9 Challenges of CRM Implementation & How to Dust Them Off


Does it look like there is no end to your challenges in CRM implementation?

CRM implementation challenges are some of the main reasons for CRM projects failing to achieve their objectives.

Low-budget and mid-market CRM users are often tasked with implementing CRM systems on their own, so it is understandable that they have challenges to face during the implementation process.

CRM implementation challenges include convincing your colleagues to adopt the changes, handling data security, moving away from old software, finding the right CRM for your business needs and budget, and so on.

In this blog post, we will talk about nine common challenges in CRM implementation, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. We will also share proven solutions to each of these CRM implementation problems.

9 CRM Challenges and How to Dust Them Off

  1. Convincing Your People to Change
  2. Getting Approval from Management
  3. Handling Data Security
  4. Leaving Favored Programs and Software Behind
  5. Dealing with the Time and Cost of CRM Implementation
  6. Trusting the Technology
  7. Choosing the Wrong CRM
  8. Lacking Scope Clarity
  9. Managing Integrations

Today, CRM software is one of the biggest software markets globally and the growth isn’t slowing down. In fact, CRM implementation is expected to amass over $80 billion in revenues by 2025.

One of the main reasons for the growth of CRM is accessibility. Business owners need real-time access to the latest customer data, and cloud-based CRM systems are becoming a one-stop solution for this need.


However, find the right CRM and implementing it may not be the easiest thing to do, although it’s certainly the right thing to do.

So, let’s take a look at nine challenges of CRM implementation and how to handle them.

CRM Challenge #1: Convincing Your People to Change


Perhaps you think the toughest challenges of CRM implementation will be technology-related. If so, you’d be wrong.

The technology can be intimidating, but out of all the CRM problems you’ll face, the one that will give the most trouble will be your 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 solution and change their ingrained practices. Old habits die hard!

Whereas some people will embrace innovation and change, others will resist. While a CRM system 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 new technology.


Quite often, the reason that people struggle with migration to cloud-based tech solutions 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 functionalities, 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, an in-depth knowledge base, and demo videos to help streamline CRM implementation at your business.

Related blog: 12 Best Practices to Improve CRM User Adoption

CRM Challenge #2: Getting Approval from Management


You may be able to motivate your team, but 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 would benefit from moving to a fully integrated CRM system, but the C-suite members may need 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 processes will need to be addressed first.


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.

To persuade senior executives to give CRM implementation a chance, employees must get the right message across.

In other words, you need to convey how exactly CRM implementation will add tangible value to the company, both financially, and in terms of 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 enhancement, as well as the potential to leverage data for greater results.

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

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

Read also: Can Your Small Business Survive Without CRM? 

CRM Challenge #3: Handling Data Security



According to Entrepreneur, the Big Data industry is going to be worth $77 billion by 2023.

In terms of your business, 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.

The challenges of customer relationship management can become incredibly amplified if you happen to lose or mix up any customer data, so this apprehension is understandable in CRM implementation.


This comes down to choosing the right CRM system.

You want a unified, cloud-based CRM system that will make data importing easy and intuitive, allowing your company to make a smooth transition to the cloud with just a few clicks. You also need to find a CRM system that users have already tried and loved, so you know that you can trust them with your data.

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 an integrated all-in-one CRM software like EngageBay, all your teams will be able to leverage the latest customer and business data to excel at cross-channel marketing, which enables you to offer a better customer experience.

CRM Challenge #4: Leaving Favored Programs & Software Behind

Image Credit: EngageBay


Next up on our list of challenges in successful CRM implementation is the potential disruption to your existing business processes.

Even if you manage to convince everyone to get on board with your new digital culture, there still remains the sizable 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 perceived risk may be that nobody will get what they want.


Nowadays, CRM implementation doesn’t mean giving up your existing software programs. Instead, it offers your company a way of bringing them all together.

With a unified CRM solution, you can use various tools as integrations, allowing each team to continue using their preferred software with the new CRM system.

EngageBay offers over 1,000 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.

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

Image Credit: Diceus


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 huge bank of information to move.

