Is your CRM holding you back from real growth?

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Is your CRM holding you back from growth?

Just because you’ve purchased a CRM, that doesn’t mean it’s working for you, your team or your organization as a whole. Paying for your CRM is just the beginning. Making it work is an entirely different story.

Customer Relationship Management is nothing new. Today in 2018, most small to medium-sized businesses are jumping on board and really making efforts to transition towards a more data-driven system. However, the reason CRM was traditionally so effective for the enterprise was because of one thing: their resources. They had money, personnel, and the structure to support technology in ways that weren’t available to the average SMB. Today, thanks to cloud-based systems, it has become easier and more affordable than ever for any sized business to propel their businesses forward with technology like CRM and marketing automation.

That being said, one challenge remains: resources. While it’s cheaper and easier to access these systems, that doesn’t mean implementing them is any easier. Implementing CRM and marketing automation platforms takes strategic planning, team buy-in, training, and consistency. And, it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

I happen to know many enterprise CRM implementations that have failed, as well, for similar reasons as I’ll discuss below. But for the sake of this article, we are going to focus mainly on SMBs and their quest for effective CRM and marketing automation.

So, you’ve taken that step and purchased a CRM system. Now what? Implementing CRM is a beast of a task, but if done properly can propel your business to levels of success beyond what was once imagined. But if not implemented successfully, it can be a resource suck, a team demoralizer and even worse, a massive waste of time and money.

Here are some common issues we see with failed CRM implementations:
– Investing in a system for where you are now, not where you WANT to be.
– Lack of integration between platforms. Having multiple disparate systems requires more training, more money, custom integrations, and can cause lots of unnecessary waste and headaches.
– Not getting buy-in from the entire team, and yes, this means the C-suite.
– Avoiding or insufficiently training each member of your team to effectively use the system.
– Having erroneous, messed up data. What you put in is what you’re going to get out of your system.
– Not providing your entire team access to the data they need to do their jobs more effectively.
– Keeping your team in siloed departments. This is a tragedy.
– Not understanding the total cost of ownership when investing in your CRM.

Of course, there are many more reasons why implementations fail, but these remain as the top challenges, especially in the SMB arena. Because CRM and marketing automation are so new for a lot of businesses, it’s hard to know everything you’re getting into, which is why I’m here to try and help shed some light on the situation.

So, we’ve summarized a list of challenges, and now how let’s look at the solutions to help you and your team succeed with CRM and marketing automation.

DON’T look at CRM and marketing automation as two separate entities. While traditionally they are two separate systems, this model doesn’t make sense. Marketing automation is driven by CRM data and your CRM gets a lot of that data and other critical information from marketing automation. You can look at it as one giant loop. Both are needed to work in-sync with one another if you want a seamless customer experience, higher conversion rates, and increased productivity within your team.

DO invest in an all-in-one solution, or as I like to call it, complete CRM. A complete CRM is a system that houses all the tools an organization needs to run their sales, marketing, customer service, and operations units. When you have your entire team working in one system, you have all of your data working in one system. This decreases the chance of misused, out-of-date or incorrect data.

DO make sure your entire team is onboard with your new system. No, your CRM is NOT just for sales and your marketing automation is NOT just for marketing. Again, the lines between the two have blurred so much that it literally make ZERO sense to have any disconnect between the two. This does not only stem to sales and marketing, however. Customer service is another huge part of the customer experience puzzle. Customer data coming in from your support team is just as important as data from sales or marketing. Inquiries made, support tickets submitted, resolutions offered and more are critical data sets that all departments can use to increase the effectiveness of their own strategies.

DO make data-driven decisions based on the information in your CRM. If the data you’re collecting is telling you that people are not responding to specific messages – then stop sending them. Seriously. This data is so unbelievably powerful and guess what, it’s all automatically collected and stored for you! Now use it to revise and develop new strategies that will work more effectively based on factual information, not a hunch.

DON’T skimp out on onboarding, training, and continuous education for your CRM. Training is a highly critical (and ongoing) phase of the implementation process. If you want your team to get excited about using the CRM, they need to know how to use it and be excited about using it. Proper training and onboarding gets people up-to-speed on the different parts of the system that are going to make their jobs a lot easier. They become more confident in what they are doing and therefore happier about using it. Nobody likes to be confused or feel like they have no clue what they are doing, so invest in training and ongoing training for refreshes every now and again. This is probably one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of a successful implementation and higher, more enthusiastic user adoption.

DO make CRM a priority. If using the CRM isn’t a priority, well then it won’t be a priority. CRM isn’t cheap, so if you’re into the whole wasting money thing, then go ahead and set it and forget it, but don’t expect to get the results you were hoping for. When you make CRM a priority, you make your team’s success a priority. And your team’s success means business success and overall growth. Don’t think that team meetings about strategy and CRM training are keeping them from doing valuable work. CRM is designed to HELP your team work smarter. Make it happen.

DO make sure the C-suite uses the CRM. Leadership is key in any organization and the same goes for CRM implementation. If your team sees that they have to use the CRM but their managers and C-suite are not, they will lose sight of its value and purpose. Company culture starts from the top, so ensure that data and CRM are part of your priorities. When your team sees the CEO utilizing the CRM on a daily basis, they become more inspired to use it themselves.

DO choose a vendor that offers free support and other consultative services. It’s helpful to have access to valuable resources from your vendor. Make sure they have in-house personnel that you can schedule time with to help you develop strategies, build implementation plans, host one-on-one trainings and provide additional resources to guide your success.

So, can your current CRM do all of this or is it holding you back from reaching your organization’s full potential? Too often, new business struggle with choosing the right software for their business or do not envision what they will need in the future, creating more unanticipated setbacks. Consider these crucial factors and get it right the first time. If you’re past that point, then stop wasting any more time investing in an insufficient system and upgrade to a complete CRM that actually does what it’s supposed to.

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