The Truth About CRMs

Your CRM can suddenly become the most fascinating part of your business when you are using it competently.


Most of us would have heard of, or are currently using, a CRM – a Customer Relationship Management tool. In summary, CRM software gives businesses a centralized system for organizing contact data, managing opportunities, and communicating with customers.


I run my company using CRM best-practice and if by-chance, my CRM happened to disappear or break down on me, the first thing I would do, is cry all the tears in the world.


Why, you may ask… because apart from enabling my sales process and increasing its efficiency, my CRM gives my business the roadmap for revenue. Where it’s coming from, when it will arrive, how will it get here, what does the future look like.


That data affords me the luxury to accurately forecast and predict recruitment decisions, budgeting and investment requirements and financial planning.


In fact, I check my CRM more frequently than my bank account.


You too, can enjoy the benefits a CRM offers.


Some businesses are even using one without realising they are – even the simple Outlook and the ever-useful Excel can serve as the basis of a CRM – and in some cases, even be used very effectively.


According to recent research, 91% of companies with 10 or more employees use some form a CRM to manage interactions with customers.


Furthermore, CRM software can increase sales by as much as 29% while improving sales forecasting accuracy by up to 32% and improving sales productivity by 39% according to recent research


Those are stats that will excite any business leader. It gets even better – the ROI of CRMs are now estimated to be $30.48 for every $1 spent.


Do you need one? Got one but not sure how to get the returns? Is it too good to be true?


First, these stats are founded on some strong evidence and they absolutely are true for a lot of businesses. Yet, there is always a ‘but’, and in this case, a substantial one too.


As I’ve highlighted recently, follow up is key to winning in sales (see article here), and a CRM tool (even a basic one) can really help businesses maintain that discipline and even empower that process. It also helps you keep to that sales process you have developed.


I’ve used CRMs from the ‘all singing-all dancing’  top tier version of Salesforce, through to the free version of Hubspot, so read on for some insights on whether you need one, and if you have one, how to get more ROI from it.


What get’s measured, get’s done.


KPMG highlights that user adoption of a new CRM platform is a crucial element of success when looking at CRM return on investment (CROI). However, the key issue lies in the lack of planning and not building their system to meet the needs of the users.


I’ve seen so many businesses spend so much time and money on CRMs and automation and people yet not get the ROI they want from their systems. Here are some reasons why they don’t achieve their ROI:


  • Everyone’s different – different BDMs, account managers, client liaison teams use it differently according to the type of person they are and how they approach and manage their sales process and relationships.
  • Skill discrepancy – a good CRM can help a bit but if you don’t know how to sell or negotiate, it’s only going to be as good as your ability. And so many companies invest in a CRM but forget to keep training the team.
  • No discipline – CRM use should be a regular discipline, like checking your emails. If the data isn’t entered regularly and accurately, it’s worthless.
  • No process – The biggest hurdle to CRM effectiveness is not actually having an effective sales process that the CRM is actually meant to help enable. And I see this too often where companies scope out the requirements and use of a CRM without first having a proper sales process – and not just stages in a journey, but an actual step by step process for every stage.


If you’re investing in your CRM already, or thinking of one, you need to ensure you work on your sales process most importantly, and then ensure sufficient training is provided.


What good is a CRM if it’s not used for what it is actually designed to do – enable and bring greater efficiency and effectiveness for a sales (and marketing) process.


I don’t have one yet – so I should?


There are two parts to this answer – and it should be clear by now:


So yes, I would advise all businesses who want to enjoy the benefits a good sales process can bring, to invest in one. And there are plenty out there that can suit your specific stage and level of requirement – from free but effective ones to completely customised platforms. BUT,


If you don’t have a plan or a sales process and continual training and refinement, then you’re likely going to end up spending more money and wasting more time, which will be counter effective.


It’s not very difficult, and I’m happy to provide some advice on this process.


I have one but how do I improve the effectiveness?


You’ve got a wonderfully powerful tool in your hands, you just need to know how best to utilise it!


As I’ve explained, it is important you review your sales process because that is the key foundation and catalyst for CRM ROI. So check out my other content about building a sales process or reach out and I’ll be happy to review your current processes.


Secondly, also invest in training! Make sure you’re not just tweaking the system but you’re also upskilling and training your staff on key selling and negotiating skills.


I hope this helps and please reach out if you have any questions or would like some assistance related to this topic.