10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing a CRM

Choosing the right CRM for your business is an investment. And like most investments, it can get a little tricky.

Your CRM should be a valuable asset for your business, rather than a drain on resources. To make that a reality, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of each system and assess which one is the right fit for you.

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However, many business owners seem to jump right in and choose a CRM without thinking twice. Most don't really know what to expect from a CRM, nor do they know how important it is to manage the implementation process properly.

This means that small startups end up with enterprise scale CRM systems they don’t need, and multi-national companies end up with complex systems that nobody has been trained to use.

In this post, I’m going to point out the top ten most common pitfalls to avoid when choosing or using your CRM.

1. Not Focusing On The End User

A lot of businesses will leave CRM implementation in the hands of the IT department, rather than the actual employees who will be using it in the long term – and this is one of the biggest pitfalls around.

The end users need to get involved in the process of choosing your CRM before you’ve even started looking for one. You need to be transparent with your employees and explain why you’ve decided to opt for a new CRM and how it will benefit them.

Your employees are a key part of the CRM implementation, so you have to ask for their opinions and make them feel valued if you want their full commitment. And don’t just ask for their opinions – actually take them into consideration. After all, what good is the latest CRM if none of your staff are willing to use it?

2. Choosing The Wrong CRM

Before choosing your CRM, you really need to have a clear view of where your business it at and where it’s going in the next few years – and you need to take all of that into consideration.

What functionality do you require? Can you add functionality when needed?

Something like Spreadsheet CRM might be fine for now, but will you need to switch to a more comprehensive CRM in just 2 months time? If so, then it might be worth looking at a CRM you can scale with your business as it grows.

3. Focusing On Price

Price is an important factor when choosing your CRM, but it shouldn’t be the primary factor.

What’s most important is whether the CRM system is a good fit for your business.

4. Not Customizing Your CRM

Your CRM system should not be used straight out of the box – as tempting as that might be. It should be customized to reflect your specific business processes – and you must have a clear sales and marketing process in place if you want to see any benefit from your CRM at all.

Also, don’t do this backwards. Establishing your business processes comes first, and then your CRM.

5. Confusing Your CRM With Yoda

Customer Relationship Management is about people, not software, and it’s important to remember that. Your CRM system is an important tool for supporting your business strategy, but it doesn’t work on its own – it needs a human touch.

The people who are utilizing the CRM software are just as important as the system itself, and you need to support them in their training and development if you want to get the most out of your investment.

6. Underestimating The Training Involved

Many businesses think that once they’ve got a CRM in place, it’ll only take 30 minutes of training to get it set up. This simply isn’t true. Implementing a CRM can be a lengthy process and it’s important that you allow for ‘teething problems’ in the first few weeks.

If you don’t set aside time for staff to properly get on board with the new CRM, they will be reluctant to deviate from their regular routines to do so. Remember, the CRM is designed to make their working life easier – not more difficult.

7. Not Tracking Things Properly

Save the trees.

No, seriously. If you’re printing out 20 different reports to bring to a meeting, when they’re already visible on your laptop – that’s bad enough. But if 15 of those reports are completely irrelevant, then you need to rethink the situation.

Here’s the thing – not everything matters, at least not to an equivalent degree.

It’s important to sit down and think about what you’re tracking, and why. For example, in a telesales business where reps are sending out 50 proposals a day – do you really think those proposals should be used as indicators of future success? Figure out what key reports you need and use those, it’ll save you time, money, and your conscience (the trees, remember?).

8. Forgetting About Social

You simply can’t ignore social media integration when it comes to your CRM system. It’s essential to have access to social information on your customers so that you can engage with them and monitor their activity.

This kind of customer insight can help you to improve your customer experience and also make a positive impact on your bottom line.

9. Failure To Adapt

Your business will change and grow (hopefully), and it’s important that your CRM grows with it. Remember to keep tabs on your CRM processes, regularly evaluate how well it aligns with your overall vision, and make adaptations where necessary.

You may even need to upgrade to a new CRM system as your business develops.

10. No Success Metrics

How will you know whether your CRM system is working if you don’t put metrics in place to measure it?

Trying to implement a CRM without clear objectives in mind is a bad call and you must have these in place from Day 1. Think about each business area where the CRM will be utilized and create metrics which you can measure on a regular basis.

Make Your CRM Work For You, Not Against You

Your CRM system should cut down on your workload, provide insights to improve customer experience, and increase your business profitability. If it doesn’t, you’re doing something wrong.

The main thing is to involve everyone, ensure that the CRM benefits everyone, and listen to their concerns. Once you do that, and avoid these 10 pitfalls, you’ll be on the right track.

What issues have you encountered with your own CRM system? Let us know in the comments below.