How to assess the success of your CRM implementation

Companies spend on average 13 weeks selecting a CRM vendor and there are paths to failure. Much is written about the difficulty of implementing a CRM but very little on how we decide if an implementation has been a success or a failure. In this article, we’re going to take a look at four ways to quantify the success of your CRM implementation project.

1. Three quick questions

Define what your CRM should enable you to achieve and distill this into three questions, for example:

  • Can you produce a report that shows your pipeline?
  • Can your sales team quickly and easily identify their most leveraged tasks for the day?
  • Has your revenue increased in line with expectations?

At set points in the implementation process, you should come back to these three questions and assess whether they are being satisfied.

2. Key stakeholder engagement and happiness

Decide on the key stakeholders in the CRM. This will be a mix of regular users like sales reps, project managers, and perhaps executives. You should ask those people a few questions to gauge whether the CRM is performing as required, such as:

  • Has the CRM implementation helped you perform in your role? Is this more or less than you anticipated?
  • What is one strength of the CRM?
  • What is one weakness of the CRM? 
  • What would you change about the CRM? 

3. Adherence to budget

CRM implementation plans are notorious for costing more than expected. This is an interesting proxy for the success of a project. Simply being over budget doesn’t necessarily mean the implementation was unsuccessful but it does indicate the original plan was wrong.

You believed the implementation would cost x and it cost y – it’s important to determine why the implementation cost more. A positive reason is that you uncovered a new process that improves the utility of the CRM and is well worth the additional cost. A negative reason is that you achieved what you intended (or less) but the cost was more.

If it’s the latter, it points to poor planning and that’s a key factor in whether the implementation was a success. You would treat time the same as budget – a lot of extra time for extra value is bad news.

4. Support requests

One way to track the success of something is to look at what is going wrong. Police forces across the world are judged on the crime rate – the absence of crime suggests a police force is performing well and an abundance of crime means they need to get down and manage those mean streets.

You can look at the CRM implementation project in a similar vein, set up a formal process for users to track questions, concerns, queries, and problems, and track how much activity you have. Over time you should see a decline in these issues as users become integrated into the system.

The sure sign of a poor implementation process is the level of tickets remaining constant or increasing after implementation.


CRM implementation is hard to measure and there isn’t a definitive metric. The best advice is to look at the wider picture and make a judgment. But remember, a poor initial implementation can be fixed so don’t be disheartened and don’t settle for a CRM that doesn’t give you what you need.

The investment of time and energy will reap rewards.


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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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