When people ask what I do, and I start talking about CRMs (customer relationship management systems), I often observe a slight twinge or look of panic, which makes me wonder if somewhere in their history they’ve had a bad experience with a CRM.
Unfortunately, many sales professionals have had a negative encounter with a CRM database. It either doesn’t work the way they want, or it is not available when and where they need it, or it feels like they put a lot of data in and don’t get much useful information out. I wish this was an exception, but I know from personal experience that these perceptions are relatively common.
Here are some reasons why your CRM may evoke four-letter words:
- It is not mobile-friendly.
Many sales people travel from place to place – even if only within a single metropolitan area. They are on the road and need access to their CRM data anywhere. If your CRM database is not mobile-friendly, it will be cumbersome to use outside of the office. Using it is simply a hassle, and productivity takes a hit. Many of the current CRM versions come with a mobile-friendly solution. If you don’t have one, you need to consider CRM alternatives that offer this critical capability.
- It does not have good data.
Just like any other system, garbage in, garbage out. If the right data isn’t there – or the data is dirty or unreliable – then the CRM becomes a questionable tool. Folks will start using another method for managing their contacts, such as their smart phone, Outlook, or Google Contacts. When this happens, the CRM loses credibility and recovery becomes difficult to impossible. A good data migration and clean-up plan can significantly increase the ROI of your CRM investment!
- The CRM was not set-up to match your process.
Perhaps the CRM database does a good job of storing contact data but does not facilitate a robust sales or customer service process. Perhaps you don’t even have a good process to begin with. If that is the case, then the CRM actually demonstrates the dysfunction of your commercial practices. By taking the time to think through your sales and/or customer service process(es) and configuring your CRM to match, you can reinforce the best behaviors, increase margins, and shorten cycle times.
- The user-interface is clumsy and/or not intuitive.
CRMs have come a long way in the last few years. If yours hasn’t been updated to the latest version, then your user interface is probably outdated. Improved views and navigation tools have helped make CRMs better and more productive with fewer clicks and less scrolling.
- Connectivity and integration with other systems is missing.
Sometimes to make a CRM work effectively, it needs to be integrated with other systems that are core to your business processes. If your CRM database is an island – meaning that it is not connected to anything else – then it may require redundant data entry and or other manual processes to complete an ordinary task. System integration can make a world of difference by streamlining and eliminating extra work.
- Marketing lead generation is not integrated with your CRM.
Many sales people complain about not having enough leads. Even if marketing is generating and qualifying lots of leads, follow-up can be challenging if not integrated with your CRM database. It is easy to lose track of prospects and let opportunities fall through the cracks. A good CRM integrated with a robust marketing automation platform is a win-win for all commercial teams!
You may have experience using Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, PipeDrive, Zoho, Act!, or any of the other sales automation tools on the market. They can all have their faults, if they are not set-up properly.
If your CRM is a four-letter word, then you need to determine why. Perhaps you resonate with one or more of the reasons above. TopLine Results offers sales process consulting, CRM consultants, and digital marketing professionals to help you address these issues. Your CRM can and should be a productivity platform that enables your team to be their best. Call or email us today to get the help you need and deserve! 1-800-880-1960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Melanie R. Varin specializes in business process consulting for organizations across many industries. With more than 30 years of business expertise, Melanie focuses on providing clients with winning strategies for improving their sales, marketing and overall business processes from assessment to implementation.
Melanie’s certifications include: Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Silver Certified Microsoft partner and Registered Salesforce partner.