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Implementing a new CRM can feel like rebuilding an engine in mid-flight. In this article, we unpack common CRM implementation challenges and the steps you can take to overcome them.

Learning CRM from Buster Keaton

CRM implementation makes me think about Buster Keaton, the greatest stuntman of all time. 

Keaton’s brilliance didn’t stem from his bravery or creativity. It came from his preparation. Just look at the death-defying stunts he performed in the 1926 comedic masterpiece, The General

In one scene, Keaton runs in front of a slow-moving train to clear debris from the tracks. But he encounters a problem — there’s a piece of wood that’s jammed into the tracks. As he pulls at the wood, the train approaches behind him, threatening to run him over. In one white-knuckle moment, he manages to pull the object free just as the train reaches him. When the train bumps against him, he falls backwards and lands safely on the front of the train, still grasping the piece of wood.  

While he seemed to be risking his life, Keaton’s level of preparation ensured that failure was never an option; he was always ready for whatever lay ahead of the tracks. 

Organisations looking to successfully implement a CRM can benefit from Keaton’s example. Especially as rolling out a CRM is a risky process filled with challenges that can derail your business. But these issues can be overcome if you know what lies ahead. With this in mind, let’s explore three common CRM implementation challenges. 

1. Lack of communication around CRM adoption

If you’ve done the research, then it’s easy to get excited about adopting a new CRM. How else are you going to attract and retain more customers? 

Unfortunately, not everyone on your team will see it that way. From their perspective, learning even the most user-friendly system can feel like a barrier that prevents them from doing their jobs. Your teams might even be resistant to new processes if they feel change is being forced upon them. After all, “we were doing just fine before.” This is a major problem — difficulties in adopting CRM can lead to lost deals, increased inefficiency, low morale and slow ROI.The first step to adopting CRM should be to get buy-in from relevant stakeholders. This involves clearly communicating why your new CRM project is necessary to grow your business. 

Importantly, you need to show how CRM can empower your stakeholders to do their jobs. One way to do this is to turn each department head into a CRM champion by explaining how CRM benefits their specific department. These champions can then share the virtues of the CRM project with their teams.  

2. Absence of clearly defined goals and strategy

CRM implementation should be part of a wider strategy to improve your processes and solve specific business challenges. Your marketing efforts might, for instance, generate an overwhelming amount of leads. As your time is split between these leads, only a small number of prospects reach the conversion stage. To increase conversions, your goal might be to use your CRM to capture customer data and score each lead. Your CRM can then assist you in targeting leads that are most likely to convert. The lesson from this example is simple; your goals and strategy should guide how you use your CRM. 


Businesses that don’t use their CRM strategically are unable to maximise the value that these tools provide. Implementing an architecture and strategy phase early in the rollout process is crucial to getting the most out of your CRM. Along with setting your goals, this phase should be used to:

  • Assess potential CRM solutions — first assess your business to determine whether your chosen CRM is suited to your sales workflows and processes.

  • Determine your sales processes and lead management strategy — map your sales and marketing processes to your teams, customer types, and products. This includes identifying what tasks need to be automated and which CRM extensions you require.

  • Defining your information flow — this step determines what data needs to be used or captured, how data reaches the destination, how and when the data is used, and how the data is accessed.

3. Insufficient onboarding and training

Implementing CRM is a disruptive process as your staff face pressure to learn a new system while maintaining their usual productivity. Training your staff to use new CRM is key to minimising this disruption. Additionally, the faster your teams are onboarded, the faster you’ll see value from your CRM. 

But effective training isn’t a one-off activity. It’s a continuous process. When onboarding CRM, expect that your employees will forget a significant amount of what they learn at the first stages of training. Scheduling regular CRM training is necessary to consolidate learning. As your teams become more familiar with new systems, these training sessions are spaces for them to ask questions about features they’re struggling with. 

To ensure that your staff are well-trained, consider hiring CRM implementation specialists. At Huble Digital, for instance, our CRM onboarding service has supported over 250 companies in their CRM implementation process. 

Overcoming your CRM implementation challenges

Earlier in this article, I spoke about how preparation enabled Buster Keaton to perform his incredible stunts. But did you know that Buster Keaton once had a house fall on him? He planned this stunt with absolute precision. Naturally, he walked out of it without a scratch. 

When performing complex tasks like CRM implementation — or having a house fall on you — preparation is crucial to eliminating risk. While many companies successfully implement CRM without outside support, hiring CRM professionals eliminates many implementation risks. These experts understand the challenges of integrating new CRM and they have a wealth of experience in overcoming these challenges. They are the Buster Keatons of the CRM world. 

As a HubSpot Elite Solutions Partner, we offer a suite of CRM implementation solutions. This includes CRM training and rollout planning. To guarantee smooth CRM implementation, our specialists first analyse and evaluate your company’s processes and workflows. This enables them to customise your CRM to your unique business needs. Check out our HubSpot CRM services page to learn more about our service.

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