The most important aspect of CRM implementation is considering whether or not you’ve found a solution that fits well within your business model. Repeat: the most important consideration; not the only one. Choosing the right solution is only the beginning of your CRM journey.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of new software especially if you’ve got acute business issues and think that it’ll be your saving grace. But if you don’t pay careful attention to the many ins-and-outs of CRM, you may end up causing more problems than you originally intended to solve.

To help you make the most of your CRM investment and minimize the amount of stress associated with implementation, we’ve put together a list of the 5 most common CRM mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong CRM

We’ll start with the most important aspect of CRM implementation: making the right choice. With so many solutions out there, it’s inevitable that some will be a better fit for your business than others.

We recommend following a simple, five-step process for choosing the right CRM for your business.

First, determine your most important needs: the ones that are directly tied to your business goals. Common considerations to make include ease-of-use, mobile responsiveness, lead & pipeline management, support functionality, marketing automation, and strength of reporting. Each of these areas can be tied directly to improving certain aspects of your business and will help you narrow down what’s most important in a new system.

Next, identify your available budget. This one is easy. Be realistic; don’t fall victim to ‘shiny object syndrome.’ After you’ve identified what you can realistically afford, do your research by checking out discussion boards, third-party review sites, talking to your employees about their core needs, and discussing solutions with potential vendors.

Once you’ve done a fair amount of research, make a short list of the vendors that can meet your needs. Finally, sign up for a few demonstrations to get a real picture of how these systems will impact your daily operations and help you reach your goals.

Follow this five-step process, and you should have a pretty good idea about which CRM is right for your business.

Mistake #2: Neglecting your data

Neglecting your data

Though we’ve seen it evolve tremendously over the years, CRM, at its core, is a customer database. The software is only as good as the data you put in. Failing to place importance on the task of cleaning up your data before CRM implementation is a big mistake.

When you start with inaccurate or incomplete information, you’re asking for trouble. For example, think about how your sales team might be impacted by inconsistent prospect data.

Perhaps there are multiple decision makers within a single organization, but separate records have been created for each of them. This could lead to two salespeople working the same deal without knowing it. Or maybe one salesperson is making notes on multiple records; they become unorganized and lose track of where they are in the sales process. And what about when SDR reaches out to a ‘new’ prospect that’s already being nurtured by a salesperson?

Each scenario leads to the same outcome: a prospect that doesn’t buy because they’re confused and frustrated after working with an unorganized sales team. Your sales team is certainly not the only part of the business that will be impacted by bad CRM data, but they might feel the biggest impact.

When you’re implementing CRM for the first time, invest the time to go through your data. Talk to your sales team about their deals. Find out who’s no longer a customer. Make sure your accounting records are correct. Get your production information in order.

It may be one of the least exciting aspects of preparing for CRM implementation, but cleaning up your data is also one of the easiest ways to minimize issues in the future. Take the time to make it happen; you won’t regret it.

Mistake #3: Failing to promote user adoption

Low user adoption is probably one of the biggest frustrations upper management has with CRM. After investing time and money implementing a new system, they often find their employees just aren’t using the software.

When CRM adoption is low, you’re likely managing two or more data sets, which leads to more time spent accomplishing simple tasks and decreased efficiency. It can also lead to less tangible problems like low morale, because employees may feel like their being forced to use something they never wanted in the first place. And therein lies the answer...

What’s the best way to make sure your staff is using CRM?

Make them part of the decision-making process. As we mentioned above, part of your research should involve talking to your employees and understanding how you can leverage CRM to make them more efficient. You do this by first understanding their current issues and individual needs, then explaining how the system will benefit them, as well as your business as a whole.

Goals become a lot easier to accomplish when they’re shared by everyone in your organization.

Mistake #4: Forgetting about integrations

Forgetting about integrations

Ultimately, your CRM should be able to handle your most crucial business processes, in addition to being a solution for areas where your business is lacking in efficiency and productivity. However, you’ll likely still need to incorporate a few additional tools. It’s important to identify what those are and ensure they’ll play nicely with your new system.

As CRM is an essential tool in helping you understand your customers and how to best serve them, it’s important that your system captures all of the data from customer interactions. Two common CRM integrations to consider are email and social media.

Ensuring your emails are being logged automatically, for example, is a great way to make sure teams across your organization have full visibility into your customers’ relationships with your business.

The importance of social media cannot be overstated. Information you collect from customers via social media adds huge value to your customer relationships because it helps you actively engage with them and collect crucial data to help foster long-term relationships.

Make a list of the current tools you use to interact with and collect data from your customers. This will help you pick the CRM by ensuring the necessary integrations are available. And when it comes time for implementation, you’ll know exactly which tools need to be connected to your new system.

Mistake #5: Not going all in

If you’re going to do it, go all the way. It’s common for businesses to invest in CRM, only to end up using the system as a fancy customer database. But CRM is so much more than that. It’s an invaluable tool when it comes to helping you understand your customers and serve them better, increasing employee efficiency, and ‘leveling up’ your sales team.

So how can you avoid being another one of ‘those’ businesses?

First, by following all the steps we’ve already outlined. Make research and planning a priority so you can choose the right system. Invest time in cleaning up your data. Promote user adoption (and do it early). Don’t forget about important integrations.

Once you’ve followed those steps, here are some additional tips to help you get the most value from your CRM.

Make your system a crucial part of your business processes. For example, order fulfillment shouldn’t be possible without completing a sequence of steps within your CRM. In other words, there should be checks and balances that only exist within the system. When your employees don’t follow the process, orders don’t get fulfilled, and customers get angry.

But order fulfillment is just one example of incorporating CRM into your business processes. The bottom line: when it comes to making sure your employees are getting things done, don’t bark orders or make threats. Simply make your CRM something your employees need to get their job done. In order to do that, you need to invest in proper training.

Your CRM vendor should be able to provide a host of resources to help get your team up to speed before implementation. Arm your employees with the knowledge and resources they need to make the transition into life with CRM, and you’ve already given yourself an advantage in terms of getting a return on your software investment.

Finally, be mindful that CRM isn’t always the answer. You should be implementing CRM when you’ve identified specific problems that CRM has a track record of solving. Lost data, unproductive sales processes, poor customer support, too much manual processing: these are just a few areas where CRM shines.

If you feel overwhelmed by the problems in your business but you haven’t narrowed down exactly what they are, don’t think that you can simply implement CRM as a solution. It’s a strategic decision that requires careful planning.

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Posted at 28 Feb, 2019

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