The Top 5 Mistakes Organizations Make When Implementing Blackbaud CRM

January 31, 2019

The key to successful Blackbaud CRM implementations is proper planning. It may feel daunting to coordinate so much preparation, but the time you spend organizing your time and resources before the implementation starts pales in comparison to the time you would spend fixing your mistakes if you hadn’t planned. Think about these five mistakes when starting your preparations.


It’s easy to get really excited about the new features that come with Blackbaud CRM. But it can be difficult to understand the effort of implementing every feature on day one. If you throw every piece of new functionality into your project plan and treat each feature as essential on day one, you may overwhelm your staff, overrun your budget, and leave your initial go live date in the dust. You can have it all, but remember to build out these features over a reasonable time.


We stress keeping everything on your wish list and scheduling it over time, because dropping features that feel too overwhelming can leave you doing too little. This mistake is about leaving everything alone, thinking you can bring your data and your business processes into your new system without any alteration now, and planning to fix things later. This approach commonly results in going live with what amounts to a very expensive version of your old system in your new CRM. You’ll have your same data quality issues to contend with, you will likely have a more complex system in which to do any data cleanup or reconfiguration, and you may find that you spend a year or more fixing what you should have dealt with during your implementation. Don’t waste the opportunity to make things work better by oversimplifying your implementation.


A Blackbaud CRM implementation project takes lots of time, energy, and effort—we all know this. Your staff members are busy with full time jobs already. It’s risky to expect that they can take on the work of an implementation without offloading some of their current responsibilities. Don’t skip this step: put pen to paper and think critically about the amount of hours you’ll allot for training and assessment. Make this mistake and you’ll lose the opportunity to pick where you place your priorities and which staff members will lead your implementation.


It would be great if you could sit down at your computer in front of a brand new enterprise CRM system, and know exactly what to do at all times. Even for your brightest staff members, Blackbaud CRM won’t be as intuitive as a new smartphone app. Don’t make this mistake, or you could end up with users who keep doing things the way they always did: in Excel, in a homegrown Access database, or in Google Docs.


If you don’t have a destination and expected arrival time, you’ll never know if you’re on time or running late.  Take the time to plan, and you’ll never regret it. Anyone who thinks they don’t have enough time to plan is going to regret that in the end. Blackbaud CRM implementations are not successful if they’re not well organized and managed.  Organizations need to be not able to know who is doing what, when it needs to be done, and they need to know the success measures in order to gauge quality and ensure accountability. Forgetting to plan or expecting the project to plan itself will result in heartache.

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