6 June 2016

Five mistakes when choosing a CRM

I. CRM is not a panacea

Usually, companies do not seek overall automation, but rather center their hopes on one software product, which often is a CRM system. CRM advertisements claim to double your business or triple the number of your loyal customers.

There are two reasons for this mistake.

First, it is not the system or the number of loyal customers, but your employees, who increase the sales volume. A software suite with CRM core only supports the employees.

Conclusion: a great deal depends on employees, not a system.

Second, advertisements confuse executives: increasing sales volume means increasing production and service, and they expect a CRM system to automate everything, not just fulfill its functions. A conflict occurs after buying a CRM system. It is either considered useless or the company starts adjusting the system by adding some modules (not of the best quality), which should solve the tasks a CRM system is not supposed to solve, such as balance, process, personnel and finances management.

Conclusion: when choosing, the company management has to decide what they expect from a CRM system, and if these expectations exceed the standard CRM functions, they should look for a complex product with CRM.

II. Appealing does not mean effective

The second mistake is also about advertising. Advertisements are generally appealing. Demo versions look great, and if a competent sales rep presents them, they look even greater.

That is the main problem. You can make an IT solution pretty. Depending on how complex it is, it takes from several hours to several weeks. Developers try to make their products appealing, especially before a customer installs it.

Seeing those stylish and thought out to the last detail interfaces, potential customers easily forget the principal questions:

  • Will the system help us solve our tasks?
  • Is it easy to adapt the system to new requirements?
  • Is the system reliable?
  • Are our data protected?

There are more other important questions. Obviously, none of them concerns a system’s appearance and interface.

Conclusion: impression from a demo version and an interface design should not affect your decision. You should choose relying on the principal questions and the requirements to a CRM system.

III. Entrusting IT department with the choice

Since CRM is an IT system, choosing it is often rested upon an IT department, and the company management does not get involved because they are too busy or not interested.

If the head of the IT department or IT specialists have to choose a CRM system, they might not have enough experience in sales to make the right choice. Therefore, when selecting a CRM system, the final decision must be made by the sales manager, since it is in their best interest to implement an effective solution. However, IT department can provide assistance and some technical information.

Conclusion: CCO or sales manager have to participate in choosing a CRM system.

IV. Living for today

Think, what kind of companies are looking for a CRM system? The companies, willing to improve, keep up to date, overcome problems and move to a new level. To pick any type of system, present needs have to be considered.

What does the IT department require? What does the sales department require? What analytics do economists need? What does the management expect from the system? However, few think about the future. What will all these departments need in several years, if the company has set an ambitious goal to develop by 30% a year?

You have to remember about company’s strategic plans. How much will the sales department grow in the next three years? How will the system handle bringing new products to market? Adjusting the system to the changes in the company may cost a lot.

Conclusion: when selecting a CRM system, keep in mind the company’s growth and possibility of adjusting the system to changing processes.

V. Cloud solutions

A trend to use clouds has been present for several years. Now the market offers numerous CRM systems and some of them a hard to distinguish from each other.

While cloud CRM systems have some advantages, such as price, reliability and simple interface, keep in mind, that they also have many restrictions:

  • They have structures, which are difficult to adjust
  • They are oriented at small businesses and have few functions
  • Confidential data are stored on shared servers
  • Internet connection is required for the customers

To sum up, most of the cloud CRM systems are good solutions for small companies. They provide data storage, but cannot improve the sales process and the company itself.

Conclusion: you should choose a cloud CRM only after considering all its pros and cons, which can be unnoticed at first sight.


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Alexander Khodyrev
Localization Specialist