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10 signs your CRM system needs an overhaul

Bruce Harpham | Sept. 14, 2017
Poor data quality, broken add-ons, and ineffective integrations are just a few of the tell-tale signs that you may need to refresh your CRM system — or scrap it altogether and start anew.

“If you rely on a single person to create reports, make changes to the CRM and provide other kinds of support and they leave, you have a problem. The right solution may be to overhaul your CRM and staffing approach to prevent this problem from occurring in the future,” LeVell explains.

If your company is using a widely used commercial CRM, hiring a replacement is an option. On the other hand, if your CRM was developed internally — such as an internal Access database with links to other systems — locating a replacement will be much more challenging. And once you look into it, you may be better off modernising the system by replacing it.


4. Integrations are more manual than effective

In larger firms, CRM systems become valuable only when fully integrated with other corporate systems.

“If your CRM does not have good connections with the ERP, business intelligence or marketing analytics units, it is probably time for an overhaul,” LeVell says.

How do you spot this problem in your organisation? Look for complicated manual processes where staff work as “human integrators” between systems that could be connected.


5. Standard reports take several days to create

Creating a report for the first time often requires give and take as you fine-tune the presentation and details. But once a report becomes a monthly essential in describing the status of a line of business, that kind of effort better be easy.

“I have seen cases of managers and sales representatives taking several days each month and each quarter to prepare reports. That suggests that the CRM does not have the required business capabilities,” LeVell says. If your staff take time to collect reports and data from multiple sources and coordinate it with Excel or Access, your CRM is probably due for an overhaul.

Overcoming this problem starts with understanding the lay of the land. Create a list of the reports that sales, marketing and other business units require, and question each of those report to find which add value and which collect virtual dust when issued. At the same time, look into the quality of the data and related processes that feed these reports. In some organisations, governing data quality is an IT responsibility. If that’s the case at your organisation, IT will have a critical leadership role to play in overhauling the CRM program.


6. CRM governance is missing or ineffective

For a larger business, CRM governance quickly becomes an onion with multiple layers. At the lowest level, governance defines the CRM’s fields and who enters what data. At a higher level, there needs to be a process to govern data and changes. “Some organisations restrict who is allowed to close deals and when — that function may not be carried out directly by the sales representatives,” LeVell explained.


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