That not all CRM systems succeed is an open secret. A third or more of all CRM installations are flat failures and a significant number of the rest never live up to their promise.
Over and over again, companies make the same mistakes with their CRM systems. These errors are well-known and avoidable. They fall into a few categories. Here are the major things people do wrong with their CRM system.
Choosing the wrong system
There are dozens of CRM systems out there and no two of them are exactly alike. In some cases the differences are minor. In other cases not so much. If you chose a system that is major-league wrong for your business at the very least you’re in for a lot of unnecessary work and expense and more likely the system won’t be able to meet your needs.
Take the time to carefully evaluate prospective systems when making your choices. Be especially careful to choose a system that is the right size for your business and has the capacity to grow with you.
Not involving the end users in the choice.
The end users are the ones who will make or break your system. Be sure to include them in the selection process from the earliest stages.
Users should be involved in all steps of the selection process. They will have opinions and those opinions should be carefully considered in making your choices.
Today nearly all systems support mobile users to one degree or another. If your people do much of their work away from their desks they need a system with strong mobile integration. This includes everything from processes to screens being optimized to work with mobile devices.
This is more than a few add-ons to a desktop system. It requires apps designed from the ground up for mobile use. Don’t settle for anything less.
Not redesigning your processes for CRM.
Once you’ve chosen your system you need to set it up to work as efficiently as possible. This is an ideal time to review all your sales- and -marketing related processes and make sure they are as efficient as possible.
As the saying goes “don’t pave a dirt road”. Examine your process from the very beginning and modify or eliminate the ones that need it. This will take time and effort but the result will be a company that runs more efficiently.
Not integrating your CRM system into the rest of your business.
CRM is an important part of your business, but it doesn’t stand alone. It has to integrate smoothly with everything from your email to your accounting system.
A good CRM system will have strong integration features so it can mesh well with all the other parts of the business. CRM in a silo, be it ever so powerful, is going to fail.
Not keeping it simple.
A CRM system is in use in the middle of business transactions. If it takes too long to fill in the fields or if the system is too slow your people will abandon it for something faster and easier.
Carefully consider your screen layouts and the information you ask for. You don’t want to break the all-important flow between the sales person and customer. Strive for simplicity and minimalism in your user interface.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rick has been involved with computers since the days of punch cards and magnetic drum memories. He's written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.