If you have begun researching CRM, you undoubtedly stumbled upon endless LinkedIn threads and blogs with dozens of opinions and self-promoting CRM partners looking to make a sale. The overload of information is exhausting, especially when you are looking for a simple answer to your questions: Does CRM work?

According to this study, roughly 50% of CRM implementations are considered a failure. That’s a pretty big number to swallow when you are looking at an investment that claims to make your business soar into success. Though this article doesn’t cite reasons for these failures, there are several major reasons that come up time and time again when a company says CRM didn’t work.

1. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.

CRM can be massive, deep systems that take time to understand. The first time you look at a dashboard or menu can be overwhelming. You may have an exact idea of how you want to customize your system to fit your specific needs (if your CRM software allows you to do so) but it’s important to start slow. Learn the basic concepts of CRM, which link goes where, how to find your client records and update, etc., before you try to implementing automated follow-up tasks and workflow into your daily processes. Don’t prematurely take the training wheels off.

2. Support your employees from day one.

Building on basic CRM concepts takes time and guidance. Your CRM partner should provide a support plan and CRM education to get your people using the system correctly and answer questions when you need them. Keeping your CRM partner close will help you avoid frustrated employees and wasted time.

3. Patience will take you a long way.

CRM will make your business more effective and efficient but it takes time, don’t expect miracles out of the gate. Once your team understands how to navigate through CRM, you will start seeing your investment paying off.

4. Ignore the haters

Old habits die hard. It shouldn’t surprise you if more than one employee is not keen on changing things up. Complaints may be abundant, keep your teams focused on using the system and not cutting corners or doing things the old way. After CRM has been a part of your business for long enough people will calm down and continue their work within your CRM protocols.

5. Keep your employees accountable.

If the haters won’t stop hating and start getting into old habits, make them accountable. The best protocol for this situation is simple: “If it’s not in CRM, it doesn’t count.” Apply this to every sale, marketing initiative, customer record, note, document, email and shipment. People will learn very quickly after making their first mistake.

6. Keeps your eyes and mind open.

If you come across a feature in CRM you don’t understand or want to leverage, make a note and contact your CRM partner. You could be missing out on a helpful component for your business. Do you like the basic idea of a feature but wish you it was slightly modified? Chances are your can customize this feature to work with your idea. Take advantage of your investment and make it stronger.

7. Don’t call the game early.

Investments take time to compile interest, the same goes for CRM. Stick to your implementation plan and see it through, giving up early will put you in the same boat as before with a significant loss of time and money.

If you properly research, prepare, educate your team and make your employees accountable, CRM works. CRM is not a magic wand to increase your profits but with the proper steps taken to implement the system, it will make your business more efficient and effective.