Successful CRM starts with the right vendor partnership

Credit unions are often concerned about how to ensure success during CRM implementation. They are right to have reservations since statistics suggest an average 30-70% failure rate on CRM projects. Ouch! Those are scary stats for any credit union considering such a project. But the good news is, you can make the right choices early on to set your credit union up for success. And, averages are what they are – averages, and not all CRM technology providers are created equal.

Working with an experienced and engaged vendor can help you sidestep common pitfalls that sink many CRM projects. In fact, recent research conducted by Doxim and analyst firm Callahan & Associates indicates that a clear strategy and a supportive vendor are the keys to high adoption and satisfaction with credit union CRM. Read on to learn how the right partner can help set you ensure a successful CRM project.

Start by Setting Goals

If you haven’t quantified what CRM success will look like for your credit union, it can be difficult to ascertain whether your implementation is on track, or whether you need to do some course correction. Do you want to track sales metrics? Customer satisfaction scores? Operational data? And what does your baseline look like, really?

An experienced vendor will be able to assist you in identifying the metrics that matter most to your credit union, so you can get a good sense of the “before and after” of your CRM journey, and plan future fine tuning as well.

Ensuring User Adoption

It’s no wonder that in our recent research, many credit unions leaders cited ease of use as a key requirement for their CRM. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles your new technology has. If your staff won’t use it consistently across the organization, your CRM project has failed to meet expectations.

Your vendor should help encourage adoption not only through training, but also by sharing tips and tricks to increase adoption rates. A holistic adoption strategy can include everything from CRM champion programs to gamification to departmental challenges – ask your vendor what their most successful credit unions have done to make adoption fun and easy.

Managing the Integration Process

For a CRM solution to be genuinely valuable across the whole organization, it needs to integrate with data sources and third-party systems to create a true, 360-degree view of members. Otherwise, you can wind up with one more limited point solution instead of a true central repository of member data.

Your vendor can facilitate the integration process with a pre-built library of common integrations, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Vendors with experience in your industry should also have a defined process for building new integrations, and they can offer guidance on prioritizing integrations, and on tasks (like data sanitization) that should be completed first.

User Groups and Customer Advisory Boards

When selecting CRM, it’s easy to be swayed by the marketing outreach of the largest vendors. But remember to consider the benefits of a CRM with deep roots in the credit union industry as well. An industry-focused CRM may offer touchpoints like user groups and customer advisory boards, at which you can network with your peers who may have the same challenges that are unique to the credit union industry, learn how they are using CRM to best advantage, and even offer suggestions on the product roadmap based on the changes you are seeing in the industry.

Early Vendor Collaboration = More Chance of Project Success

CRM implementation is a complex process, but it shouldn’t be daunting. An experienced vendor has seen the process through before, from scoping to successful adoption. As our clients at Copperfin Credit Union indicate during this interview about their implementation, the key is not to “reinvent the wheel,” and to partner with your CRM vendor early in the digital transformation process.


Early collaboration with your vendor means support throughout your CRM project – as you complete scope assessment and goal setting, during implementation, and beyond, as you roll out the CRM, train your personnel, and ensure adoption. The right CRM vendor will be as vested in your success as you are, so take the time to truly understand your credit union’s needs, review proposals with a fine-toothed comb, and select the right technology partner. The payoff will be worth the effort you put into vendor selection.

Is your credit union starting down the path to CRM? This handy vendor selection checklist might be helpful as you create your short list.

Olga Zakharenkava

Olga Zakharenkava

Olga Zakharenkava is the VP, Demand Marketing at Doxim, a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions for credit unions and wealth management firms. Find out more at www.doxim.com Web: www.doxim.com Details

More News