As marketers, we’re often charged with gaining buy-in from key stakeholders when it comes to new software, new campaigns and new initiatives we want to implement. To be successful, we must demonstrate how these will positively impact company growth and revenue. The same holds true when making the case for a customer relationship management (CRM) solution since selecting and implementing one requires substantial investments of time and money for your entire organization.

In 2017, CIO magazine reported that around one-third of all CRM projects fail.*

As this statistic shows, selecting and implementing the right CRM solution for your organization is no simple task. No matter the size or scope, implementing one can be challenging on many fronts—especially when stakeholders possess varying levels of understanding, tech-savviness, buy-in and skepticism. However, if you approach CRM by involving the right people, getting buy-in early on and demonstrating value, you’ll be one-step closer to ensuring implementation and adoption success. Let’s look at these three strategies in more detail.

Involve Sales/Business Development
The worst mistake you can make in selecting and implementing a CRM system is not involving your sales/business development team. This is a road that will lead to distrust and pushback from those team members. It’s important to consult with your sales team at the outset of this initiative to get a better sense of what their processes and needs are. Depending on the size of your team, you may not need to get input from everyone. In fact, involving too many people can potentially lead the process astray and cause poor decisions. However, if you can get a few senior-level sales team members involved early on (even invite them to sit in on demos), you’ll create a support system that can help champion both the process and the solution.

Identify and Recruit CRM Champions
Who are stakeholders in your organization who can and will advocate effectively for CRM? If you can identify a handful of people who already understand and are behind the idea of CRM, they can serve as champions for the initiative and even be a helpful resource as you begin implementation. Perhaps there are team members who have had experience with CRM in a past life or who already understand the impact a successful CRM implementation can have on your company. Gaining support and enthusiasm from those who have already “bought in” will help you build a stronger case in the drive to win over those who need more convincing.

Demonstrate Value Early On
One way to combat pushback is to demonstrate the value of CRM at the outset of your selection process. To do this, it’s important to understand where your team falls short—whether it’s multiple sales team members reaching out to the same contact without even knowing it, everyone working off their own “book of business” in Microsoft Outlook or some other issue. In all cases, you need to be able to identify these challenges and demonstrate how CRM can directly improve and streamline your current processes.

It’s no overstatement to say that, if handled correctly, CRM can completely transform your business. Utilizing the three strategies outlined above at the front end of your journey can help set the stage and drive engagement and excitement during the entire CRM vetting and implementation process. Ready to get started with CRM? Contact Sarah Chula at or 440.605.7270.

*Study was based on an average of a dozen analyst reports. The numbers ranged from 18% to 69%.

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