Let’s be honest. Is there anything sexier, more fascinating or more exhilarating than a highly functioning customer relationship management (CRM) system? OK, maybe just about anything else. Good CRMs will not make you drool in admiration or write a pretty sonnet, but the bad ones will drive you and your employees crazy.
Recently, my company learned this lesson the hard way. Over the past two years, we grew from 15 employees crammed in one tiny office in Santa Barbara to over 30 employees, one-third of whom work remotely across the United States. In that time, we’ve outgrown our conference table, office space and lunch order — but nothing more so than our CRM system. The signs were there for a CRM change, but it took a long time to realize what they were.
If you’re wondering if your company should change its CRM, here are seven signs you should look for.
1. It’s unreliable.
If your CRM used to work perfectly but now can’t be relied on 99% of the time, it’s time to switch systems. Our CRM system was always going down. It was buggy, hard to fix and slow. Each week we were calling the IT department about one problem or another. Many times it was the same problem, which made it even more frustrating.
2. It doesn’t do mobile.
If your team can’t access your CRM anywhere from their mobile devices, it’s time to shop around. In my company, we’re often on the road at events or working remotely. Sometimes, the most reliable internet access is our phone. However, if you can’t access your CRM by phone, you miss opportunities.
3. It doesn’t integrate with other software systems.
If your CRM system doesn’t integrate with your other systems (sales, contracts, websites), then you should change your CRM provider. Our old CRM system didn’t integrate well so we were spending all our time manually entering information into each separate system, which was a huge time suck.
4. It’s user unfriendly.
If your user design is no longer friendly, you need to make friends with a new CRM. It was difficult to search and navigate our old CRM system. General keyword searches were slow and yielded few useful results. The design of the system for contacts, opportunities, etc., was siloed, making it difficult to quickly navigate between them.
5. It doesn’t work well across departments.
If your CRM works well for one department but bad for others, then it’s bad for your entire company. Our old CRM made it difficult to gather, share and tabulate information across departments. We had to leave the CRM system to create reports. It was tedious and cumbersome.
6. It doesn’t have growth potential.
If your CRM doesn’t have the potential to grow with your company, then it’s time to find the kind of CRM that can grow with you. Some CRMs are very stable systems but are not updated with the tools you need to grow. Our system couldn’t work with our website, new application programming interfaces (API) or other company platforms.
7. It’s all you talk about.
Finally, you know it’s time to change your CRM system, when it’s all you talk about. Forget about sales meetings, all-hands meetings or off-sites — we couldn’t go through a daily conversation without talking about the CRM. When you reach this stage, it’s time to do the research, take the leap and spend some time getting a new system in place.
It took us a while to see these seven signs. Now we’re in the process of making the change. In my next article, I’ll share my takeaways on how your business can have a smoother transition from one CRM system to another.