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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.


7. You want to take advantage of new data sources

Problems are not the only reason for investing in a CRM overhaul. New data resources can mean new opportunities, and sometimes refreshing the CRM is necessary to capitalise on this.

“I worked with an investment firm that grew over time and had to need to review a large number of potential opportunities,” says Max Dufour, partner at Harmeda. “Several issues drove the client to improve their CRM and associated processes. First, they needed to retool their approach in light of growth and the need to manage more investments. Second, they had increased opportunity to pull in data from multiple sources through APIs and similar resources.”


8. Customised add-ons stop working after an update

Whether your firm uses cloud or on-premises CRM, upgrades are a fact of life. Sometimes an update can set off a chain of events that can hobble your CRM’s capabilities, especially customisations and add-ons.

“Every time I hear about a new update for Salesforce or another CRM, I carefully review the notes to find out what aspects of the problem will be changed. In some cases, a given integration or an add-on may stop working,” Dufour says.

To mitigate this risk, take a proactive approach to the CRM vendor.

“Some CRM vendors are willing to provide early access to new versions before they push out an update. Experimenting with those early versions is an excellent way to find out if your implementation will be impacted,” he adds.


9. Adoption and usage is low

A CRM produces results only if it is used. Here, adoption and integration into your organisation’s daily work is essential.

“CRM adoption data is a key metric to consider in looking at your CRM. For example, you can look at login frequency to gain a sense of which users are using the CRM and which are not using it. You may discover that a whole unit — such as marketing or your field sales staff — is not using the CRM,” says Chipman.

If you already have raw usage data, consider painting a more in-depth picture by collecting qualitative information about your users. Though such observations may not be statistically robust, this approach helps you to discover pain points you may have failed to discover.


10. Data quality issues lead to competing definitions of the customer

Receiving irrelevant sales and marketing pitches waste everyone’s time. Competing or inconsistent customer data is one cause of the problem.

“I have seen cases where different units of the same company could not agree on the customer. If the data was collected at different times or with different CRM programs, this problem is likely to occur,” Blacksmith says. “On the other hand, if your CRM data quality is robust, you can get excellent results from using today’s marketing automation tools.”

The lesson for CIOs is that no CRM program is ever truly finished. Whether you are excited to take advantage of new marketing automation tools or simply want to end user complaints, it is better to look at CRM as a work in progress.


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