New customer relationship management software is great, but poor decisions by humans will degrade its benefits.
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Modern customer relationship management (CRM) software is capable of great things, but it has its limits. It won’t always matter if the system has turned data automation and analysis into an art form.
Sub-optimal practices and poor decision-making will often hinder effective CRM implementation. Thankfully, these things are preventable. If you want to get the maximum value out of your system, steer clear of these classic pitfalls.
1. Corporate bias
If your company is using – or contemplating using – a CRM system, your first instinct may be to wonder why. Aren’t they supposed to be big business tools? Aren’t they a bit much for a smaller team?
Actually, no. While it’s true that this kind of system is widely used within the world of big business, it’s just as applicable to SMEs. Today, it’s easier than ever to scale CRM up or down.
There are a great many providers that cater to the budgetary and technological needs of the smaller business, and will enable you to purchase licenses on a per-user basis, ensuring that you always pay for what you need – and only what you need.
2. Writing it off too early
There are good reasons to be suspicious of technology, and then there are other reasons. To get trapped by the “sunk cost fallacy” and persist with something unworkable simply because you’ve already spent money on it would be a mistake. That said, it’s equally misguided to give up on something you’ve invested in simply because you’re having initial difficulties.
Technology isn’t always immediately intuitive, but even when it is, it takes time to align it with your processes and workflows. During implementation, you may encounter resistance, or even feel hesitant yourself.
It's easy to get down about an implementation - perseverance is a must
Discuss any concerns with your team members before simply getting rid of the system: there’s usually a way to adapt it to your purposes. In most cases, you’ll end up swearing by your CRM – and the intelligence it supplies to your business.
3. Sub-par data entry
Some people labour under the illusion that CRM systems function like meat grinders: you shove raw data in, and out comes nutritious, actionable mince. It doesn’t quite work like that.
The plain truth of the matter is this: if your company isn’t inputting data correctly, it’s going to get limited value from its CRM system. Many organisations who cite problems tend to fill their system with unstructured, borderline-incoherent information.
When a team member tries to look up this information during a client call, they’ll quite possibly come unstuck.
When it happens, it won’t be the software’s fault. If you’re going to use a CRM system, it’s best to use one that can automatically (and reliably) capture meaningful data, so your team doesn’t have to – but whatever you use, it’s essential to make sure that your processes are designed to emphasise accuracy, clarity, and comprehensibility.
When you think of spam, you probably think of those emails that promise untold millions, vastly improved reproductive function, or some combination thereof. It’s not wrong, but it’s not completely right either. Spam is a phenomenon that takes many forms – and it’s not always intentional.
Simply sending the wrong message to the wrong person may constitute spam in their eyes, and when bulk-email features are used improperly, it becomes exponentially easier to misdirect your messages. These features aren’t a shortcut: they’re a way to communicate with your customers more efficiently and effectively.
Spam comes in many different forms
If you’re going to make the most of them, be careful – and ensure your emails are relevant, targeted, and designed to further a client or prospect relationship.
5. Using it as a database – and only a database.
CRM systems are often equipped with excellent databases, but there’s more to them than that. Used correctly, they can represent a fundamental shift in the way your company works.
By providing full visibility into your company’s interactions with clients, a CRM system can be a means of ensuring continuity in business relationships when key team members depart the company.
It’s a way of facilitating remote working, enabling employees to work from home or on the move without interruption. It helps ensure that you know everything you need to know before that critical call or meeting.
When you allow a CRM to do what it’s capable of doing, your business will only benefit. If you don’t, you won’t get anywhere near as much out of it. It’s an opportunity to redefine the way you conduct your relationships with customers – to their advantage and yours.