If your organization has been entertaining the idea of implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction regarding what to expect from this type of software.
Sometimes the hype may seem too good to be true, and other times the obstacles may seem too great to overcome. Don’t let these myths distract or deter you. With a little research, your company will be able to easily identify, install, and optimize the platform that is best suited for your business.
To make it easier for you to understand what CRM software can deliver, let’s look at 10 of the most common misconceptions about this technology.
Discover 10 Common CRM Software Misconceptions
1: CRMs Are Only for Managing Relationships – Not for Making Sales
Don’t let the acronym fool you – CRMs are capable of so much more than simply managing customer relationships. In fact, plenty of organizations list “sales enablement” as the primary function of their CRM.
Having a well-structured CRM will empower your sales team to more efficiently prospect new business, nurture existing leads and drive sales. Additionally, CRMs are incredibly useful for retaining and upselling existing customers – two strategies that are often the most successful type of sales.
2: They Work out of the Box
As someone who has put together quite a bit of IKEA furniture, I’ve come to understand that virtually nothing works properly “out-of-the-box.” This principle, without question, applies to CRMs.
No matter which platform you choose, you will need to do some customization to make the system fit your sales cycle. Common customizations include:
- Lead Source – where did our leads come from?
- Deal Stage – how far along in the sales process is this prospect?
- Reporting – tracking KPIs and Revenue
- Plug-Ins – the additional bells and whistles that make your platform work with your other systems.
While there are some plug-and-play solutions available in the market, you’ll most likely need to do some light customization to ensure you’re set up for success. There are quite literally THOUSANDS of plug-ins to choose from, so do some research beforehand to see which of these options caters best to your business.
3: It Doesn’t Matter Which One You Choose – They’re All the Same
This is a dangerous misconception — especially if you’re planning to invest considerable time and resources towards CRM implementation.
Make sure you do your due diligence prior to selecting a platform. You need to make sure that the functionality, integration options, and available customization is congruent with your business’s operational infrastructure and strategy. Choosing the wrong platform could cost your business a considerable amount of time and money in customizing the CRM to meet your business needs.
4: Sales Will Increase Automatically
One of the most common misconceptions about CRMs is that sales activity and revenue will increase overnight. This logic, without question, is incorrect.
A wise man once said, “Patience you must have, my young padawan.” Yes, that’s definitely Yoda from Star Wars, but you get the point. CRM implementation will eventually help your sales team become much more efficient, but expecting productivity to increase automatically is just plain wrong.
I’ve spoken to a few business owners who were discouraged by the lack of sales immediately following implementation but were soon blown away by the increase in productivity and revenue after everyone became familiar with the platform.
Having a robust CRM infrastructure will certainly enable your team to increase the velocity at which they’re closing deals, but it is still a function of time and does not happen overnight. Let your team get comfortable with the new platform prior to rushing to judgment. Listen to Yoda.
5: They Slow Down Your Sales Team
Anyone who has experience operating within a sales organization knows that there’s one thing all sales representatives despite – putting barriers between them and “their money.” If you’ve ever done something to slow them down, I’m sure you’ve heard the public outcry.
I’ve personally participated in the design and implementation of numerous CRMs, and I can certainly attest to the fact that the sales team was not initially receptive to the idea in any way, shape, or form. I’ve always found that the best way to overcome this obstacle was to simply show the sales team how much easier the platform makes their day-to-day tasks and objectives.
Whether it’s automating personalized outreach to existing clients or simplifying the way they engage new prospects, the proof is in the pudding. Once the sales team observes the platform’s efficiency, they’ll all be eager and enthusiastic to get started.
6: It Takes the Human Element Out of the Sales Process
People often wonder, “How can any platform understand when and how to communicate with my prospects better than I can?” This is a completely understandable reaction to the implementation of any new sales technology.
Once you demonstrate to the sales team that a CRM won’t turn them into robots and that they can customize the content, sequence, and frequency of their communication with prospects and customers –they’ll be eager to design and deploy their own personalized outreach strategy.
Make sure that everyone is aware that the CRM is simply a means for them to increase the velocity at which they’re able to close deals and that the system is not in any way meant to take their personal touch out of the sales process.
7: Everyone on the Sales Team Will Buy-In Immediately
I’ve found this misconception to be particularly evident in organizations that rely on the outside sales model, such as Yellow Pages publishers. In my experience, any sales reps who have historically conducted and closed business face-to-face will be fundamentally opposed to the introduction of sales automation technology.
The good news is as soon as the naysayers see how much more efficient other members of the team have become because of leveraging the platform, they’ll start singing a different tune.
Sometimes people worry that new technology is going to make them obsolete. Counter this by showing them how the tool makes them more money, and you’ll get team-wide buy-in!
8: Training the Team How to Use the CRM Will Be Easy
I’ve always subscribed to the school of thought that learning and education is a continuous and ongoing process. During implementation, it’s important to have comprehensive training on your new software, but it’s even more important that you continually advise your team on new features and functionality.
There are always optimizations that can be made to a CRM, and it is crucial to communicate these updates to your team. If you’re not constantly improving the way you leverage your CRM, how could you possibly expect your team to make better use of it?
CRM training should become a regular event in your organization to ensure the team is always up-to-speed with the functionality and workflow of the platform.
9: “A CRM Won’t Work for My Kind of Business – We’re Too Unique”
Arguably the most pretentious of all objections to CRM adoption. Any business owner, sales leader, or managerial group who thinks their business is “too unique” to implement a CRM is fundamentally wrong.
Do you want data on sales rep activity? Do you want to be able to tie that data to closed deals? Do you want to be able to change your processes to close more deals based on data? I thought so.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling – a CRM will ultimately help your business operation become more streamlined and effective.
10: You Won’t Be Able to Justify the Cost
One of the key components of any CRM is reporting functionality. You can design a plethora of custom reports to show you how much revenue has been generated in a specific date range, by a specific sales rep, after a certain number of touches, so on – and so forth.
With the ability to track so many metrics and revenue paths, it’s quite simple to quantify the return on your investment. Also, there are dozens of free CRMs available. Technically speaking, any sale made using a free platform has already more than justified its “investment.”
So, how many of these myths have you heard? Is anything still concerning to you?
Contact us today or more information on how to take your marketing strategies to the next level, and to learn which techniques are right for your specific business.