When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) and moving to the cloud, many business owners walk a line between confusion and fear. The perceived challenges of CRM platforms can be enough to deter companies from making the switch at all.

And yet, we’re in an era where standing still isn’t an option. The cloud is widely regarded as a vital part of business in the future.

Furthermore, 85% of decision-makers at enterprise-level companies believe their businesses must make serious progress with digital transformation in the next 24 months or else they will fall behind the competition and suffer financial losses.

In this article, we’ll explore the challenges of CRM implementation to understand what you may encounter during a transition to the cloud.

More importantly, we’ll show you how to overcome these obstacles to ensure your business thrives with its CRM service.

6 CRM Issues and Challenges to Watch Out For

You don’t need to move to the cloud to understand the challenges of customer relationship management. However, when you’re considering the switch, the prospect can suddenly magnify all these aspects of the business.

Everything from how you manage your time, costs, people, and data will be impacted, which can pose serious trouble for companies that aren’t adequately prepared.

Thankfully, cloud migration isn’t as daunting as it may first seem.

Let’s take a look at six challenges of CRM implementation you can expect, and learn how to handle each of them.

Challenge #1: Convincing Your People to Change

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Perhaps you think the toughest part of CRM implementation will be technology-related.

You’d be wrong.

The technology can be intimidating, but out of all the CRM issues and challenges you’ll face, the one that will give the most trouble will be the people.

In a startup with a young workforce, the transition will be relatively easy. However, it’s an entirely different ball game when faced with the task of convincing older staff members to learn how to use a CRM service and change their ingrained practices. Old habits die hard!

Whereas some people will embrace innovation and change, others will resist. While a CRM service can help break down silos in your organization, the mere suggestion of overhauling how everything is done in your marketing, sales, and customer service teams may actually cause divisions among your workforce.

Some employees may worry that their job is under threat or lament that the company is losing its human touch, while others may harbor concerns about getting to grips with the technology.

Solution

Quite often, the reason that people struggle with cloud migration is that the company doesn’t have a clearly defined strategy for the changes ahead.

For a transformation like this to be a success, managers must nurture a culture of learning and digital innovation. This needs to be encouraged from the top-down. By learning as a team to help one another upskill on the new processes and CRM features, your company can move forward as one.

Soon enough, even the more reluctant team members will see how the benefits of CRM implementation can help the company thrive in the digital age.

EngageBay has a dedicated support team, as well as an in-depth knowledge base, and demo videos to help streamline CRM implementation in your business.

Challenge #2: Getting Approval from Management

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What happens when the resistance comes from the top?

Getting approval from management is one of the biggest challenges of CRM implementation. The sales team may think the company could benefit from moving to the cloud, but the C-suite members may take some convincing.

Ultimately, they’ll have the authority to make it happen, but their concerns about technology, pricing, or huge disruptions to the existing business will need to be assuaged.

Solution

Whereas management can overcome resistance in the workforce by instilling a digital culture, the same tactic will not immediately garner success when the workforce has to convince management. In fact, that made only be met by more reluctance.

Instead, managers need to understand the benefits of a CRM service. To persuade managers to give CRM a chance, employees must speak in terms that managers care about. In other words, you need to prove it adds tangible value to the company, both financially, and in regards to overall performance.

Sales teams can highlight success stories from competitors, showing how it can boost the bottom line.

Marketers may point to the benefits in brand awareness and image, as well as the potential to leverage data for greater results.

Customer support teams can explain that a CRM service will allow them to build stronger relationships with customers, and reduce the time spent dealing with complaints or service issues.

When managers have a clear understanding of what the company can gain in terms of profits, people, and productivity, they are more likely to give the green light.

Challenge #3: Handling Data Security

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According to Entrepreneur, the big data industry is going to be worth $77 billion by 2023. In terms of your business as a single identity, the data you have about your consumers and the past-performance of marketing and sales efforts is a crucial component for all future operations. Your company data is arguably the most valuable asset you have.

Therefore, anything that compromises this data is bound to be a concern. Many people prefer to keep their data on a local server, so the idea of moving it all to the cloud can be a sticking point.

As onboarding to a new CRM platform will involve gathering and transferring vast reserves of data, you need to be sure you have a system you can trust. There are enough challenges of customer relationship management without losing your treasured data to a technological mishap.

Solution

This all comes down to choosing the right CRM service. You want one that will make data importing easy and intuitive, allowing your company to make a smooth transition to the cloud with just a few clicks.

