10 Signs You Need a CRM Upgrade
Key Factors To Determine Whether to Refine or Replace Your CRM Software System
CRM software is widely hailed as the tool to improve customer relationships, increase customer share and carry your company to a profitable bottom-line. Even so, sometimes CRM software feels a bit like a clunker. But how do you know if it's time to trade in your CRM application or just give it a tune-up?
"This is a difficult economic climate, so organizations should think doubly hard about what they can do to make better use of what they already have," recommends David Frenkel, CEO of Panviva, a developer of business process automation software.
"We see a lot of organizations contemplating major rip-and-replace CRM software projects," says Frenkel. "However, we know that most CRM system failures are more a result of end-user adoption issues rather than software issues." A updated training program for company staff may be the only upgrade you need.
Most CRM systems scale nicely and can be customized to fill most feature set or reporting requirements, however, there is a time when a CRM software upgrade or trade-in is essential. The trick is in being able to tell the difference.
You May Need a CRM Upgrade If…
The experts have weighed in with their tips and advice on how to make that call. Randy Saunders, program director of customer experience management (CEM) solutions at Cincom Systems provided this Letterman-like top 10 list to guide you:
10. Your customers need to run through their purchase history with you every time they call.
9. You tout a new sale only to discover later that it's from an existing customer.
8. You need more than a few seconds to find an existing customer's order status or history.
7. Every time customers call, you need a carrier pigeon to access supporting systems.
6. You find out you've lost a customer from a competitor's press release touting their new customer win.
5. "Integration with legacy systems" means you share a workstation with the oldest person in the office.
4. Someone calls to place an order, and you find out they have a quote only when they tell you.
3. You ship a sale order to a customer's competitor.
2. Instead of Christmas cards from you customers, you receive sympathy cards.
1. You don't even know all your customers.
On a less sarcastic note, here are the CRM experts suggestions.
10 Signs Your CRM Software Needs Resuscitation
- "If your enterprise doesn't know how to incorporate 'tweets,' doesn't have a lot of 'friends' or isn't leveraging feedback from bloggers or social media, it's a sign that your CRM system desperately needs an upgrade," says Michael Wooden, VP of market development, for ACS, a business process and IT services outsourcer.
Not only can organizations use social media to listen to what customers are saying about their brands and products on blogs, consumer sites and social networks, he says, they can also include this information into their customer service solutions. The results are reduced costs (via reduced call and email volumes and increased agent productivity and first call resolution) and improved revenues (via higher customer share, lifetime value and increased lead conversion rates).
"Companies must capture and distill online conversations into actionable knowledge that can be used to improve customer service," says Wooden. "Companies will need social media listening tools to not only report on what people are saying, but also to store, distill and use the knowledge gained."
"When customer communications start taking place outside of the CRM system and there is no longer a direct way to respond and influence your customers' experience with your company, it's time to upgrade your CRM software," advises Gregory Hopkins, president and CEO of Libra OnDemand, a manufacturer of CRM software solutions for the hospitality industry.
"If you find yourself having to go to a webmaster to find out what customers are doing online, your marketing team to understand the impact on sales your best customers have, and your email marketing provider to understand which of your customers actually respond to email promotions, you lack the fundamentals to be able to succeed with your CRM program," says John Bastone, global product marketing manager for SAS' Customer Intelligence Solutions.
"If an organization finds that it is hacking its existing CRM software in order to make it do something it wasn't intended to do, or putting off important initiatives because the application can't support them, it is time to start evaluating new CRM systems," says Dave Raffaele, executive director of solution architecture at customer intelligence software vendor Quaero.
"If your CRM software doesn't offer customer intelligence and analytics, it's time to upgrade," says Scott Ortiz, executive director of product management at CSG Systems, which builds billing and customer support solutions.
"If an audit of the sales team reveals your sales reps aren't even using the CRM software," says Bill Johnson, CEO of sales force automation software firm Jesubi. "If your sales reps' approach is random and has no cadence, you need to find a CRM solution that gets rid of ad-hoc selling and instead takes a systematic approach."
"If your current solution provides no institutional insight as to what is happening in your sales channel before a forecast is due, it's time to make a CRM change," he adds.
"If your existing Customer Relationship Management system doesn't integrate with other business software systems like email or finance, it is time to upgrade," advises Raju Vegesna, evangelist at business application manufacturer Zoho, which offers online CRM app Zoho CRM.
"If your existing customer management system is not customizable enough to accommodate your company's processes and growth, it's time for an upgrade," adds Vegesna.
"If a organization is having a hard time tracking customer data centrally, then they need to upgrade quickly. Many organizations lose vital customer data because it is not safeguarded in a database and centrally managed," says Todd Simons, Technology Director at FranklinCovey Products.
"If you have first-generation, management-centric sales force automation (SFA), which turned out to be sales force accounting, it's time to upgrade to CRM software that actually helps sales people sell rather than requires them to be data entry clerks," says York Baur, CMO of the TAS Group, a sales performance management automation specialist.
There you have it - the criteria whether your CRM software is a dying clunker or an under-used hot rod. Now start your engines.