We live in the age of the customer, where businesses are built on the relationships they have with their shoppers. Customer relationship management (commonly referred to as “CRM”) is foundational to a small business’s customer experience strategy. It serves as the building blocks for winning over, helping and creating repeat customers. Today, small businesses have access to CRM technology that allows them to connect with their customers in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
However, a CRM tool is only as good as its implementation, and for first-time CRM projects, there are potential pitfalls along the way. The following are the mistakes that can sabotage your CRM, and guidance on how to avoid them.
Common CRM Mistakes
Lack of Ownership
Without having someone explicitly own the project, you are likely to see a diffusion of responsibility effect. This is a phenomenon when people are less inclined to take responsibility for action when others are present. There should always be someone in charge. Ideally, someone who understands the sales and servicing process so they can map those processes to the tool.
Ignoring the End User
Poor end-user adoption is the quickest way to have your CRM investment turn into a liability. Lots of systems have many shiny, fancy features but if the system isn’t straightforward and easy to use — guess what — it’s not going to get used. If the system doesn’t make the sales team better at their jobs, they are not going to use it.
If you put dirty data into your CRM (meaning inaccurate or incomplete information), your end user is going to get dirty data out of it. No one wants dirty data. If your sales folks can’t trust the system, they’ll quickly go back to whatever they were using before, and your brand new CRM tool will collect dust.
When most businesses look to implement CRM software, they ask colleagues and partners about what they use. Just because a colleague is in love with their CRM doesn’t mean it will work the same for your business. Each business has unique customers and processes, and it is important to conduct research to find the one which will be the right fit for the whole business and not just one person.
It’s important to build good process and habits from the start of the project. Salespeople are busy and might not want to spend their time on training, but it’s crucial for the long-term health of the system. Otherwise, the tool becomes less useful which in turn leads to less use.
Bad Reinforcement of Rules
When sales managers bypass the system and go directly to their team for updates, they send a signal that it’s okay to cut corners. This is not okay. If this happens, employees who take the time to keep their CRM information up to date will feel like they are wasting their time and, eventually, they will stop updating it.
At the end of the day, as with any business: your people are your greatest asset. If you’re not regularly and correctly explaining the value of a CRM to your team, then they will lose interest. The more people communicate about the benefits of a CRM, the more they will explore it and the more they will reap its rewards. They will inevitably wonder how they ever went to work without a CRM solution in place. Go forth, avoid these pitfalls and take CRM by the horns.
CRM Photo via Shutterstock