The term CRM is banded around a lot these day referring to client relationship management – we all know that right – but are CRM’s all they are cracked up to be?

Go to a marketing expo and you will find every second stand filled with CRM software sales guys shouting about why you need their all singing all dancing CRM – but do you?

For the record, and hand on heart we feel we are qualified to give this advice because internally we have had multiple CRM systems over the years – none without fault we may add!

We are sure in the history of mankind there has never been a CRM that has been 100% successful and here are our top 3 reasons why!

We expect too much

We are often miss-sold a pipe dream; manageable data that can be manipulated to fit any sales or marketing campaign – but let’s be honest this is a bit of wishful thinking. It doesn’t matter how great your data is, you will always encounter issues.  Fields may not be compatible, integrations may only be achievable with generic applications and not with useful backend systems and then there are those glitches.

Let’s get real – no one really knows how to use it

And no we are not talking about understanding the basic functionality of CRM – we know this can be achieved with a little training.  We are talking about all those complexities and nuances of using a CRM system.  Getting to grips with the logic is downright tough and can turn your CRM into a snailsforce – forgive the joke.

Useless reports

Unlike customer service software where useful statistics such as team productivity are monitored, CRM reports can often prove useless. Customers are often sold a CRM on the pretence that reporting will make their life much simpler, only to find out later that you now spend most of your time bumbling around with fields and figures with the final outcome being just another useless report that doesn’t really offer much insight – believe us – we’ve been there.

Here’s what we think

  • If a business has a strong vision, strong USP and has a customer orientated approach to sales, it will be successful, with or without implementation of a CRM.
  • Move away from an over reliance on your CRM and focus on great communication – Conventional logic would dictate that customer data is the key driver. We believe this logic is wrong. And before you rush to hit cancel on your CRM user license agreement – we don’t mean scrap your CRM completely, however we do think that businesses often focus on the wrong areas.
  • Get your communication strategy right and then find the right tools to suit. A great multi-channel customer service package with a built in customer intelligence panel could be just what you are looking for those of you who deal with lots of customer queries on a day to day basis. Saving only relevant information such as purchasing and communication history this type of software can work well as a standalone solution or can complement a CRM.

In essence,  not all businesses need to invest in a traditional CRM system – a good customer engagement tool may be a better option in some cases. For those who have invested in a CRM – please don’t think we are saying CRM’s are dead – far from it.  We still use a CRM within our business, and yes from time to time we have issues, even downright frustrations but we aren’t ready to give it the boot just yet.  What we are saying is don’t place too much emphasis on your CRM.  Within certain businesses there is a very definite over reliance on making sure their CRM is up to date instead of focusing on the real sweet spot – delivering exceptional customer service.  Switch your attention to improving your customers’ experiences through better multi-channel communication management and truly transform your business.