CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING SALESFORCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
“Innovation needs preparation, collaboration and the light of the soul. Every challenge provides that light - a greater depth of understanding about life and truth.” ― Quote by Amit Ray, Author of Enlightenment Step by Step
Dilip Kumar and Kritivas Adurthy, partners in life and in business are running a boutique condiments company in the South of India. They produce a range of organic chutneys, pickles, preserves from a small scale industrial unit with a small team in a tightly run set-up. Their business began with word-of-mouth referrals and praise from their social circle. As the word of their beautiful products spread, the demand increased and they had to scale up gradually moving to a bigger place, employing more people and increasing the product range. They have now turned their focus on customer delight and how to improve the company performance. One of their close friend’s Tushar Kaushik suggested turning to a CRM (customer relation management) tool which will help in optimising their resources, reduce expenses, and streamline the processes. They were reluctant at first as they are not tech-savvy and could not see themselves or their employees handle tech solutions. Never the less they kept their minds open and consulted extensively with a certified partner of Salesforce (The world’s leading CRM tool in the world). The multiple engagements in the first were baffling but eventually, the realised the process, the implementation challenges, and the blueprint to success. Now, their company thrives on the successful implementation and they are deriving the benefits of the same. Their productivity has increased as has their customer satisfaction levels leading to constant expansion for this small business. Similarly, other small businesses too can gain from CRMs despite the challenges in its implementation & usage.
There are several challenges in implementing CRM for businesses, small or large, just as Dilip & Kritivas encountered on their journey. Some of these are listed are:
The wrong system- Selecting the right system should be done in a slow and well-crafted manner. Consider the pros and cons of the various options in front of you. Think about how you will use the CRM before you commit and don’t be swayed by gimmicks of various companies. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The right system should meet your requirements for the present as well as the future.
High expectations – Expecting your chosen CRM to perform miracles from the very start is a challenge. Adopting the ‘Water-Fall’ method instead of ‘Agile’ methodology for CRM project implementation leads to issues as well.
Poor adoption by end-users - One of the biggest challenges is the resistance of the team members to new technology and ways of doing things. At times of the owners of the small business err by not aligning their CRM with their corporate culture. These can be overcome with in-depth and engaging training sessions for various departments & levels of management as per their requirements, reward policy for proactive users as well as communicating in detail the myriad benefits of using CRMs. It’s when the users realise the benefits of a CRM will it translate into adoption by them.
Integration with existing software - Integrating your existing software, apps, etc into your new CRM to ensure a smooth and easy operation is critical. So it is planning for it. Existing data needs to be migrated and other key systems have to connect. The lack of support from the vendor staff of the existing methods for CRM integration can have disastrous consequences for the company. It can lead to a burden on the employees without successful outcomes.
Finding the right partner - Selecting an implementation partner is a big task as there are many companies in your city offering these services. An inexperienced or a fly-by-night partner/vendor can unleash havoc as many businesses have suffered in the past. Therefore study the various companies’ websites and read up on data pertaining to client reviews, mission statements. Get referrals from others in the industries that are already using a vendor-partner. For the right partner, they should have experienced & trained professionals in adequate numbers and in all the spheres of the salesforce implementation process. Hand holding after the successful deployment of salesforce services is a critical aspect in your search for the right partner.
Lack of business insight – Your CRM strategy can fail if your business is not geared up for analytical insights and actions based on the data collection. If it is only used to collate data and not use it for improving processes due to lack of business insights, it is not a happy situation.
As you can see from the above, there are many challenges but a good partner and a clear vision/strategy will ensure the pain points are minimal & the implementation is a winner.