Also, people need time to get used to the new CRM solution. It may be weeks or even months before some members of your workforce are 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.


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 implementation 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 successful CRM implementation. Look for opportunities to save money by moving away from your rarely-used in-house platforms 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. At EngageBay, we never charge business owners for migration, and we love to guide all our new users throughout the journey.

CRM Challenge #6: Trusting the Technology

Image Credit: SuperOffice


Before you can finally put your trust in your new CRM, you need to know that the infrastructure is something you can rely on, and that it is scalable enough to support the growth plans of your business.

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 business progress, making this one of the biggest CRM problems you can face.


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

  • How does this CRM deal with outages or crashes?
  • What mobile optimizations does it have?
  • How is the customer support from this CRM brand?

Mobile CRM is a big priority nowadays, and you should keep that in mind when considering CRM implementation.

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 software that can cater to your specific needs in the current digital landscape. Once you do that, you will have the foundation to grow your business with a truly successful CRM implementation.

Related blog: 12 CRM Growth Hacking Ideas a Small Business Needs

CRM Challenge #7: Choosing the Right CRM


This is one of the toughest challenges of CRM to overcome. We have seen many people pay as much as $20,000 for the wrong CRM software, only to find them unhappy with it.

Why are they unhappy?

Because they soon find out that it’s not a good fit for their company. However, the idea of replacing it and shifting to a new CRM system scares them — once bitten, twice shy. 

Choosing the right CRM is half the battle won


Carry out a very meticulous selection process before you decide on which CRM software to implement. After all, choosing the right tools is crucial for any company’s success.

Avoid rushing your CRM implementation process. Define your workflow clearly, prepare all the CRM requirements in advance, and consider who all will use the system before you zoom in.

CRM Challenge #8: Lacking Scope Clarity


One of the biggest CRM problems is not having scope clarity, which also results in budget overruns.

You don’t commit adequate time and budget to requirement discovery, or end up underestimating integration effort.

Plus, many companies fail to anticipate the quantity and quality of data to be migrated to the new CRM.

There are also chances of underestimating end-user resistance and major costs such as training costs, infrastructure costs, customization, and implementation costs.


Conduct workshops to identify requirements in detail and adopt agile project methodology that allows early detection of these CRM problems.

An agile project methodology is an iterative approach that focuses on continuous improvements and incorporating feedback with every iteration.

CRM Challenge #9: Managing Integrations


Although several prospective CRM users understand what benefits a CRM system has in store, others are apprehensive about the potential gaps in the system.

Some users are concerned that CRM implementation will not offer the integrated functionality they need.

As a result, they think it will create gaps in collaboration with marketing, lead generation, communication management, ticketing, internal communication, and other crucial business functions.


Modern CRM systems offer integration capabilities that provide you with an ever-growing productivity toolbox.

You can use these integrations to transform your basic CRM into an efficient and robust sales tool.

Before buying a CRM system, think about all the integrations you might need. This decision will mainly depend on the design of your sales process.

For instance, if you want seamless integration between your sales and marketing processes, you may want to prioritize MailChimp, Zapier CRM, and WordPress integrations.

Read also: Customer Lifecycle Management (How To) Guide for Small Business Owners


There you have nine key challenges of CRM implementation that carry grave consequences if handled poorly. These CRM problems can cost your business a lot of time and money. Also, you may lose the trust of your employees and your customers.

However, none of these CRM challenges is insurmountable, and any smart business owner or manager can dust them off with a little bit of effort and planning.

CRM systems aren’t just for large enterprise businesses anymore. What was initially a cost-prohibitive technology has now become affordable for any company, regardless of size.

For example, the Bespoke Collection, a wine producer and lifestyle brand based in California, uses CRM technology to enjoy an in-depth look into its customers beyond the frequency of their visits, and monetary value.

Bear in mind that like any major transition in business, CRM implementation takes time, effort, patience, and some investment. However, the benefits of overcoming common CRM problems are well worth the effort.

CJ Haughey

CJ Haughey cares about storytelling and enhancing the voice of a brand. He writes for EngageBay about marketing trends and the latest updates in CRM tech.

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