CRM Software Blog TeamJune 16, 2022

What are the main reasons for CRM failures?

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What are the main reasons for CRM failures?

The purpose of this article is to shed light on the top 5 CRM failures and show you how to avoid them. The CRM failure rate in 2022 currently stands at between 18-and 69%, with the total failure rate (median) from CRM project studies at 30%. Digital adoption failure is the core reason for customer relationship management failure along with lack of vision, poor planning, bad data, siloed departments, and an unbalanced customer-centric approach. 

For CRM systems to be truly successful, and to sufficiently motivate CRM stakeholders, the following aspects are crucial; high-level involvement from management, clear and concise communication of SMART goals and objectives, cross-departmental integration, and adequate commitment from sales teams. 

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That being said, we will now delve into the most common reasons for CRM failures in the modern digital business environment. 

What Are The Main Reasons For CRM Failures?

What are the main reasons for CRM failures
What are the main reasons for CRM failures


To put it frankly, CRMs can fail for multiple reasons, but mainly because of a lack of digital adoption. CRMs are notoriously complex and need adequate support and planning from businesses, team leaders, and higher-ups. There is no point in investing vast amounts of money in digital adoption solutions and CRMs if adequate training isn’t given to its core users. Some businesses tend to rush the user onboarding process and don’t sequester the appropriate resources to implement a CRM adequately. 

Digital adoption is crucial for several reasons, the most important being the implementation of a successful digital transformation strategy. Without digital adoption, digital transformation just isn’t possible. This means that executing a prosperous CRM solution needs sufficient time, planning, and resources to be deemed a success. We will now go through the top five reasons for CRM failures and what you can do to avoid them.  

The Top 5 Reasons For CRM Failures

1. Not Defining Goals 

One of the most common problems faced by digital-first businesses today is a lack of planning and not defining business goals properly. Businesses need to think about and clarify the exact problems that they want their CRM solution to solve by setting out clear goals and objectives. When objects are SMART and measurable, it helps to set out a clear vision that can be used to gauge results. 

Having a contingency plan is a great way to make sure that digital disruption doesn’t harm your bottom line. But, it’s important to note that insufficient digital disruption is also harmful to the bigger picture of digital transformation. So finding equilibrium is key to carrying out a successful CRM solution and gives businesses a clear-cut guide to follow. Businesses must look ahead and plot a measurable path to success with relevant metrics in place to truly be triumphant. 

2. Not Allowing Proper Supervision From Management 

Another reason why CRM implementation has such a high failure rate is not getting enough support, encouragement, and training at the executive leadership level. Commitment from higher us needs to be firm and cross-departmental collaboration needs to be championed at every level to reap the real benefits from CRM.

Sales, marketing, and customer service teams are all crucial to the overall success of your CRM implementation solution. These departments need to understand what each division is trying to achieve and must work to support each other in achieving long-term organizational goals and not just individual ones. 

Executives can sometimes be reluctant to enforce proper SMART goals and objectives that relate to CRM management. If they see that the CRM will optimize processes and produce business growth, lower costs, improved marketing, higher customer retention rates, and increased sales, they are much more likely to support the CRM implementation process from the ground up. 

A great way to achieve this is by taking the language of CRM software out of the technical arena and offering easily understandable information and benefits to management and higher-ups. For example, when choosing an appropriate software vendor, offer management several options with the advantages and disadvantages of each solution clearly defined. This helps to keep management informed while simultaneously encouraging a feedback loop and reporting strategy.  

3. Choosing The Wrong Vendor 

Businesses that get caught up in marketing hype when purchasing their CRM solution are a lot more likely to fail than those that have adequate, in-depth research to support their choices. If your business processes are working and are deemed successful, there is no inherent need to change them. That being said, businesses need to take control of their choices and not negatively disrupt processes that are already working smoothly. 

The best way to choose the correct software vendor is by getting out a concise list of questions that you can use to cross-reference the different CRM solutions that you have in mind for your business needs. We’ve developed the following questions to help you gauge the best CRM provider: 

  • What CRM features are crucial to the ongoing success of your business? 
  • Does the software provide a flexible and adaptable UI that you can easily customize if need be? 
  • How scalable is it? 
  • Can it be easily integrated with existing tools? 

4. Users Not Getting On Board

It’s a given that whichever CRM that you decide to use, employees need to understand and attain inherent benefits from it. If your employees aren’t committed or don’t understand the intricacies involved in proper CRM management, then the implemented solution will be in vain and all the benefits will be negated. CRMs should not be seen as a management tool and should instead be seen as a solution for cross-departmental teams to collaborate. 

Employees also need to be aware of the benefits of CRM adoption. For example, sales teams who are used to old datasets may be reluctant to jump on board a new solution. It’s down to managers to enforce the benefits of the new solutions and give salespeople time to understand the new processes.

Businesses need to make sure that CRM solutions will automate outdated manual processes saving time, money, and valuable resources. In the long run, this enables sales teams to focus on the more pivotal aspects of their roles, while meeting long-term organizational needs more productively. 

5. Complex Or Convoluted Requirements 

It’s important to note that people using CRM software may not be technically savvy. If a new piece of software isn’t easy to use and efficient, then employees won’t see the advantages and will reject the solution. Keeping things simple and only signing up for the most crucial services that serve core business objectives will help employees to get the most use out of the solution and reap the associated benefits. 

Keep in mind the needs of all of your employees and find a solution with an easy-to-understand user interface (UI) that is both friendly and intuitive. If you are over-ambitious and implement a convoluted solution that is overly complex, you risk putting employees off from day one and losing valuable input and resources. 

