Readers of this article no doubt already understand the importance of customer relationship management.
Note the key word in that last statement:
To be sure, each CRM tool is unique in its own right. Some are meant to serve larger companies, while others serve brands operating in specific industries. Even among similar CRMs, there will typically be a number of factors that make one tool the better choice for your organization at that moment.
The key phrase in that statement?
“At that moment.”
In other words, even if your current CRM system has been a valuable asset to your company over the years, there’s no guarantee that it will always be your best option. As your business grows and your CRM-related needs evolve, the time may come that you’ll need to start looking for a new solution altogether.
Which is exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article.
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What’s Wrong with Our Current CRM?
Okay, we get it:
The prospect of switching to a brand new CRM can seem a bit daunting.
After all, you’ve already spent countless hours integrating your current system into your overall processes. You’ve collected a ton of data that feels like it would take forever to migrate to the new system. And, your team has grown accustomed to your current CRM solution—and might not be so enthralled by the idea of learning a whole new system from scratch.
All valid points—but while it certainly will take some effort to make the switch, this absolutely beats the alternative of sticking with a less-than-stellar CRM tool for the long haul. Taking the latter route will likely lead to a number of problems for your business.
- Inaccurate or misleading data can cause your team to make poor decisions when engaging with customers
- Out-of-date, unsynced data will cause redundancies for both your teams and your customers
- Overlooked data can cause your customers’ issues to go ignored by your team—which won’t play out well for either party
It’s crucial that you revisit—and revisit often—the burning question:
Do we need to start looking for a new CRM?
4 Questions for Companies Considering a New CRM
Alright, we’re just going to be blunt here:
If you actively think you need a new CRM, chances are you probably do.
You might not even realize your current CRM isn’t cutting it—that is, until you take a closer look at the whole scenario.
How has our current CRM solution impacted the business?
When you decided on your current CRM in the first place, you did so with a clear idea of what you hoped it would do for your business.
On the whole, your main concern likely came down to bottom line. That is, you chose your current solution based on which would generate the most return on investment.
So… has your current solution lived up to those expectations? Has use of your CRM led to an overall increase in revenues and profits?
Obviously, if it hasn’t, you want to waste as little time as possible in starting your search for a more profitable customer relationship management tool.
Even if you have seen an improvement in bottom line profitability since adopting your current CRM, you also want to look at how it’s affected your team’s performance on a more granular level.
Here, you’ll want to think about how your CRM has impacted:
- Your marketing team’s ability to generate and nurture high-quality leads
- Your sales team’s ability to close high-value deals with efficiency
- Your service team’s ability to resolve issues effectively and with minimal friction
While there certainly can be a number of reasons for these numbers to be different than what you’d expected, our focus here is on whether your current CRM is, in itself, holding your team back from its true potential. If that’s the case, the last thing you want to do is continue on with business as usual.
How have our circumstances and goals changed?
Your company is ever-changing in a number of ways.
As these changes occur, so do changes to your CRM needs. Again: the CRM that once provided major value to your company may no longer be your best option.
To be sure, most cloud-based CRMs typically offer multiple tiers of service to address their customers’ needs.
You may find yourself in a position where your current tier of service no longer meets your needs—but the next level up is simply “too much” for your team in some way. Here, your choice is to stick with what you’ve been using (knowing you’re likely missing out on numerous opportunities), or upgrade to the next tier—only to fall short of maximizing its use.
Obviously, the best solution to this issue is to think about your projected needs before you commit to a certain CRM. But, of course, it’s pretty difficult to predict all this—especially if your current software is your first foray into the world of customer relationship management.
So, for the present moment, you’ll want to take stock of how your goals have changed over time.
- Have you mastered lead generation, and are now starting to shift gears toward retention?
- Is your retention rate solid, and you’re now aiming to improve overall lifetime value?
- Are you now focusing more on improving your customer service and support efforts?
You don’t want to just go for the more advanced version of what you currently use simply because it may seem like the next logical step to take. Rather, you want to search for the CRM software that addresses your newly-emerging needs—while also allowing you to continue evolving across the board.
How has our hardware and software changed?
This one is pretty straightforward:
If your CRM is incompatible with the various other tools and software you use, you definitely need to start looking elsewhere.
Now, such an issue is more likely to pop up if you currently use an on-premise CRM, where you’re rather restricted in terms of which devices can be used to access the tool. What’s more, depending on how long it’s been since you last updated your in-house CRM, it may not actually be possible to access it on your company’s newer devices.
Needless to say, this will only continue to cause problems as you phase out old hardware and bring in new.
If you currently use a cloud-based solution, you may not be running into this exact problem—but you could have a similar issue on hand. While your average cloud-based CRM is likely device-agnostic, you also need to ensure it integrates well with the other tools in your tech stack.
In fact, HubSpot recommends that your CRM of choice integrates with as many as fifteen other tools, such as:
- Your team’s communication and collaboration tools
- Social media accounts (a la social CRM)
- Internal and customer-facing knowledge management and document management systems
In the interest of adopting a true omnichannel approach to operations, it’s crucial that your CRM connects with your other tools that involve customer data in any way.
If your CRM can’t act as a single source of truth for the entirety of your customer data, there’s little point in using one in the first place. If you find that your CRM no longer works well with your newer hardware and software, it’s probably time to make a change as soon as possible.
How has the CRM provider supported us and responded to our needs?
If you’ve been using your current CRM for a while now, you likely have a good idea of your provider’s ability to support your team and cater to your needs.
There are a number of aspects to touch on here:
First, think about the “extras” your CRM supplier provides you with to help you get the most out of their tool.
- Do they offer a knowledge base or similar content hub full of in-depth articles and documentation?
- Does their onboarding process and documentation allow you to easily train new employees?
- Do they proactively deliver personalized content to your team based on its specific needs?
You should also think about the quality of any hands-on service or support you’ve received from the team. Consider both their response time and their ability to effectively help you solve your issues—and figure out how this has impacted your ability to use the CRM for your intended goals.
You may also want to look at their level of dedication to their audience as a whole.
- Do they respond to and proactively inform their audience of server failures or any other issues that may hinder CRM operability?
- Do they engage with their community and respond to questions or comments on social media and other public forums?
- Do they actively solicit feedback from their users—and do they then make laser-focused improvements to their CRM based on this feedback?
And, finally, you’ll want to be sure that the improvements they make over time align with your team’s evolving needs. As we said earlier, the CRM that once provided everything you needed may one day no longer be your best option.
The trick, then, is to keep an eye on the improvements your supplier makes to their tool over time—and to predict future changes based on the improvements made up until now. In turn, you’ll have a better idea of whether your current CRM solution will still be your best option down the line.
Though you can’t predict the future with 100% certainty, it’s vital to find the CRM that will most likely be able to serve your needs for some time to come. If it seems like your current CRM provider isn’t developing their platform in the direction that will best serve your team, you’ll want to start looking for one that is—and will continue to prove value to your growing business.
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