20 ‘Past-Due’ Warning Signs Your Business Needs a CRM System


Share on LinkedIn

 In “20 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a CRM System – Part 1”, we discussed “Leading Indicators” – signs that you’re outgrowing your current processing system and should start considering a CRM.

The “Lagging Indicators” signs show that you’ve already outgrown your processes and are probably losing money because you’re not keeping up with your current clients and prospects. Opportunities are not getting captured and decisions are slow and not fully informed.

10 Signs You’re Past-Due for a CRM…

Lagging Indicator 1: It is TOO hard to clearly view and understand who or how many of your employees are communicating with prospects and customers.  To much time and effort is used to get that 360 degree holistic view of key accounts – past conversations, past sales, current issues, future opportunities. Contact notes are incomplete and accuracy of communications is suspect.

This indicator is two prong: Internally you can gain a better understanding if you had a fully integrated and capable CRM system with these capabilities…


Second is the customer experience. Imagine how it looks to your customers when they get multiple calls from different people at your business, none of whom know anything about the conversation that happened even an hour ago between them and a different employee.

Somehow you’re employees are supposed to coordinate customer contact by themselves, but no one has said how, exactly, they’re supposed to do that. And so you come across as unorganized and rushed, just what you don’t want to happen for new sales prospects or long time customers.

As we’ve said earlier, making people explain their story over-and over again is inefficient for you and annoying for your customers. If you have to have them repeat their story more than once or twice, you’re doing it wrong

Lagging Indicator 2:  Information scattered in multiple systems and dis-jointed operational processes. There must be a better way to do things…

It may be that there was a new organizational expansion and buyout resulting in an expanded sales team from a similar business. In the reorganization the VP of Sales and his team discover that this business had an impressive CRM system that addresses the challenges the sales team has been facing. Each sales opportunity moves faster with a defined sales process that integrated with the customer’s buying process

This is also a sign that you’ve grown from a startup or small business into bona-fine medium-sized business. That’s great news for your company, but it also means some growing pains. You’ll need to put in place some standard guidelines for recording customer contact and who’s on the hook for each customer or prospect.

Lagging Indicator 3: Accounting is controlling the Sales system and process.

Originally the business implemented an Accounting system and it may have grown into a full ERP system. But in either case it is still accounting first, sales second, marketing third.  Prospect information and quotes are maintained in the Accounting system as a second thought. Accounting/ERP systems are not designed as the foundation for lead tracking, lead qualification, conversion of lead to account/contacts, integrated contact marketing, social media integration, sales opportunity management, sales forecasting, and all the related CRM business analytics.

You need a more flexible system than accounting can offer. Sales, marketing and continued business development depend on it.

Lagging Indicator 4: Your sales team routinely complains that the marketing team is screwing up sales’ work by sending promotional messages to the wrong customers at the wrong time.  Your business contacts are getting confused and frustrated.

It’s not a good moment when your customer, the one who’s been in a dispute with you for a month, gets a promotional email from your marketing team.  Your marketing team could, with the right information, weed out these types of situations, or at least drastically cut down on them.

It would be so much more helpful to have interested prospects ready for a phone call and follow-up conversation. By using segmented contact lists, electronic communications from marketing can help determine who is ready and when.  Having a call list would be great.


Lagging Indicator 5: Competitors are winning more and are better prepared.

The capabilities of CRM have been around for a long time and are continually improving with technology advancements. Your competitors have kept up with new strategies and are using CRM to its fullest.   They are connecting quicker with potential sales opportunities, they are better prepared with solutions to common business requirements and they are more responsive to questions from the prospects.  You can see more activity of competitor and your prospects communication within social media channels. You have even heard that their sales team is more engaged for long term company growth. The sales team enjoy using their CRM system and the benefits it provides.

Lagging Indicator 6: You’re completely blind to any potential revenue that your team might be about to close.  All you see is whether or not they sign the contracts.  You have some lagging KPI (Key performance indicators) but really need Leading KPIs.

Forecasting revenue is critical for your long-term planning.  But, if you don’t have a good view into all the work you have pending right now, how can you make good decisions about your business moving forward?  At the minimum, you need to be tracking the number of open opportunities, your closing ratio at each stage of the sales funnel, and the expected value of your pipeline.



Lagging Indicator 7: Misdirected Excel skills that are better used elsewhere.

You have to “enable macros” when you open the Excel spreadsheet in which you’re supposed to try and track things. If you built a macro in Excel to keep track of your prospect data, you’ve already wasted a ton of time on this project. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  A macro is just a little program you can set up in Excel.  It will add data, format it for you, or move it around, if you know how to write the code correctly. Excel is not easily sharable with multiple users and as a flat-file system is quickly outgrown.

But don’t! It would be better for you just to invest in a CRM with a sharable , relational database.  It will be less stress and more time and energy for everyone.

Lagging Indicator 8: You look back at several top clients and notice that no one in your company has communicated with anyone of them for over 90 days or even 6 months.


Lagging Indicator 9: You analyzed sales opportunities too late and find out that the Northwest Sales Team is 34% below sales goals.

This affects your business by 2 million in less sales and you’ll need to lay off 5 employees soon. If you would have had a sales management dashboard it would have been more obvious quicker so you could have been able to plan and act better.


Lagging Indicator 10: There was a 18% loss of existing customers in the past year and it takes forever to determine when the ball was dropped, who missed commitments

What were the actual real reasons these customers left?

It takes too long to find the answers….

Conclusion: CRM tools are powerful, but they’re also personal.  Not everyone will suffer from all 20 of these symptoms as they ponder moving to a CRM system with a change in strategy and systems.  But, if you recognize one or two of them, it might be time to start doing CRM for real.

Please share when did you know it was time to get a real CRM?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here