How To Fix Customer Relationship Management Failure

How To Fix Customer Relationship Management Failure
How To Fix Customer Relationship Management Failure

Customers are and should be at the center of any thriving business. CRM software allows businesses to hold vital information about customers, their needs, and experiences. But, CRM implementations are notoriously difficult and have a high failure rate. CRM failure happens, in most cases, because of a lack of training tools such as diluted focus and in-app guidance.

CRM projects are often rushed, not implemented properly, and lack focus. Essentially, CRM projects fail because of insufficient user adoption, which is a key driver of success. Utilizing a CRM strategy keeps CRM fails to a minimum while giving businesses appropriate insights on how to constantly improve and expand. Successful implementation means utilizing customer data in a way that generates strong, measurable results.

Every CRM system is different and brings with it its own set of unique challenges. Your CRM project should be clearly defined cross-departmentally in order to generate cohesive results throughout your organization. Choosing the right CRM vendor is equally as important as training and onboarding new employees. This is because each vendor offers different benefits, price ranges, and unique user interfaces that impact businesses in different ways.

A Good CRM Software Implementation Is A Disruptive One

All businesses that implement a CRM solution will by default, replace existing legacy systems in the process. In doing so, the rate of CRM implementation disruption is gravely underestimated. Employees throughout the entire organization depend on valuable customer information in order to successfully carry out their day-to-day activities. This means that buy-in from every level is needed in order for true digital disruption to take place.

CRM implementation failure is on the rise and planning and estimating process transformation is notoriously difficult. CRM failure rates currently stand at an all-time high of 70% and higher. This is mainly due to a lack of planning and a poor CRM strategy. Another reason why CRM projects fail is if a customer-centric approach isn’t taken throughout the whole implementation process.

Seven Steps For Successful CRM Implementation

Seven Steps For Successful CRM Implementation
Seven Steps For Successful CRM Implementation

We have identified seven key steps for successful CRM implementation below:

1. Choose The Right System

CRM system implementation basically comes down to how they fit the needs of your organization. CRM success depends on data migration, choice of software provider, the overall sales process, corporate strategy, and business model. Modern CRMs are highly configurable, mobile-ready, and fairly inexpensive to initially implement.

The best way to choose the right system for your specific needs is to request a demo for your top five or six choices. You can then check references and streamline your choices from there. It’s important to understand the basic nature of the licenses that you are purchasing and make sure that the ability to add additional configurations and software customizations comes at no extra cost.

2. Map Out & Define Your Sales & Marketing Process

If you want to successfully optimize your CRM cross-departmentally, the best way to achieve optimal results is by carefully planning and mapping out vital business processes step-by-step. Companies are putting an emphasis on organization-wide collaboration and defining agreements and best practices before choosing a software vendor. Doing so will decrease project risk, and overall project failure by creating an enterprise-wide effort that not only includes the IT department but other crucial business units as well.

3. Make Sure That You Create An End-To-End Solution

A lot of secondary systems are easily able to be integrated into your CRM. Nowadays, businesses are integrating various tools such as project management, co-working tools, web conferencing, and email marketing together to get the most out of their CRM system. System integration is a great way for multiple departments to have a hands-on approach to CRM implementation and management and is a great way to showcase the benefits, and advantages and get people excited.

4. Choose The Right Partners

It’s important to have a clearly defined company strategy that demonstrates the role of the vendor and the role of the end-user. Measurable objectives and strategic objectives should be put in place to make sure that everyone is on target and the sales cycle should be constantly calculated to gauge success.

Most CRM implementations benefit from approaching CRM management in this way and also help to minimize scope creep. Choosing the wrong software can make or break a CRM implementation, so remember to take your time and provide a weighted list of benefits before making the final decision.

5. Obtain Feedback Early On In The Adoption Process

One of the biggest reasons why CRM implementations fail is if users arent actively participating in the solutions that serve their daily needs. Project teams, sales teams, and marketing departments alike need to actively obtain feedback from very early on in the adoption process. This means that having a cross-functional team with a heavy focus on CRM objectives from the earliest stages is a critical factor that could determine the success of failure of your entire project.

6. Generate & Maintain A Project Plan

Successful CRM implementation is all about execution, deliverables, champions, and structured, measurable timelines. At this stage, project managers should be brought on board to get buy-in from executives and create a team of super users that can test out key aspects of your CRM. The best way to achieve this is through a phased approach that offers in-depth solutions to any prospective problems that may occur. Aspects such as software customization and poor data quality can be easily negated once a project plan is in place that clearly defines actionable processes.

7. Make Sure That You Deploy A Working, Scalable Solution

Cross-departmental collaboration is a key driver of success for CRM implementations. But the IT department does hold a heavy hand when it comes to the overall management, deployment, and scalability of any given solution. Seamless data mitigation, systems integration, and training are all integral parts of CRM implementations and will help deliver valuable information to sales teams when they need it the most.

CRM solutions need to be delivered in a way that provides innovative tools to salespeople that they don’t currently have access to. These can be in the form of tickler emails, data around online customer viewership habits, and even access to white papers and case studies.

In the long term, having a clearly deployable and scalable CRM solution will ensure long-lasting success and will enable businesses to measure the true and substantial growth achieved as a direct result. A change management program is a great way to introduce new enterprise software throughout the entire organization, with successful CRM implementations relying on integrated software applications that simplify decision-making and provide better data quality.


CRMs are extremely useful pieces of software that can often make or break a business. When CRM solutions aren’t implemented correctly, you risk losing sight of long-term business objectives and wasting a lot of time, effort, and resources that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. The key to successful CRM implementation is proper planning, training, and cross-departmental collaboration that takes the objectives of the entire organization into account. 

When CRM solutions are fully integrated and a part of both digital adoption and digital transformation strategies, they can work effortlessly to streamline outdated processes and capture valuable data that serves business needs end-to-end.