Reasons Why Your CRM Fails and How to Prevent It From Happening

Nilam Oswal

Nilam Oswal

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 27, 2020

There are few things that can generate as much frustration as going through the time-consuming process of setting up a customer relationship management system, also known as CRM. When the system works, all of the time and energy put into setting things up seems worth it. But when the system fails, it can seem like a major waste of time.

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If you have done the work of setting up a CMR only to see it fail, you should know that you are not alone. Studies show that between 47 and 63 percent of CRMs fail. This is an expensive failure. The majority of these failures can be avoided if problems are identified early.

4 Causes and Prevention from CRM Fails

1. Failures Caused by Lack of User Adoption

This is not a technical problem but a human problem. People resist change. Employees and other CRM users may actively resist learning how to use a new system. It could be that the CRM requires them to make some major changes to their current workflow process. Or it could be that the new CRM has too many bells and whistles, so it’s more confusing than it really needs to be.

Failures Caused by Lack of User Adoption

You can’t force people to learn a new system if they don’t see the benefit of it. The situation can be mitigated by including the end-users in the testing process. Once the system has been set up, comprehensive CRM training will help people feel comfortable with and see the benefits of a new system.

People need to understand why the new CRM is beneficial for them. CRM software by its very nature is designed to be adaptable. This is why it can be used in a number of industries. However, if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your CRM to do, you can’t transmit this to the end-users. The more specifics you include and the more understandable you lay out the benefits, the higher chance there is that implementation will be successful.

2. Do Not Overwhelm the End-Users

CRMs have been designed to offer endless features. If you try to throw everything at your employees at once, they are going to get information overload and opt not to use the platform. One way to fix this is by breaking down the introduction of the CRM into manageable pieces. Implement one stage of the CRM at a time. Each time a new stage is implemented, do testing, training, and retraining with your employees.


We cannot overemphasize the importance of fully training your team. A good CRM software is likely to have a steep learning curve. It can be challenging for even tech savvy people to wrap their minds around new CRM software, especially if they are accustomed to using a different platform that has different rules and features.

Some businesses choose to forego intensive training to save money. But this practice leads to low user adoption and increases the likelihood that the implementation of their CRM is going to fail. If you want your team to truly use your CRM, take training seriously.

3. Find the Right CRM Software for Your Needs

Another major challenge is finding the right software for your company’s needs. It can be tempting to go after the cheapest CRM software. However, once you do that, you quickly realize that customizing a CRM to fit your company’s needs is more expensive than just purchasing the right software from the get-go. Other companies make the reverse mistake. They spend a ton of money on an expensive CRM that has a bunch of features that they are never going to use.

The cost of the CRM is important, but it shouldn’t be the primary factor in deciding the right software for your businesses. Remember, the CRM that is perfect for an ISP company may not be perfect for a food service provider. In the last few years, ISP companies discovered that the quality of customer service is important both for attracting new customers, and keeping the ones that they already have, and to guarantee their long-term loyalty they need to invest in good CRM software.

If you purchase a CRM with too many bells and whistles, you are setting yourself up for failure. Having tons of modules and add-ons can seem like a great idea. However, if your company tries to implement all of these at once, your employees are going to get overwhelmed. Remember, a good CRM should help lighten the load and make your interactions with your customers more efficient.

This means that a good CRM should offer you the tools that are actually necessary for your success. The more streamlined you keep your CRM and the more intuitive it is, the better chance there is that your employees will adopt it.

One of the most essential elements of keeping your CRM chugging along is checking and monitoring your workflow automations and APIs. Utilizing third party automation software for essential functions like automated accounting can avoid missed payments and forgetting to send invoices/receipts. 

4. Choose a CRM That’s Going to Add Value to Your Customers

You want your CRM to help you gather customer information to a centralized location. You want to make it easier to access the pertinent information about your customers when you need it. It is tempting to set up your CRM in a way that is best for your company as opposed to setting it up in a way that is best for your customers.

For example, if your customer support department is able to access information that is pertinent to your business but not necessarily what your customers need when they contact you, your CRM will fail. If you feel that your CRM is failing and you don’t know why, it’s recommended that you take a step back and look at how you are using your CRM through your customer’s eyes. You might find that there are some roadblocks that are hindering progress that you can only clearly visualize when you look at it from the outside in.

When you look at all of the tools in your CRM from the standpoint of increasing sales, you start to overlook a lot of the best features that the software has to offer. This software is designed to enhance your relationship with your customers. A well designed CRM needs to start with your customers as the centerpiece and then work out from there.

In order to get the most out of your CRM, you need to have a clear objective. Once you have that objective in mind, you will be able to purchase the right CRM for your business. As you progressively roll out features of the CRM, train your employees and encourage them to adopt the new platform. With time, the CRM will become the center of your business. Little by little, team members will understand how they can get the most out of your CRM.

Nilam Oswal
Nilam Oswal is a Content Marketing Head and Brand Strategiest at SoftwareSuggest. When she's not hard at work, she can be found wandering, reading, and just generally having a good time in life.

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  1. Having read this I believed it was very informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to
    put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

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