Data is so integral to business today, and all your teams can tap into its raw potential. With a top CRM platform, everyone will find it easier to store, organize, and track data, so that they can get actionable insights and put them to good use in their sales or marketing efforts, or to offer a better level of customer service.

Also, with a platform like EngageBay, all your teams will be able to use data to excel at cross-channel marketing, which enables you to offer a better customer experience.

Challenge #4: Leaving Favored Programs and Software Behind

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One challenge of using CRM is the potential disruption to your existing processes. Even if you manage to convince everyone to get on board with your new digital culture, there still remains the sizeable feat of actually changing how things are done.

Baby boomers may cling to email, and millennials may worry about having to give up their favorite project management apps. While the workforce may be ready to compromise, the consensus may be that nobody will get what they want.

Solution

Nowadays, CRM implementation doesn’t mean giving up all of your existing programs and processes. Instead,  it offers your company a way of bringing them all together. With a unified system, you can still use various tools as integrations, allowing each team to continue using their preferred services as a plug-in to the main CRM service.

EngageBay offers over 1000 integrations through its partnership with Zapier, which allows you to use a lot of popular enterprise tools, including:

  • Asana
  • ClickUp
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Gmail
  • HubSpot
  • Mailchimp
  • Microsoft Office
  • Salesforce
  • Shopify
  • Slack
  • Sumo
  • WooCommerce

As a result of this immense versatility, you can have seamless integration across your organization, which helps create a work atmosphere that thrives on strong communication and close collaboration.

Soon enough, this integration will deliver an uptick in key metrics across the board, from engagement and lead generation to sales and customer satisfaction.

Challenge #5: Dealing with the Time and Cost of CRM Implementation

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Remember that digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight.

Although the process is relatively simple, it still takes some time and a lot of bandwidth to move data, especially if you have a lot.

Also, people need time to get used to the new CRM service. It may be weeks or even months before some members of your workforce are entirely comfortable tackling common CRM issues and challenges by themselves.

All this time that you invest in CRM implementation takes away from running your business, and of course, it entails additional costs for technology, training, and maintenance.

In March 2019, Harvard Business Review reported that $1.3 trillion was spent on digital transformation last year, and about $900 billion of that was ultimately wasted.

You may wonder if it’s worth the hassle.

Solution

Just like any other major project in marketing or sales, you can crunch the numbers in advance to figure out the potential return on investment (ROI) that a move to a CRM platform can generate.

Research indicates the ROI of CRM services is very positive, yielding almost $9 for every $1 spent, and slashing labor costs by 40%.

You should keep your long-term business goals in mind when estimating the costs of moving to the cloud. Look for opportunities to save money by moving rarely-used in-house services first.

By doing your due diligence, you can devise a strategy that maximizes productivity throughout the transition. This will ensure expenses are kept to a minimum and help you conduct training and data transfers in a time-efficient, cost-effective way.

Challenge #6: Trusting the Technology

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Before you can finally put your trust in the cloud, you need to know that the infrastructure is something you can rely on, and that is scalable as your company grows.

Not only must it be a secure place for your data, but the software must be fully-equipped for everything your business needs.

If it’s not, your business operations could be hit in a big way, and constant disruptions may have a negative impact on customer experience.

It may even tarnish your brand reputation and hamper your ambitions for growth.

Solution

Don’t dive into a CRM service without thinking. Do your research to get the full picture of what it offers. Ask important questions, such as:

  • How does it deal with outages or crashes?
  • What mobile coverage does it have?
  • How is the customer service?

Mobile CRM is a big priority nowadays, and so you should keep that in mind when considering cloud migration. SuperOffice reports that the rise of mobile CRM is attracting more companies to make the switch, and it is also helping businesses generate more sales.

You should look for the best CRM service that can cater to your specific needs in the current digital landscape. After that, you will have the foundation to grow your business in the cloud.

CRM Implementation is Worth the Trouble

So, as you can see, the challenges of CRM pose real problems for business owners. These problems are complex and carry grave consequences if handled poorly.

Poor management or the lack of a solid strategy can cost your business a lot of time and money. Also, you may lose the trust of your employees and your customers.

With all that being said, the daily challenges of customer relationship management can be conquered when your organization works together as a unit.

And that is exactly why a CRM service is such a great idea.

Like any major transition in business, CRM implementation takes time, effort, patience, and money. However, the benefits are well worth the effort.

Together, your team can overcome all the CRM issues and challenges here and plenty of others. In the end, the business will be much more effective and efficient. Ultimately, that’s great news for your brand, your employees, your customers, and your bottom line.

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