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7 common mistakes to avoid when using CRM software

In pursuit of business growth, more and more companies understand that simply collecting data is not enough to achieve success. The data collected are a treasure trove of information that can and should be used to build lasting relationships with customers and bring value to your business. However, managing continuously growing amounts of information is almost impossible without implementing an efficient CRM solution. With a robust CRM system, even small startups can gain valuable insights from their customer data and use them to deliver better customer service.

Yet, CRM implementation and its proper management are often easier said than done. These processes have many potential pitfalls, which can cause many hidden negative effects on the effectiveness and growth of your business. In this article, we will discuss the top seven most common mistakes that companies make when using CRM systems, and learn how to avoid them.

1. Leveraging outdated, redundant or incomplete data

Data is a really powerful business asset, but only when it’s complete and correct. Using incorrect and outdated information is often misleading and can sometimes even be damaging to business decisions you make based on the data.

Unfortunately, the efficiency of your CRM platform is also clearly dependent on the quality of the data it stores. No matter whether you’re importing records to a new CRM instance or continuing to use your current one, there are a host of issues that can arise if you’re cluttering it with outdated, false, or incomplete information.

A constantly growing number of duplicate records, incomplete or missing fields, and faulty entries are only but a few symptoms of bad CRM data. Bad data can lead to spending more time to find a required customer record, inaccurate reporting results, never answered messages, lost leads, missed sales opportunities, and even a poor brand reputation.

If you suspect that you have problems with bad data, the best thing will be to clean it before importing records into a new instance. In case such records are already in your database, you can use the CRM functionality to fix them. Most modern CRM solutions have built-in features that allow users to identify duplicate records and merge them. Moreover, to prevent creating incomplete records, the software provides the ability to mark certain fields as required. This ensures that your employees won’t be able to save new records without filling in all necessary fields.

Remember that using outdated and incomplete records causes not only much confusion among your employees, but also has a negative influence on your sales, customer retention, marketing initiatives, and even your customer support.

2. Creating too many unnecessary and unutilized entities, relationships and fields.

One of the major benefits of CRM software is its ability to centralize various types of data that come from different sources. Yet, in pursuit of gathering as much information about current and potential customers as possible, businesses often lead their platforms to information overload. In addition, large amounts of redundant and unnecessary information often distract employees’ attention and clutter the software.

The best way to avoid these problems is to thoughtfully and carefully review what information really matters to your business. It is important to understand that disabling unnecessary and unutilized fields, entities and relationships is not a matter of sacrificing data. It is a matter of making your software more robust, performative, and intuitive for your employees. Moreover, by storing only relevant information, you enable employees to stay focused on things and tasks that really matter to the growth of your business.

3. Failing to fully use CRM data

In practice, a shocking number of companies fail to use CRM data to the fullest. The ongoing dilemma lies in the fact that a great number of businesses utilize their CRMs only to store customer information and keep track of deals. By doing so, they do not analyze data and thus miss the ability to make data-driven business decisions. Without analysis, even the highest quality data may become useless.

Most CRM systems offer advanced reporting tools that allow you to automate data analysis and get deep insights into the effectiveness of every aspect of your business. These insights may help a company better understand customer needs, evaluate the effectiveness of different sales strategies and marketing initiatives, assess the performance of each team or employee, and much more. By having all this information at hand, it’s easier to identify and improve the pain points of your business, determine market trends and set realistic goals for your business growth plan.

4. Not utilizing CRM automation tools

CRM software is more than just a fancy repository of customer addresses, contact information, and your employees’ notes about deals or revenue. It is also an effective tool aimed at automating and streamlining a wide variety of business processes related to sales, marketing, and customer support. Yet, even though the CRM automation tools can save a lot of time and resources, quite often the implementation of these tools is overlooked.

The smart use of BPM and Workflow automation tools can put on autopilot a lot of routine tasks and even operational sequences. With the help of these tools, it is possible to automate lead nurturing, sending support case follow-ups, invoicing, creation of tasks, calls and meetings, etc. What is more, using the CRM platform to put an emphasis on business process automation allows businesses to seize the opportunity to close more deals, increase lead conversion, prioritize maintaining strong customer relationships, and building brand trust.

5. Lack of third-party integrations

Nowadays, CRM integration with key third-party business tools is an absolute must-have. Without the synergy between a CRM instance and other applications, it is almost impossible to get a clear view of customers, processes and overall business performance.

When integrated correctly, the CRM software turns into a centralized hub for storing complete information about each business operation and organizing effective collaboration across all company departments. And on the contrary, a failure to integrate platforms often leads to siloed and incomplete data and decreases employee productivity. It can compromise not only the quality of customer service and sales performance, but also the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives.

The best way to avoid transforming your CRM into an isolated data island is by setting up smooth integrations with business email accounts, telephony providers, calendars, marketing and customer support tools, etc. In this way, the CRM system enables employees with instant access to up-to-date and accurate data, which reduces the number of human errors and the amount of staff stress.

6. Lack of adequate employee training

The success of CRM implementation can be measured by the level of end-user adoption and involvement in using the platform. Nevertheless, some companies ignore the need for employee training and assume that their staff will figure out on their own how to use the system correctly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t yield the best results. It often leads to a situation in which employees who are forced to learn the software on their own start feeling overwhelmed with the amount and complexity of the new tool.

All of that results in a negative and frustrating experience with the new software and encourages employees to slip back to their old ways of managing data without a CRM system. Therefore, training the staff on how to properly use a CRM solution and explaining how they can benefit from it should become the key steps in the CRM implementation plan. By doing so, businesses prevent the risks of poor employee engagement with the software, reduced productivity, increased work stress, and staff turnover. When employees know how and why they use CRM software, they are more motivated to achieve business goals and embrace its implementation more easily.

7. Not customizing the CRM platform to meet your business needs

There is hardly a CRM solution that is a perfect fit for your business out of the box. It is clear that each platform needs some degree of customization to suit specific business processes. If a business doesn’t customize the software to fit its particular requirements, it risks overlooking the functionality that could otherwise substantially help increase business performance and boost revenue.

Adapting the software to the nuances of the company’s business processes often involves creating additional fields and entities to store information, setting up integrations with other business tools, changing the system interface, editing labels, and even adding new features. All of that allows organizations not only to automate a range of tedious operations and better organize business data, but also to make the software more intuitive for their employees.

Final thoughts

The ultimate purpose of CRM software is to help companies build strong relationships with customers and boost revenue. A properly implemented CRM software is indeed a powerful tool to streamline business processes and align them with customer strategies. Yet, in the inexperienced or wrong hands, a CRM can be quickly turned into a company’s enemy rather than its friend. Misusing and/or underutilizing a CRM system can have a damaging influence on any business, regardless of the industry it belongs to. No matter whether you’re adopting a new CRM system or reviewing the current one, we hope that this article will help you to determine the pain points of your system and fine-tune it to fully meet your business needs.