The challenges of using a CRM

The benefits of using customer relationship management (CRM) software are numerous. With this tool, companies are able, among other things, to deepen their knowledge of themselves. This in part explains why companies seem compelled to adopt CRM or even consider the implementation of a newer CRM system. But it must recognized that even with the best intentions, this kind of tool isn’t always properly optimised and obstacles that were not previously suspected or may have even been underestimated, can appear.

The lack of cooperation from the sales team

The sales team sulks at your CRM. Yet often, one of the elements that enable you to understand the relevance of CRM for your business comes from your sales representatives. As a manager, you come to realize that your sales representatives are the only ones who really know your customers, and that, in that respect, your entire business hangs by a string, so to speak. Your sales team’s cooperation thus becomes major issue. There are various reasons for the lack of cooperation from your representatives. Some may justify themselves by saying it is a poorly designed tool which adds to their tasks, some may simply lack training, etc. But some causes are deeper and are more related to the perception of a CRM primarily as a monitoring tool. To counter these problems, it’s important to involve your representatives in the development of this solution. For example, some companies choose certain representatives to be super users and ambassadors of the solution with the rest of the sales team.

Data entry

Data is the essence of any CRM. Its presence and quality will maximize the potential of the tool or, will destroy it. Data is the foundation of the reports that CRM generates. These reports are the basis of the analyses and strategic decisions that a company takes, such as determining segments

  • Data is incomplete or absent

First, make sure there are no misunderstandings on data input. Are employees informed of the data they need to enter? Are the fields sufficiently highlighted on the form? Is the name of the field clear to everyone? Are the field values appropriate? These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed. Finally, keep in mind that not all data is equal in terms of importance. Essential data, such as the dollar amount of opportunities for instance, can be a mandatory field. Keep in mind however, that it is important to use mandatory fields sparingly.

  • The quality of CRM data

In this age of technology integration and multi-channel exchanges, system integration makes sense. Generally, companies quickly choose to link the forms on their website, in their email platform and in their ERP. This means data gets inserted directly into pre-defined CRM fields. However, you need to establish a procedure to prevent the massive influx of poor quality data into your CRM. You could, for example, filter the data from your website by having someone identify the qualified leads and pass them along. Anyone who downloads your content is not necessarily a qualified lead, either from a marketing (MQL) or, sales standpoint (SQL).

In conclusion, a CRM is only a tool. Just having it doesn’t solve all your problems!

Certainly, information sharing across a company generates medium and long-term revenues and savings. But, this should not obscure what it costs to implement a CRM solution, its adoption by users and its maintenance. A CRM must be seen as a capital investment for the company. And as it often happens, the visible tip of the iceberg is no indication of what’s submerged!


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