Why CRM systems fail!!

Following on from my previous post about how to healthcheck a CRM system, I wanted to share with you why I think people either love or hate their CRM systems. In most cases its not because one system is better than the other, though there are some systems that don’t fit the not for profit market, it is because users have either bought into the system and can see the benefits or they can’t.

I tell this story a lot but it is one of my most vivid memories of when I started working in the sector. I remember a member of staff, who in the run up to the London Marathon was struggling under the burden of paper that was printed out and then manually entered into the CRM system. It was taking about 3 out of the 5 days in the week to process this data. Now, this wasn’t because the CRM system was rubbish or even that the person didn’t know better, but more because the person who was spending their day wrapped up in paper wasn’t aware of the different things that their CRM system could do.

It was a lack of training.

I do a lot of training and project management for new CRM systems being installed and I would always say that a CRM project will either succeed or fail based on the amount of time invested in testing and training end users.

End users are the people who need to see the benefits of any new system. I believe that all CRM vendors, after they have got their sale, should offer their new doughy eyed client a relevant amount of overview training just so that the project can gather momentum.

I would also recommend holding regular clinic sessions after go live to find out the simple “how to’s”. I suspect there will be a blog post at some point of all the things I wish I’d known.

Whether you use a “train the trainer” model, look for training from the software vendor or use an external resource, never forget to invest in your users. They will make your project work and need to be positive about the whole experience.

When you look at training think about the different levels of skills you have in house.

  • Do you have “Power”, or as I like to call them “Super Users”?
  • Do you have an IT team who need to understand the more technical side of things like backups and administration?

I would always recommend having at least one key member of staff in each business area (where appropriate) to lead the charge for the team to ensure good practice is being met.

It is also really important to remember this when staff change and find someone else internally who will take on this responsibility. I normally bribe people into the role with Chocolate – works wonders

Remember that training is also an ongoing requirement, it shouldn’t stop after the CRM is installed. Go back and get more training, not just when upgrades to the software come out.

Make sure you go to your CRM systems user group sessions. Blackbaud run regular user group sessions at their office in London Bridge, AccessThankQ do the same thing once a year in London but there is talk of regional sessions happening. Donorflex do the same thing, to name but a few. If you don’t know about these sessions speak to your account manager in the first instance and I’m sure that they can point you in the right direction.

If you would like some independent help, then feel free to get in touch for a no obligation call.