Please, don’t go to CRM Hell. It’s a very time consuming and expensive place to be. Going to CRM Hell doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a grudgingly slow, very expensive and extremely painful process. The scary part? If you don't know the warning signs, It's incredibly hard to notice you’re going to CRM Hell until it is too late.
In most cases, it’s not until you’ve --
a. Dumped too much money
b. Invested too much time
c. Or experienced too many emotional breakdowns
-- that you’re forced to make a change and get on the right path.
You have to ‘hit rock bottom’ as they say.
I hope this article encourages you to get on the right path before hitting rock bottom.
My goal is to help you identify the warning signs before it’s too late. I’ll also give you actions you can take to get yourself out of CRM hell or avoid it when possible.
Let me tell you a little bit more about just what to expect from CRM Hell; hopefully you’ll pick up a few warning signs so you can identify the descent before it’s too late.
CRM Hell is a place exploding with bloated databases. These databases may contain thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of contacts or “records.” When you’re in CRM Hell, you aren’t sure whether the contacts you have even work at the companies they’re associated with or even if the company still exists.
CRM Hell is filled with duplicate data due to alternate spellings or abbreviated company names. In CRM Hell there are mounds of inaccurate or indecipherable notes worthless to anyone except the person who entered it…two years ago.
In CRM Hell there is a wonderful little demon whose only job - and this is definitely a full time job - is to continually shovel money into a fire pit. This is your money, the money your business has lost from the hours and hours wasted by your employees as they re-enter data into multiple systems and manually generate reports over, and over and over.
And worst of all, CRM Hell is filled with unattended, extremely qualified prospects - decision makers “dying” to purchase your product or service. To top it off, once you finally do stumble across a ripe, highly qualified prospect, they are sitting across the table from your competitor, pen in hand, happily signing their business away to someone who can’t serve them as well as you can.
It’s rough, isn’t it?
Some of you may notice this starting to happen in your business, or maybe you’re in the depths already. It’s important to know that you’re not alone. There is a solution and it’s never too late to get turned around.
There are 4 “sure-fire” ways to secure your spot in CRM Hell. Let’s look at what those are and how you can avoid them. I’ll even explain how to pull yourself back onto the right path if you’ve already started making the descent.
Here are the 4 ways to secure your spot in CRM Hell and what you can do about it:
1. You’ve outgrown your current CRM but haven’t made a change
This is one of the most common reasons you’re being sent straight to CRM hell. A very common story is you started out small and invested in a basic CRM system. You bought it to track activities and manage your sales data. As you added sales, marketing and service people, you implemented policies and procedures (right?) but they were quickly forgotten. There is also a lack of integration between sales, marketing and service. If this sounds like you, it’s time to consider a new CRM.
Consider getting crm consulting and an enterprise-class CRM like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which can be deployed either Online or On-Premise. Ask your
2. Your current CRM doesn’t go out of its way to promote user adoption.
First of all, nothing beats good solid training for employees new to any piece of software. However, having a CRM system that integrates with the applications they use on a regular basis, such as Outlook, Word and Excel, dramatically improves user adoption.
Employees often avoid new software because:
- They feel overwhelmed
- The software is not intuitive and doesn’t work the way your business does
- They think it requires too much technical knowledge
- They don’t see how it directly helps them do their job
Don’t skimp on training. You need to have reference materials that are easily accessible, along with ongoing training and readily available support. You’d be amazed how far the resource library built into a system like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can go when paired with a 90 minute refresher and Q&A every 3 months or so.
All of this can be provided by a
3. Your current CRM is painfully slow, leaving it unused by the majority of your staff
There are a lot of reasons your CRM can be slow. Often it’s due to limited IT resources or a bloated database (usually goes hand in hand with #1.) You may also be using the system in a way it wasn’t intended; for example have you ever tried connecting to ACT! remotely? Yeah, it’s not fun, and in that case I wouldn’t expect your employees to invest too much time entering quality notes either.
This is similar to #1 in that it’s probably time for a new CRM. However, if you’re lacking IT resources, consider a hosted solution or “cloud” solution. Hosted and cloud solutions mean that someone else maintains and provides the resources to host your CRM software. You often lease the software on a per-user, monthly basis. Online solutions are a great fit for companies with limited internal IT staff or if you’d like to avoid the large capital expenses associated with an on-premise CRM solution.
4. Your current CRM Rrequires your employees to re-enter data and manually create reports.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Microsoft Excel is NOT a CRM, nor is it a supplement for one. And if you’re using Excel or Access to manage customer data along with a CRM that doesn’t directly integrate with Excel, I feel your pain.
Maybe you’re not using Excel or Access, but your employees continually pull data from various silos of information and manually input it into another system to manually create the same report they ran last month and the month before. Not only does this waste COUNTLESS hours of your employees' time but you seriously risk a plague of duplication and misinformation within your CRM.
If you want to streamline your business processes and help your team generate more revenue, you know better than anyone what your employee’s highest and best uses are, and I bet for 99% of them it’s not doing data entry. You need a CRM that “plays well with others.”
Invest in a CRM that can be a foundation for the rest of your business. If you already have a document management system, or you’re looking at one in the future, get a CRM that supports integration.
Looking at upgrading your ERP? Get a CRM that integrates with it.
Consider investing in a suite of products by the same company, such as Microsoft SharePoint for document management, Microsoft dynamics GP for accounting, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for sales, marketing and service automation. You don’t need to get them all at the same time but consider what you’ll need in the future and invest in systems that fit into your future plans.
Okay so that may have been a little dark, but I hope you can see that with the right system, proper training and tight integration, you can get a tremendous return on investment from your CRM system. You’ll be able to quickly pull the reports you need in order to make good decisions.
Your employees can automate their time-consuming tasks (and eliminate the redundant ones) and focus on driving new business and keeping your customers happy. And who knows, maybe your employees will actually thank you for a good CRM as opposed to whining about it all the time, but I’m not making any promises.
If you’re looking for a Microsoft