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Why Your CRM Tool Is Not Working: Hint, It’s Kind of Like Friendship

by | 13. August 2018

A customer relationship management system (CRM) could be likened two types of friends: the first, the friendship where you meet for coffee every few months and happily gab for an hour and at the end say, “we should meet more often”, but it never happens. Or a CRM system could be the friend who comes over just so you can binge on a Netflix show or books you a hotel when you’re overseas and you’re credit card isn’t working. A CRM system could be your feel-good stand-in or add true value to your work.

A CRM system could be a good add-on to your business or a system that truly supports you through every phase of growing your business.

When implementing a CRM, what are you expecting from the system? Like different kinds of friendships, your expectations of a CRM mean varying degrees of pitfalls. If you want a CRM system that sends simple notifications to meet up with Customer #4 in September, then the risk for incorrect use is naturally lowered. But if you’re a business owner who understands that an effective CRM be largely integrated to recruit and retain customers, the risks for pitfalls increase.

When it comes to CRM: No risk, no glory—and money left on the table.

If you’re ready to add true value to your company through CRM, avoid these common pitfalls:

1. Pitiful CRM budget

To create value, you must invest in setting up an effective CRM program. Per sales person, a CRM can increase revenue by an incredible 41%. That’s serious moola. Companies often make the mistake to set aside a hefty sum for external processes, like marketing or brick-and-mortar expansion. They fail to give a healthy budget for internal processes. What they do not understand is that when internal processes are optimized, external efforts become further empowered and optimized, for a fraction of the cost. For example, an effective CRM tool retains customers. This means less dollars spent on marketing. Marketing can use that extra budget to attract even more customers, to understand where potential customers are, and what they can exactly offer them to stick around. Set aside a financial budget, but be sure to set time aside for training as well. A great CRM tool is useless if people do not understand the technology or it becomes too time-consuming to learn.

2. Choosing a generic CRM tool

Many tools require minimal information, usually types of information that have little to do with the nut-and-bolt processes. Pick a CRM tool that requires clear objectives, coordinates the needed actors in managing customers, and the technology functionality. A one-size-fits-all CRM tool will be little effective to a growing company. A design firm possesses different needs than a electronics manufacturing plant. As a company grows and the specific needs becomes apparent in their generic CRM tool, the value will be delayed as a company and a vendor must build new features and negotiate prices.

3. Signing off on vendor’s design choice

Setting up a CRM system takes time, so it’s understandable why a company would entrust a vendor to have the optimal design for their service. If the design wasn’t good, how could a vendor be in business? Like the dangers of choosing a generic CRM tool, it’s costly to assume a vendor’s choice of process design would be optimal for all their clients. Sit down your vendor with the exact outcomes you wish from the tool. Talk about the processes that happen internally and how their technology can support existing workflow. Picking the exact requirements in the beginning will save you time and money in the long wrong. If tech requirements aren’t discussed, a vendor will go ahead and develop their out-of-the-box solution.

4. Employee adoption purgatory

New tech means new change, which means it takes time to get the tool into use. CRM is not a stand-alone method of recruiting and retaining customers. The employees using the CRM tool must be using the technology to make it useful. Employees not utilizing new tech is typically called the “adoption problem”. Ironically, a new piece of tech that can truly save time and work often does not get used. Employees are sometimes resistant, hesitant, or confused by the new technology. Train employees to properly use the tool. Otherwise you’ll be left with an useless process.

5. Lack of “Big Picture” CRM strategy

This is the biggest mistakes business owners make. Without a clear vision of the goal that a CRM will provide a company, the CRM will become a platitude, rather than a successful tool. Even if you already have a CRM tool, have migrated the data, created customer profiles, and integrated marketing tools, do you have a long term strategy in place? To create a strategic CRM system, think in terms of hi-level vision and organizational practicality.


  • What the most important outcomes in my business?
    • In 1 year?
    • In 3 years?
    • In 5 Years?
  • Of the outcomes, which creates the most impact?
  • How can my CRM support the ones with the most impact?
  • What are the metrics to measure success?

People & Processes

  • On a everyday basis, how are employees  going to use the CRM?
  • How will new hires be trained to use CRM?
  • What is the training schedule for employees when new updates are released?
  • How will teams from marketing and customer success be using CRM effectively?

A CRM tool can be a life-creator or an insignificant means in customer retention strategies. Avoid the common mistakes and profit from a healthy and happy customer base. Now, that’s an added-value relationship.

At Shore, we’re dedicated to supporting business owners. We streamline the entire process of managing a business.

From smart appointment booking, digital customer management, and equipping you with marketing tools for customer retentionthink of us as your personal assistant in running your company.

We handle the daily, so you can focus on the grind.

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Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor