Small Business Owners: What are your biggest CRM implementation and utilization challenges?
Customer Relationship Management is an effective tool, especially for small and medium businesses. It acts as a growth booster by providing valuable analysis of your customer’s behavior and their purchase patterns. With cut-throat competition in every industry, it is important to know your customers’ preferences to serve them better. In addition to serving the existing customers, a CRM platform helps to gather leads, thus contributing to the increase in sales. Cloud-based CRM tools like Salesforce have stood out with their business-friendly features. Yet, small businesses often contemplate the move to CRM. These tools do come with a set of challenges, but these obstacles can be overcome with the right strategies.
Let us look at some of the commonly perceived challenges related to CRM:
- Failing to define objectives: The biggest challenge or rather a mistake that many small businesses do is not setting clear objectives concerning the CRM adoption. Defining objectives limits the scope for wastage of time. This also offers transparency among the employees and an overall sense of “feel good” knowing that everybody is congruently headed towards a common goal.
- Re-aligning the Workforce concerning the CRM product: It is important to adjust the roles and the hierarchy of your staff keeping the CRM in mind. You might be thinking of CRM as just an automation tool, but it is a business enabler. Hence, it takes time and effort to get a good ROI from your CRM tool.
- Effective Customization: A common mistake done by many small businesses is implementing a CRM tool that is meant for a large enterprise. Your CRM must be customized keeping the minutest of details in mind, as the goal is to not just implement and operate the tool but to make sure it pays your business in the form of a good ROI. It is important to embed your CRM platform with your business’s sales process, to obtain maximum benefits.
- Integration with existing business practices: You must ensure that the CRM implementation does not disrupt your existing business practices. Of course, your company is expected to make alterations to gel with the new technology implemented. But it must not hinder major business processes. For example, the CRM platform should gel with existing services like email accounts, calendars, contacts, and online storage. Also, your existing business processes must be equipped to handle modern CRM features. These factors must be taken care of way before the CRM implementation.
- Flexibility: When we say flexibility, it applies to many factors. The CRM tool to be purchased should be flexible enough to allow deep customizations and should be adaptable to either cloud, on-premise, or private cloud. Else, the CRM will not be considered user-friendly by your personnel. Similarly, your business practices too must be flexible in adapting to the CRM implemented.
- Other miscellaneous challenges: Here are some other potential hurdles that might disrupt the smooth flow of the CRM to small businesses:
- A complicated system that is hard for the non-technical staff to comprehend.
- Lack of adequate training to use the platform successfully.
- Internal company policies about employee access to information in the CRM.
- A poorly experienced CRM vendor who is not equipped to handle and solve unforeseen problems.
- Irregular data entry by the Salespeople.
The challenges described above are pretty much self-explanatory as to how to avoid them in the first place. A CRM implementation can do wonders, especially to the SMB sector, as there is vast scope for growth. Naturally, any change is faced with resistance. But with adequate preparations and the right strategies, it can be overcome. Key factors related to your business, like people, technology, and the process must be in sync to make optimal use of a CRM implementation.