Is it Time to Replace Your CRM?

Inevitably, all software applications outlive their effectiveness and need to be replaced. Perhaps your company has seen significant growth, your business model has shifted over time, or maybe technology is passing you by. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are no different, but the decision to replace an enterprise-grade application is not one that can be taken lightly. When you consider the cost of implementing a new solution, replacing the existing software package can be a difficult decision. Luckily, there are a few ways you can tell if it is time to take a different route with your CRM.

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to 3 or more of the following 10 questions then you’re probably a candidate for a CRM replacement:

  • Integration: does your CRM lack the technology to easily integrate to 3rd party solutions, particularly mission critical systems such as an ERP or Marketing automation system?
  • CRMReplace
  • Do your ‘leads’ consist of a stack of business cards in someone’s desk drawer?
  • Are you spending money maintaining your system without any clear ROI?
  • Has upper management abandoned use of the system for any intelligent data?
  • Is your business model no longer adequately supported by the CRM functionality?
  • Does your system lack certain technological features like a full mobile user interface?
  • Do your sales reps ask your IT department to create basic reports for them?
  • Do you need more than a few seconds to find an existing customer's order or purchase history?
  • Does your sales team find it easier to track their sales activities in a spreadsheet than in your CRM?
  • Is your marketing team sending prospecting emails to your customers every week?
  • Are your sales managers spending more time merging sales reports to review pipelines than they are managing the sales team?

Ok, so now you’re realizing that you may need to look at replacing your CRM. What do you do next?

The first thing to do once you've decided to evaluate a new system is to determine your business goals for the system. What do you want to accomplish with the CRM? How will the needs and usage of the next system be different than they are with the current system?

The reason for repeating this step is that it's very likely your goals and pain points have changed since you did it the first time. It's just as important to get this right the second time as it was on the first implementation.

The next step is to put a cross functional team together that will help evaluate the solution. Select people, who are savvy about CRMs, committed to success and represent all the major areas/departments affected by the CRM installation.

One important consideration is data migration: moving the data from the old system to the new one. The data is critical whichever CRM system you use and ease of moving it over is a very important consideration that will have a large effect on the schedule and cost of the implementation.

Identify the features that are most important to your organization and its users (i.e. ease of integration, scalability, ease of use, mobile features, cost, etc.), and request demos of 3 to 4 products. Make sure your cross functional team is involved in the demos, and give the vendor all the info they need to show you what the system can really do.

Once you find something that stands apart, you’ll want to select a consultant to help guide you through the process. This should go faster than it did the first time around because you know more and you've gotten a better idea of what you want from your consultant. Don't try to implement a CRM system without outside guidance. It’s like changing the oil in your car; you may think it’s pretty simple but there are a lot of pieces involved that can make it much more difficult than it looks.

Salesforce should be high on your list of CRMs to evaluate. Salesforce is the world’s leading provider of CRM solutions. Their CRM products include cloud-based solutions and apps for sales, service, marketing, collaboration, analytics, and building custom apps and mobile apps. With the Salesforce cloud-computing model, the solutions can instantly scale and be customized to the needs of small businesses, medium businesses and enterprises as you grow and change. Salesforce CRM solutions will save your company time and money by automating tasks that can keep your people from focusing on customers and big picture initiatives.

Once you roll out your new CRM you’ll be ready to jump start your marketing team, reinvigorate your sales team and get everyone focused on lead generation, relationship building and win rates.