We break down seven of the top issues businesses face when implementing, securing, and utilising CRM – and what your business can do to solve them
Since you’re here, we’ll assume you’re already fairly well acquainted with the benefits a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can offer your business – that is, the problems it solves.
But what about those it creates?
Like us humans, no CRM system is perfect. And, before you reach the golden lands of souped-up sales, juiced-up marketing campaigns, and faster customer service that CRM offers, chances are you’ll encounter a few potholes along the way.
But don’t go hitting the panic button just yet – these common CRM problems can all be solved, and your business’ system (and approach to customer relationships) will be all the stronger for it.
So what are these common CRM problems we speak of, you ask?
We’ve broken down seven of the problems most frequently cited by business owners as being the major early pitfalls of CRM software – and how you can tackle them. Whether you’re still thinking about a CRM system or have installed one recently, this guide will help you sidestep the most common issues.
#1: Under-utilisation of the system
There’s a good chance you’re not. Statistics tell us that almost half (43%) of CRM users take advantage of less than half of the features their software has to offer. But why?
Is it laziness? A lack of employee engagement, or resistance to using the system?
In some cases, yes – but for many teams under-utilising their CRM systems, it’s simply a lack of awareness of what the software can do.
CRM is often mistakenly used interchangeably with CMS (contact management software), or seen as just a database for storing customer records. While CRM does do this, it’s really so much more.
The power of CRM lies in how it allows you to manipulate key data – identifying trends, analysing buyer habits, and generating accurate sales forecasts. CRM isn’t just a place to store information, but an intelligent set of tools to empower smarter, savvier sales, marketing, and customer service CRM efforts.
Chances are, your team just aren’t aware of all that yet.
Thankfully, there are a couple of ways around this one.
The most obvious is to explore the full functionality of what your CRM software can do. You can do this by getting in touch with your CRM supplier’s support team via phone or live chat.
You can also tap into your CRM provider’s online knowledge base for tutorials, videos, and articles to get you started. Many CRM suppliers also have platforms for dedicated customer communities: where you can ask questions, participate in threads, and learn more about the nuances and intricacies of your CRM software.
It’s then up to you to relay these benefits to your team – though if that’s too much, you can always arrange a live demo with your CRM supplier, who’ll do it for you.
Of course, it may be the case that you don’t need all the features offered by the CRM. This is important to understand, as you may be able to downgrade to a more modest plan that’s better-suited to your current needs – and save some cash in the process.
Jump to #5: the system is too expensive
#2: Security issues
This common CRM problem can be expressed in a single question…
“How do I keep my data safe?”
The answer? Well, that depends…
How you keep a handle on your CRM system’s cyber security will depend on the mode of deployment you’ve selected: on-premise or cloud-based.
On-premise software is deployed on servers physically located at your business’ premises. Cloud-based software’s servers are managed and operated by the company you choose to provide your CRM system.
If you’ve selected an on-premise solution, you’ll have more control over your system’s security, data, user rights, and setup. As such, you’ll need to take a more hands-on approach to securing your servers. This includes:
- Installing firewalls and antivirus technology
- Ensuring physical access to your servers is limited and controlled
- Regulating employee behaviour in and around the location of your servers
- Securing your local internet connection with strong passwords
- Regularly updating your operating system
If you’ve selected a cloud-based system, your chosen CRM supplier should relieve you of most of the duties of CRM cybersecurity.
We should note – because cloud-based CRM is operated over the internet, many business owners worry that it’s not as safe. But don’t fret – cloud-based systems these days are as secure (if not more so!) than their on-premise counterparts.
We can recommend one of these cloud based CRM systems:
#3: Choosing the wrong software
So, you’ve picked the wrong system. Why fret? It happens.
Whether it’s getting sucked in by the siren song of a good deal, or caving to high-pressure sales tactics, many business owners end up saddled with a CRM that’s simply not right for them.
As for the system, there are many reasons a particular CRM might not gel with your business or industry. Maybe you’ve picked software that specialises in marketing automation (such as HubSpot), when actually your priority is selling – and what you really need is something like Salesforce or Maximizer.
You might even be going down a blind alley with CRM, when what you really need is project management software, such as monday.com.
Perhaps you’ve selected a plan with too many (or too few) features. It could even be that the system’s interface just doesn’t resonate with you – it may be hard to use, or unpleasant to look at.
So what can you do about it?
Well, you’ve started by exploring our CRM content… so you’re already on the right track. But why not go one step further, and compare quotes with us?
It’s free, takes about 30 seconds, and is undeniably the quickest, most hassle-free route to your dream CRM system. Here’s how it works.
Simply provide us with some details about your current CRM setup. Do you currently use a CRM or a CMS? Which features are you most interested in? How many users will the system need to support?
Once that’s done, we’ll match you up with one or more CRM suppliers. Not just any suppliers, though – exclusively ones that will be a good fit for the specific needs of your business. They’ll then get in touch with you directly to explain more, and provide quotes tailored to your requirements. Problem solved!
