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“This CRM is not meeting our needs. I know it has only been a few months, yet I think we have to start from scratch.”

The leadership team who sat around the table had their stomachs drop. The team had just spent seven months selecting, and then migrating their project management, their sales leads and client data into a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The CEO came to understand that it did not meet their needs in functionality, nor in reporting. This tool had failed. Is this scene familiar to you?

Here are several steps to avoid CRM failure within your organization:

  • Make a list of your current software.
     
  • Review those company’s sites for products that integrate
     
  • Complete further research on strong tools that will meet your budget on sites, such as G2 Crowd, that will allow you to read reviews and compare products.
     
  • Your goal is to make a long list of 8-10 options or more.
     
  • Now create a list in Excel with the companies running down the left.
     
  • Meet as a team to make a long list of what you want along with what you do not want in the tool that will work for your team.
     
  • Place that list along the top of your excel sheet.
     
  •  Assign a team member who is detail-oriented, and research to find solid answers on how each option meets your needs.
     
  • When a product meets your needs, place an X under that requirement in that company’s row.
     
  • Visually, you will quickly see who and who does not meet your needs.
     
  • Your goal is to get your list down to three choices that meet your requirements as well as possible.
     
  • Once this short list is created, have a representative of each department that will be using the tool to be involved in a 30-day demo, as well as a training session from each company.
     
  • During those 30 days:
    • Be sure to use the tool to expose it to each of your company’s unique challenges.     
    • Also use the support team for the product. Be sure their support, hours and education meet your needs.

At the completion of those 30 days, meet as a team to discuss your experiences. Hopefully, one product will stand out. If not, you may need to look at the second top three to vet in the same manner.  As an organization, you must be ready to start from scratch and not settle for an inferior product. The investment in the product as well as the time invested to migrate is too great to accept less than great.

A great CRM tool will allow you to measure client growth, define your ideal client as well as identify workload capacity. It should be an extension of your team, a window to your future. The wrong product frustrates your team. It provides you with a wall to your client data, not a window.

Lastly, keep in mind throughout this process whether this tool will grow with your company. You would not hire someone who would not benefit the team as you grow. Do not pay for a CRM that cannot meet your needs as you grow.