5 Ways to Prevent Your CRM from Killing Sales

CRMs are often thought to be a standard for business, a must-have tool in the sales and customer service functions. But a CRM is only as powerful as the people who know how to use it to their advantage. And if it is underutilized or not implemented correctly, a CRM can cause more problems than they solve, including a diminished customer experience.

The five major pitfalls to avoid are as follows:

  1. Not organizing data
  2. Not being able to find information quickly
  3. The lack of mobile access
  4. Lack of integration with other programs and systems the business uses
  5. Not establishing processes and systems, and not training employees on how to use the CRM.

Luckily, there are solutions to each, which will be covered within the article.

Could Your CRM Be Creating More Problems Than It Solves?

For many companies, the CRM is the lifeblood of their business. But truthfully, your CRM could be killing deals and poisoning your customer’s experience.

To be clear, CRMs generally serve a substantial purpose: they give your business direction; they keep employees productive and organized, and they harbor a treasure trove of valuable customer data that can potentially be used for a healthy bottom line.

But while the reasons for employing a CRM are as varied as the businesses using them, there exists a nearly equal number of ways this single tool can critically wound the customer experience. Beware the five major signs of CRM failure, and learn how to avoid them now so you can avoid a technology meltdown later:

5 Signs Your CRM Is Sabotaging Your Customer’s Experience

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1. Poor Data Organization

Every bit and byte of data you collect about your customer should find its way into your CRM. But none of that information matters if you can’t find what you need when you need it.

Scrolling through years of notes and conversations searching for one key piece of information can take away valuable selling time from your reps. And while your sales reps are tied up in an information scavenger hunt, your customers are kept waiting.

The solution: Find a way to separate the most valuable data from the rest of your information stash in your CRM. Set up user-defined fields to highlight important points; use color coding to differentiate between orders, payments, phone calls, and other data; add customers who meet certain criteria to favorites lists or saved searches. If your CRM limits the way you can view and customize customer data, the organizational benefits alone can warrant the move to a new CRM.

2. Click-Heavy Tasks

One of the biggest benefits of a CRM is how it boosts employee productivity. But it’s important not to confuse productivity with busy work. Nowadays, CRMs can do more than ever before, but with the rise of powerful CRM solutions comes a rise in overall complexity (regardless of how “easy” your particular CRM is supposed to be).

Oftentimes, simple tasks like editing customer information or making a click-to-dial phone call can tack on extra work, like a confirmation step or excess layers of navigation. Bottom line – the more mouse-clicking your employees have to do, the longer it takes to serve your customers.

The solution: If you are in the market for a new CRM, opt for one with simple navigation, with no menu or data field more than a click or two away. Ideally, you can find a CRM that allows you to customize your top level navigation, so each employee can focus on the area(s) they use the most.

If transferring to a new CRM is out of the question, look into customization options you may already have available. If you can eliminate any extraneous steps, not only can it help the customer experience, but also your employee’s.

3. Zero Mobility

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The “Let me get back to my office” excuse is becoming obsolete, thanks to an increased availability of mobile technology. And if you have not joined the mobile CRM technology revolution, you are losing sales and opportunities to those who have.

The solution: Your reps will not always be at their desks when customer needs arise. That’s why it is now crucial – and truthfully, becoming standard for business – to have CRM access anytime your reps need it, no matter where they are. CRMs like Zoho and Base CRM offer all the features you can find on the desktop, without any loss of functionality. If your CRM can’t go mobile, you could be losing more money than it would take for you to switch to a new CRM.

4. No Integration Capabilities

Can your CRM support your email campaign sends and analytics? Can it manage your orders and inventory levels? Does it capture lead form information from your website? If you are having to manage multiple systems and databases, you are setting yourself – and your customers – on the path to a poor experience.

Consider both sides of the coin: First, not having all of a customer’s information in the same place can lead to missed sales opportunities, misinformation, and unanswered questions. On the other side, not having systems that can talk to each other means a lot of time-eating manual entry – and more room for human error.

The solution: Examine how well your current CRM fits in with other business activities, and see where you can bridge the gaps. For instance, if you are using popular services like AWeber or Mailchimp for email marketing, see if your CRM supports an API that can automatically log your marketing stats.

There’s always the option of finding a new CRM that can better support each aspect of your business. But if you don’t want to change your CRM, you may want to consider changing some of the other services you use to ones that will integrate – and hopefully automate – some of your other tasks.

5. Lack of Established Processes and Systems

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The best CRM in the world will fail every time if your people don’t know how they are supposed to use it. Granted, there are tons of features and functions in every CRM, but also know there are right and wrong ways to use them. Likewise, depending on their role, not every feature will matter to every employee.

When your employees are not clear on precisely what they are supposed to do in this massive piece of technology, employee productivity can drop, details can be overlooked, tasks can be forgotten, appointments can slip through the cracks, customer data can go unlogged – and in the end, it’s the customer who ultimately suffers.

The solution: First, figure out exactly what you want from your CRM. Second, map out exactly how your CRM can deliver what you want it to. And finally, train your people exactly how they are supposed to use the CRM – what information is important, what to include in their notes, etc.  Creating standard CRM processes for every employee helps ensure a more seamless, consistent customer experience.

One Final Thought

It’s important to know that not all CRMs are created equal. And while individuality is often considered a good thing, it can make it a little more difficult to know which CRM can best benefit your business.

Unfortunately, it’s too easy for a business to contract CRM failure. The best thing you can do for your business is keep the customer experience at the forefront in everything you do – everything else will fall into place.

About the author: Benjamin Shepardson is the owner of NoStop Content.

 

Category: B2B News
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