revision among (former) family businesses that slowly want to modernise their IT. In that company, there are always people of the old school who do not care for changes such as working in the cloud or new tools. It has always worked fine, so why bother? “Very understandable”, notes Raaijmakers. “However, it is important to get as much support as possible among different departments. What could this mean for the entire company? Not just for marketing or sales, but what is the return on investment for the entire organisation? Bring everyone to the table, let people have a say.”

Stumbling block 2: not having a clear picture of commercial processes 

The second stumbling block actually ties in with the first point: there is not only misunderstanding or even unwillingness, but also a lack of clarity in the company itself about the processes. That does not necessarily have a negative cause, on the contrary. It is often the case that because people know each other well and have been working there for a long time, certain routines have developed over the years. Once you centralise things (like with a new CRM system), it can go south. If you ask colleague Henk which route is taken in a commercial process, his answer will be completely different from colleague Bert’s. The solution: put down in black and white how these internal processes will go. This allows you to tailor the CRM system to your company, and the end customer will not be bothered by awry arrangements.

Stumbling block 3: platform not well integrated

Stumbling block 2 then merges into stumbling block 3: the technical side of the matter. One department uses Zendesk, the other Exact, then Marketo or Salesforce. Using these all separately next to each other creates a chaotic sea of isolated islands. A good CRM system takes these individual islands, links and combines, separates or replaces them. That means more insight, more streamlined processes and more service. The HubSpot website contains dozens of functions that can be linked to a flexible CRM system: for example, let customers schedule an appointment with your employees themselves, based on their real-time agenda. Synchronise billing systems, payment systems and communication programmes. Or create links with social media.

Stumbling block 4: little knowledge about the future platform

A new CRM system like HubSpot is incredibly versatile as an upcoming industry standard. But how do you prevent employees (or customers) from not being able to see the forest because of all those trees in your new CRM system? Teach them! For example, the official HubSpot Academy provides employees with a wonderful toolkit to better understand HubSpot. You can also go a step further and consciously choose a partner who can provide tailored training. After all, a CRM system is a product that must continuously integrate and change. “Our trainers already know exactly how your business works”, says Raaijmakers. "They give an applied crash course, with the figures and products of the relevant company, where the audience is really taken by the hand."

Stumbling block 5: poor quality and polluted data

With the growth of companies, there lurks a danger that the data is no longer correct (enough). This is, for example, because in one system it is noted that a customer has moved, whereas in the other system this has not (yet) been entered. Or data is duplicated in different registers. So, ensure as much unity and a clear structure as possible before you introduce a new CRM. Few people think about what the impact can be for the company in the long term. You may want to have a major ‘data cleaning’ (or data cleansing, data scrubbing) in which duplicate or unnecessary data is removed.

Stumbling block 6: insufficient insight into results

Has the implementation of this system achieved the intended objectives for your own processes? That is the question. Every CRM system software must be paid for. It is very difficult to assign a value in euros to these results. But it is good to ascribe a certain general value to this, for example for the people who were still doubtful in the beginning. Think of increased sales, increased leads on the site or a higher valuation, for example. In order words: it is always good to be able to justify that choice of the new CRM system at the time with clear, positive consequences of the efforts made through the plan.

Participation is, in fact, the magic word: involve your people, familiarise them with the plans and the system, work carefully and map out results. This way, you too, can go through the successful implementation of a CRM with flying colours! 

Picture of Jelle Raaijmakers
Jelle Raaijmakers

Technical Director