4: Out-of-date information
CRM does a lot. Capturing leads via your websites and social media channels, feeding these to your sales team, and managing all that customer data from a central location? Yep, it’s a lot.
Naturally, though, CRM doesn’t do everything. And, if you’re expecting it to update your client information for you, you can think again.
It’s a common CRM problem. After a while, CRM systems get bogged down with outdated client data. Old phone numbers, switched companies, new job titles – things are constantly changing, and you need to keep up.
First of all, give your CRM database a spring clean. Remove contacts whose emails are bouncing, or have been consistently unresponsive to your calls. Get rid of (or re-engage!) any unclosed leads or prospects overstaying their welcome in the system.
You should also think about deleting any email templates you no longer use, along with any old reports. This will serve the dual purpose of refreshing your CRM system, while freeing up storage space – though if the latter’s an issue, you can always purchase more.
You can also ensure your customer data is accurate by re-engaging lapsed customers with fresh deals and discounts. Run an email marketing campaign that offers benefits in exchange for a customer’s details. Your CRM database will rejuvenate before your very eyes!
#5: The system is too expensive
CRM software is profitable. So profitable, the stats suggest, that it can increase revenue by over 40% per sales representative.
That said, there are many reasons why you’re not seeing the ROI you expected from your CRM just yet. Implementation issues, privacy hurdles, poor staff engagement with the system… any or all of these common CRM problems may make you feel like you’re not getting enough for your money.
Here’s what to do if your CRM is proving too expensive right now.
CRM is almost always priced in tiers. A basic version will be cheap, while a more feature-rich version (which you’ve probably ended up with) requires considerably more investment. So, by downgrading, you can free up cash flow.
That said, you don’t have to sacrifice features to save money. CRM is priced per user, per month – so you can cut down on costs by reducing the amount of your staff who have access to the system.
And if times are hard and neither of the above options are feasible, you can lump for a free plan. Free CRM software is severely limited, and we tend not to recommend it for ambitious businesses. But it might be just what you need to take a breather, recalibrate your CRM strategy, and save some money to boot.
For more information, head to our page on CRM software costs.
#6: Privacy and ethical issues in CRM
G, D, P, R. By themselves, four harmless letters. But when combined, they stand for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – game-changing legislation introduced only a couple of years ago.
The GDPR ushered in a strict set of rules about how businesses are allowed to collect, manage, and utilise customer data. Since collecting, managing, and utilising customer data is sort of a CRM system’s raison d’etre, you can start to see the kind of roadblocks this legislation throws up for your team.
But it’s not just about striving to stay compliant (and avoid the hefty fines for those who get it wrong). There are obviously some distinct ethical issues floating around the storage and usage of customer data, and you owe it to your customers to protect their privacy.
So how do you juggle compliance and customer care, while striking a balance between profit and principle?
#7: Low employee engagement
No matter how hard you try to implement a new way of doing things, there’ll always be resistance.
Think of Fred, that grumpy, belligerent salesman who was chewing the fat by the water cooler when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. This relic is set in his ways, opposed to change – both technological and social – and has no interest in any of this ‘new-fangled’ CRM software you’ve put in front of him.
Fred is of course an archetype, but there are plenty like him – employees who, for whatever reason, refuse to engage with new ways of doing things.
Data tells us that six in ten salespeople are unwilling to change the processes that work for them, and – according to Tech.co – more than one in five businesses cite ‘embracing technology’ as the biggest challenge facing their company.
So how do you get your employees using your CRM, and engaging with the myriad features and possibilities it offers?
Well, you do it by showing them just how powerful your CRM system can be.
After all, CRM shouldn’t be seen as something to be forced upon your salespeople. It makes their jobs easier!
Likewise, the carrot almost always works better than the stick. Offer juicy incentives for your top earners, while rewarding the most creative marketing campaigns.
Once the Freds in your office catch on to how much time and effort a CRM can save them – and that it’s a shortcut to that bonus you’ve offered – they won’t be complaining.
You’re pretty well-equipped. Not only do you know what CRM does – and how it can benefit your business – but you have a comprehensive understanding of the pitfalls involved with implementation and uptake, too.
Armed with knowledge of these early CRM perils (and their solutions, of course) you’re in a position to seize control of your business’ destiny; forging more meaningful, enduring relationships with your customers.
If you already have a CRM, that is.
For those among you yet to find the right CRM supplier, don’t fret – we can help. You have a couple of options here:
- To do more research, head on over to our page on the best CRM systems for small businesses. We’ve researched, rated, and ranked eight leading suppliers to make things simple for you.
- Compare quotes right here, right now. Hit one of the buttons below to get started with our quick questionnaire. When you’re done, we’ll match you with hand picked CRM suppliers, who’ll be in touch with tailored quotes.
Good luck, and thanks for reading!