It’s surprising how frequently we hear of midmarket technologists and marketers still battling CRM implementations, upgrades and migrations.

Which provider best integrates with existing infrastructure? How can we ensure data quality? Can users trust accurate representation of the information they log?

Then again, the most important lessons are the hardest ones learned.

The last three years have included more than one marketing automation and CRM migration for our own organization. We understand the challenges of user education and how frequent change can slow the desired pace of progress.

Of the midmarket companies surveyed for this spring’s forums, nearly 30 percent were exploring purchasing or replacing CRM systems.

This operational cornerstone cannot fall into the shadows if an organization is expected to remain competitive.

Marketing and technology executives in the midmarket space are continuously under pressure to support sales growth to drive better digital customer experiences.

Direct mailing campaigns may still offer a level of ROI in some industries, but with smartphones functioning as an appendage for most of the developed world, buyers turn first to online reviews, peer referrals, social media and even a quick scan of a company’s website to consider spending money (or time) on any product or service.

This preliminary research phase is not exclusive to the B2C space, and CRM systems implemented and managed by IT are a critical piece of the marketing puzzle.

CMOs and marketing directors are desperate to get their hands on data sets that can be buried in CRM systems. Sales teams have limited access to critical data while traveling, and IT wastes an inordinate amount of time building and tweaking reports for company leaders who still prefer hard copies.

A CIO at the helm of a global company recently lamented management of no less than five CRM systems, none of which were connected. It’s highly unlikely your associates are speaking the same language if there’s such a resounding lack of continuity across business systems.

There’s the instance of the VP of Marketing who’s partnering directly with her CIO in bringing in the company’s first ever CRM system for a 75 year old manufacturer and distributor of hospital and hotel linens.

One senior marketing director recounted his continued quest for a CRM system after two failed implementations at a southeastern regional home health care agency.

Rarely do marketers have the technical background to determine the best CRM fit for their midmarket companies’ overall needs, but the most savvy among them make an effort to understand users’ needs and ensure proper training.

Jeff Kosiorek spearheaded a CRM optimization shortly after his arrival at Advanced Technology Services as the VP of Marketing. After conducting a maturity assessment for the mobile sales team, he engaged another partner to conduct hands-on training workshops to ensure the company’s Salesforce instance was properly utilized.

No matter the organization’s size or stage of implementation, most common among pain points will be training internal users and ensuring connectivity and continuity across tools. Taking time to evaluate how each division of a company utilizes CRM in different ways is critical to selecting the right tool.