8 Signs You've Outgrown Your CRM System

CRM Advice

If you've been using the same CRM product for many years it might be struggling to adapt to your business' changing needs.

Preact is often contacted by organisations that have previously seen good results with their CRM system but are now starting to find this application restrictive.

You might be used to the quirks and foibles of your CRM system and your team might have some solutions to work around its limitations but then harsh reality could be that you need better technology to manage your relationships and business processes.

Here are just some of frequent examples that demonstrate how legacy CRM systems can inhibit business growth and why a more flexible and scalable technology is needed:

1. Your CRM system is fine for managing contacts, activities and sales but it lacks the flexibility to manage other processes such as service issues, support cases, projects, events, applications, jobs or work orders.

This often results in a mix of different solutions being used to handle these diverse processes. Some data will be in CRM, more in Excel while some details might not be properly tracked at all. 

A better solution is to deploy a series of role based apps that natively connect to avoid having bits of data in different places. With a unified system that will also adapt to manage any non-standard custom entities everyone has access to a single source of truth in a single interface.

2. You work with different types of contacts but your rigid CRM database structure imposes a standard record form creating a poor user experience as many fields aren't relevant for some types of contact.

In contrast, having customisable record forms means that fields can be shown and hidden based on each contract type. Rules can be quickly defined for form views that cover each contact type and user role to provide users with a streamlined, uncluttered display that will help to improve data quality.

3. Resources are wasted through duplicated effort because your CRM system can't be connected to other applications.  

Entry level CRM systems often have limited capacity when it comes to integrating them with another application or data source creating silos of unconnected data. 

A modern, more fully featured system will offer almost limitless scope for integration with external data sources by synchronising data that will avoid duplication. This increases the speed at which processes can be completed creating immediate benefits in service delivery and productivity. Frequent examples will be to connect CRM sales processes with an accounts / ERP database to convert new deals into orders and invoices, or to connect email marketing / marketing automation service with CRM to share marketing links and track opt-in and opt-out instructions.

4. Your CRM software isn't keeping up with increasing customer expectations

As customer expectations continue to rise for the quality of the service they receive, and how they interact with organisations, older CRM technology may struggle to adapt. Customer facing staff will be better empowered to deliver a consistent service that helps keep customers loyal when they have access to CRM tools that include case management, service level agreements, integrated knowledge articles and integrated live chat. Without this mix of tools and having complete customer detail in one place, service teams will be fighting a rearguard action to keep customers satisfied. 

Furthermore, customers increasingly want to do business on their own terms through their preferred channel, and when they want. Integrated self-service portals are a great way to meet this demand by connecting CRM case management, knowledge capabilities and sharing further customer resources. In many cases, customers will raise issues with organisations via their social accounts so it will be helpful to have these connected with CRM to manage these processes in the same way as issues logged through other channels.

5. Office based users have better access to CRM data and can more easily manage processes compared to individuals on the road

For organisations to be competitive everyone needs to be able to do business anywhere. This can't happen if sales teams, engineers and other mobile users aren't able to access the data that matters to them. A mobile CRM app which only offers the basics immediately limits productivity if some tasks have to wait until individuals return to base when they can access to what they need. Through modern CRM mobile apps, businesses can immediately capture and begin processing data at source and individuals can surface important detail during their on-site engagements to make these interactions more productive. 

6. CRM reporting is limited and provides few meaningful insights. Management reporting is time consuming and often decisions are based more on guesswork and gut feel.

For informed and nimble decision making, complete and trusted data need to be readily available. If data isn't connected to one place or if it is input inconsistently reporting will always be limited whatever the strengths or weaknesses of your CRM application. Through Power BI charts and dashboards incredible data insights can be gained through visualizations but for true data-driven decision making the immediate focus will be to first connect data and make sure that it is consistently tracked.  

7. Data quality is mixed because your CRM system isn't giving users prescriptive guidance to progress processes, or enforce your rules and best practices when they enter data.

Repeatable processes such as lead qualification, complaint handling or support requests are best handled when everyone follows a consistent process when collect data. Your CRM system might have some mandatory fields but this doesn't help individual users see at glance where they are with a process, and what needs to happen next. 

A better solution will be to have guided process flows that are mapped to each workflow which prompt users to ask the right questions and consistently collect data. By following these steps, users are guided to a successful outcome for qualifying a lead, to resolving a service issue or completing some other repeatable process. Based on the data entered, users can be directed to down a different path where the steps are contextual to the information provided.

8. You aren't able to sufficiently restrict access to your data

To comply with GDPR and meet increasing standards for data privacy and security, CRM admins need broader controls that will precisely control what access permissions each user should have. For example, if you aren't able to prevent individual users from copying customer data into Excel, or you can't hide sensitive data from some user groups this will create additional challenges to demonstrate compliance with data security legislation and safeguard the protection of business data.

The Solution?

As these examples demonstrate, in order to remain competitive businesses have much to gain in deploying smarter CRM technology that helps transform processes to benefit customers and support future growth.

Download our Playbook to Business Growth with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to read more about how to move on from a legacy CRM system to a new solution that will improve how you operate and bring limitless potential to empower employees and boost customer engagement. 

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