5 Reasons Your CRM Isn’t Working

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Michelle has been an Act! Certified Consultant since 1999, and an Act! fanatic long before that. Whether implementing an Act! solution for a company with 1 user or 150, the heart of every project is to solve the business need. You can find more by Michelle at 3Leaf CRM.

Sales people are often the first to blame their CRM for things. 

A common narrative is, “Our CRM is awful, it’s so slow!"  Or, “Our CRM is awful, do they want me selling or entering data?!”  Or our personal favorite, “Our CRM is awful, I just hate it!

We’ll grant the sales people some leeway here.  CRM doesn’t always work for you.  How does your team feel about your CRM?

If your sales team grumbles about your CRM, here are some potential reasons. . . and ways to improve!

1. It’s not the right CRM – When you test drive a car, you buy your car because it’s a fit. If you have five kids, you likely aren’t looking at the 2 door sports coupe.  If you are single and love to drive, you’ll steer clear of the mini-van.  Your CRM solution has to fit.  Far too often we see sales managers choosing their CRM system for all the wrong reasons.  Maybe it’s what they used in a previous position, or it’s what they’ve heard is the best.  Spend some time understanding your sales needs.  There are experts out there – like 3Leaf and the Act! Certified Consultant channel– that can walk you through understanding what you actually need, and which CRM product fits.  A good CRM expert will help you find the balance of features and keep you from spending more than you need.

2. It wasn’t built for you – Don’t assume that the system you purchase is good enough out of the box. If you forgo the customization, you run the risk of users not able to capture critical information.  You may also struggle getting the management reports you need to properly run your business.  Many CRM systems allow you, the end user, to create new fields, define dropdown lists, and manage users.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Take the time to create a database customization with an expert.  It’s easy to create fields on your own, but it’s also easy to paint yourself into a CRM database corner.

Many times a well-intentioned database admin goes the DIY path and creates the custom fields needed, drops them on the CRM layout, and then the poor users have to click all over kingdom-come to find said custom fields. Building a database that contains the custom fields you need is important.  Designing input screens with an efficient workflow is key to your users’ success as well.  If you make things easy for the users, and efficient for them, they are more likely to enter the data you need.

3. You skipped training –If your CRM is perceived as more frustrating than helpful, could it be because your users simply don’t know how to use the system?  Was it rolled out, and no one trained them? Lack of training is listed as one of the top reasons for failure, and lack of adoption, in almost every article you find if you search for reasons CRM implementations fail.  Yes, for the most part users are tech savvy nowadays.  Being a good CRM user isn’t just about being able to click around and figure it out.  Without proper training you have no assurance that your users even understand what they should be doing in the database.  There is also an effectiveness to having a paid professional come in and train.  Training ensures a solid, consistent foundation, and it promotes user buy-in.

4. Lack of compatibility – Your CRM system has to work with the programs that your sales team relies on. Things move more quickly in technology than ever.  Two versions of Windows in under 5 years would have been unheard of in tech years past.  If your sales team can’t tie their CRM system to the other tools they use, like Office, Google apps, or their e-mail system, it’s just one more application they need to open and manage. Ensure that your CRM system is up-to-date and integrates with the key systems your users are in all day.  If you want them to open the CRM every time they are on their computer, ensure it works with the other programs they open as well.

5. It’s not mobile – Does your CRM travel?  If not, your users are less likely to use it.  Whether they can access it on their smart phones, tablets or take it with them on their laptop, the database needs to be mobile.  The level of mobility you need circles back to the question, are you even in the right CRM?  If your users work off of their smart phones all day, then a Windows based application likely isn’t the right fit.  If your sales team is on an airplane often, or places with limited internet connectivity, then a CRM that is 100% cloud-based isn’t quite right. Mobility is no longer a nice to have feature, and in many cases, its mission critical.  Fewer users work solely at their desk, connected to a network.  Ensure you look at mobility as a feature to engage your users.

Is your CRM actually as awful as your sales people may say? No, likely not.  Could it be far better with some focus?  Absolutely.  The keys are, find the right solution for you, customize it to fit your business, train your users, integrate it, and find the right level of mobility.

Sound overwhelming? Find an expert to guide you through.  We’re out here, and we’re ready to help!