Extreme CRM Makeover

Extreme CRM Makeover

Is it time to remodel your system?

My wife loves watching home renovation shows on TV. In just 30 minutes, a hopeless, run-down home is transformed into the best looking house in the neighborhood. I must admit, I also enjoy seeing the renewal process take place and the big reveal at the end. It’s really satisfying to see the work and creativity that go into creating the beautiful finished product.

Here’s my question regarding your CRM system. Is it time for a makeover? Very frequently, we see systems that were deployed several years ago that are showing signs of needing help. Some system modifications (or too many) may have been made over time. But you know something is not working. What are some of the signs you might need to take a hard look at your system and consider a makeover?

Signs You Need a Makeover

  • Your sales team is “less than enthusiastic” about using the system
  • Sales managers don’t really use (or trust) the system, or know how to get the right data or reports
  • No one seems to “own” the system
  • System changes are not supervised and data is a mess
  • Senior management is frustrated with users for not leveraging the investments in technology
  • Training may or may not be available, and no one is quite sure what to do in many cases

What Can Be Done?

When talking about first rate CRM systems, such as Salesforce, the good news is the technology itself is usually not to blame. Instead, it’s often a combination of factors that contribute to inefficiencies and degraded performance, as mentioned above. Here are some real world makeover solutions we have used over the years to create a highly productive and efficient CRM system:

1. Develop data management policies and procedures: There’s nothing worse than duplicate, incomplete and unusable data. Through some basic systems planning, good data management can be accomplished. Excellent tools exist to clean up bad data and keep it clean on an ongoing basis. Also, there are several procedural ways to enforce that your users will respect newly established data policies, such as requiring certain fields, restricting who enters new Accounts, and other many other ideas. Salesforce has several good articles on data management.

2. Map your business processes, then ensure your system follows those processes: This is a really worthwhile exercise as it forces all the stakeholders to come together and review why you have a CRM system in the first place. Typically, we find the system has some limitations in supporting the business that must be addressed. This exercise alone, though not easy, will repair many functions in need of a makeover. There’s always a little “demolition” that has to be done!

3. Follow deployment best practices: In another blog post, I’ve written about CRM best practices for deploying (and re-deploying) systems for the best possible outcome. These best practices should be closely evaluated to determine applicability for your system upgrade project.

Do the Issues Go Deeper?

If you’re struggling with your CRM system, we have found it is usually a combination of issues that are causing the problem. Often times we hear about symptoms that point to systems issues, but when we look deeper for root causes, we often find more structural issues that need to be addressed. This could include training or staffing issues within the sales team. Many times the sales process itself needs close examination.

Another area to consider is that of lead generation. We understand that management typically invests in CRM with the ultimate goal of improving sales results. So, much effort is put into organizing and managing the sales cycle and direct selling activities. However, it’s not unusual to find that little effort is put into lead generation efforts. Sales teams can be highly inefficient because they must find most of their own leads. In today’s digital world, this should no longer be the case, and effective digital marketing is a strong requirement for sales efficiency. My point is, if you have invested in CRM, you’re only part of the way to sales success. Fully developed lead generation processes must be coupled with an effective sales process to drive true sales success.

Regardless of the issues, your challenges can be addressed and resolved so that your business will increase lead flow, sales productivity and CRM user satisfaction. It takes some evaluation and time to understand the business processes impacted by your CRM system. If you’re seeing the signs of needing a CRM makeover, start by looking at the issues above. But don’t hesitate to look beyond “symptoms” and make sure you’re getting to the root cause of the matter. Only then will your address the real issues that may be affecting your sales productivity and CRM adoption issues.