Time to replace our CRM software?


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He was the last of the Mohicans. As I watched him he followed the prescribed process. The system hadn’t been well set up, so it was a prolonged and laboured procedure, but he followed it to the letter, key stroke after key stroke. This would have been great if everyone, or maybe even anyone, was doing the same. But they weren’t. His hard work was in vain. A waste. The system was long since obsolete.

I was there to answer a simple question, but I was actually answering a different, slightly more complex question. The simple question: ‘what should we replace out current CRM software with?’ The more complex question: ‘how can we make CRM software work for us?’

As I continued looking it was clear that there were business issues that needed solving. Leads were not being followed up, the marketing department was reliant on expensive advertising campaigns rather than the more cost effective direct marketing they wanted to do. Service procedures were long-winded, error-prone, and customer satisfaction low.

The problem wasn’t the choice of CRM software, it was how the software was being used. There was an easy solution, and it wasn’t new software. We simply took the CRM software the client already had and re-implemented it to better support their operations. There was no need to invest heavily in new software, we simply helped them take what they had and made it work. Investment = minimal, return on investment = huge.

I mention this because I often get asked what I think of product x as a replacement for product y, and it’s not a question I can easily answer.

The problem with most CRM software is that it isn’t set up, and/or used, in a way that will generate beneficial business outcomes. The technology itself is often not the problem. But unless this is understood, organisations investing in replacement CRM software are destined to make the same mistakes again, and in a few years time will again be looking to replace their CRM software.

All too often we dispose of software that’s more than capable of getting us where we want to go. Applications are unfairly maligned because the set up was wrong, the usage patterns were never established, or through lack of knowledge of its capabilities. And, at the same time, we are lured by the siren song of the software vendors into believing that new software is the answer to all our problems.

The answer is to forget technology for a while and focus on what we are trying to achieve. If we can answer that question, the technology question should answer itself. With clarity as to our end objective and how we will get there, we can make an informed judgement on whether our current platform is help or hindrance.

The outcome of taking this approach is that for many organisations making better use of what they have already may prove the most attractive option. Not good news for the CRM software industry perhaps, but the bottom lines of CRM software users may well benefit.<

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. I feel it is time to go for advanced CRM which we can integrate with many social media applications like Twitter, Facebook etc rather than replacing our CRM software

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  3. Richard

    Thanks for writing a great post. I couldn’t agree with you more if I had written the post myself.

    I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen companies waste money on new CRM software, sometimes large amounts of money, without any real reason. Sometimes it was because they believed the new CRM software would give than a competitive advantage. Sometimes it was because competitors had already bought it and they wanted to play catch-up. Sometimes it was because they had budget that must be spent before the end of the budget period. Sometimes it was because, well, it was shiny and new!

    The ONLY reason to buy new CRM software is if the business has a compelling reason to do so. A reason that will lead to assured value creation. That means it has established a real business need for new CRM software, it has developed a robust requirements catalogue, it has assessed a number of software vendors and it has selected the best one. And that is just the beginning of the long process of building the organisation’s value creating CRM capabilities, enabled by the new CRM software.

    The reasons provided in the Commerce CRM Blog are NOT adequate reasons to buy new CRM software. Period.

    Just say NO!… To New CRM Software.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.


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