CRM: It’s Not About the Product, It’s About the Process.

Here is why your CRM system isn’t working for your business as you thought it would.

We’ve seen it a few times. Okay… we’ve actually seen it a LOT of times. Companies, both small and large, stretch their budgets to invest in a CRM system for their business. They research heavily and select a CRM with the hopes that it will be the technological equivalent of those old rotisserie infomercials on QVC—set it and forget it! While a CRM system can (and should) be an efficient lifesaver to companies, there is a reason why many companies find themselves unsatisfied with their CRM systems.  If your CRM system isn’t meeting your expectations, it may be because you focused on the product instead of the process. Here is how to get your CRM system to work for you!

Why You Shouldn’t Focus on the CRM Product

With the way some CRMs are marketed, they would lead you to believe that they are some magical, unique creature that can uniquely automate and accelerate your business into its next phase of growth. There are many CRM software programs on the market, like Salesforce, Monday, Pipedrive, and Microsoft Dynamics 365, all vying to catch your eye (and your wallet) with promises that they are the right tool for your business.

Certain companies aim to appeal to your IT department, which may be more focused on the nuts and bolts of the system and how easily they can integrate it into your current business programs. Other companies understand that they need to appeal to the sales department with functions that will either: 1) make them more money, 2) save them more time, or 3) make their lives easier. In our eyes, though, most CRMs are like comparing a Ford to a Chevy and a Buick. They each have their own bells and whistles, but at the end of the day each should be able to get you from Point A to Point B in relatively the same manner.

Two Common Ways Businesses Select a CRM:

We’ve noticed two primary ways in which businesses attempt to select a CRM.

Brand Loyalty: Some businesses have married themselves to a certain technology brand. In the same way that Google, Amazon, and Apple vie for our souls… err… control of our personal technology, businesses often find themselves buying products simply because that’s what they’ve always done. And while sometimes this strategy works and the technology is better at “talking” to each other, it is not enough of a reason to feel tied to a certain CRM in your business.

Perceived Value: Cost is obviously a huge driver when it comes to making business decisions, and, understandably, companies want to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to their CRM technology. More often than not, though, we’ve had to consult with companies who either overbought special features (we’re sorry law firm but you’re never going to use that retail inventory feature) or underbought and are left with gaps in automating their business processes.

If there is one key piece of information that we hope you’ll take away from here today, it’s this: You need a CRM that fits your process. You should not try to adapt your process to fit a CRM.

How to Choose the Best CRM for Your Process

The best CRM for your business is not actually a specific product. The best CRM for your business is whichever one you’ve purchased which is customized to fit your business processes. Your CRM should be built around how your organization operates to make your processes flow more efficiently. After all, if you’re looking to get a CRM it’s usually because you’ve already experienced success in what you do and are seeking a way to handle rapid growth or just tighten up the processes you already have going. A CRM is not designed to fix a broken process; it’s designed to make a good process work even better.

With that said, if you’ve already purchased a CRM system that isn’t living up to its promises or your expectations, we may be able to help you. If you’re looking to purchase a CRM system and aren’t sure which one is right, we can help there too. Our best advice is to set up a meeting with The Big Three—a decision-maker from sales, a decision-maker from IT, and us. More people than that, and it becomes too many cooks in the kitchen to figure out exactly what CRM functions you need. Fewer people than that, and it becomes an awkward conversation of us telling knock-knock jokes to ourselves and groaning at our own punchlines.

Make Your CRM Work for Your Business

For a CRM to work, you need to have a consistent process. This may seem like an obvious point, but so many businesses, especially in periods of rapid growth, reach a point where they lose processes in an attempt to just get the job done. If you do not have a process, then there is nothing to automate.

Feel free to read that last sentence again.

So, how do you know if you have a process? One of our favorite ways is by asking two to three people who do the same job what their process is. If they follow the same steps, then congratulations! You have a process! Document it and move on to the next process to evaluate.

If, when asking employees their process, you discover that they have their own way of doing things, then it’s imperative you decide on which of those ways is the best to do the work and solidify it as a process. This may create some struggle during the adoption phase of the process, but it will save time and result in greater compliance once you’re ready to bring in a CRM system.

Once you have a thorough and documented understanding of your business’s processes, you’re ready to bring in a CRM to automate them. It’s worth repeating that the best CRM will be one that is built to perform YOUR business’s processes. Your business should not be trying to conform to the box of what a CRM has to offer.

How P2 Automation Serves You Better

P2 Automation is a little different than your average automation bear. We are a tech company, but our focus always has been and always will be on the design of your software. The goal of our software development process is to create a more streamlined version of your business, not change your business to fit what we offer.

Contact us today to set up your free strategy session, and let’s discuss how P2 Automation can help automate your small business and grow to the next level.

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