Common CRM Buying Mistakes

By Charron Conley
Updated: February 14, 2011

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems appeal to a wide variety of businesses because of several benefits they offer. There are a number of key advantages generated by refining the services received by customers. CRMs are also helpful in building and leveraging an effective and insightful database of customer information. Choosing the right CRM can bring challenges because there is so much information pertaining to it that it’s easy to fall into some well-known traps. In order to get the best possible system, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Defining CRM Goals

Setting clear-cut goals is the first step in choosing the right CRM solution. Routinely, the more intricate the goal is, the more complex the CRM system. If goals are overcomplicated, the project may never get out of the starting gate. Examples of goals would be suppoting sales, or to have more successful support resolutions, obtain advanced customer satisfaction ratings. It will help immensely to be very transparent on what is needed from the CRM.

Then also ask questions: How long will it take to recognize the ROI? What adaptations to this will be needed if the company grows? If there are well thought-out expectations, it will be much easier to get the right fit in choosing a system.

CRM Budgets

Understanding that CRM is not a one-time expense is something to be prepared for. There can be ongoing costs associated with maintenance and developments. Make sure the system will be budgeted accordingly.

CRM Software Training

If employees are confused or unable to use the CRM, the systems will not reach its full benefits. Simply just buying the system is not enough; not knowing how to utilize it another common mistake of buyers. Many CRM dealers offer guidance consultants that visit the company during their rollout phase and for refresher sessions. Both small and large companies should consider investing in this service since adequate training will save money in the long term.

Buying CRM to solve a management problem

Perceiving a CRM as a magic solution can be a very big mistake. Although, when spending money on a system like this, results may be expected instantly, it’s really a matter of what is put into it as well. CRM can help improve the sales, marketing, and service management, but it can’t be in charge of them. This is a tool to help management be more efficient. This can be the largest money waster of all.

Before any money is spent on a CRM, make sure there is a goal in mind and someone who is managing it as well. For example make sales higher, standardize the lead-generation process, or track the ROI from all advertising efforts. Then figure out most importantly, who will be using the CRM to make these goals happen. Once that is decided put a timeframe together. If there isn’t a clear view of any monetary or efficiency benefits within 12 months than this system should be reconsidered.

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