As the customer relationship management (CRM) project lead, you spent months researching the perfect software to modernize your sales process and improve your customers’ experience. You presented the top solutions to your senior leadership team and received consensus on the best choice. You painstakingly planned the implementation process and solicited help from business unit leaders in sales, marketing, and customer service. Yet somehow the system launch was a flop—technology glitches abound, and user adoption is low.

What went wrong?

Below are four reasons your CRM is underutilized today, and suggestions to turn the tide around.

FALLING FOR THE BELLS AND WHISTLES

Vendors who promise software that will do “anything you wish” are sugarcoating the truth. While CRM can be optimized for most business functions, buying a one-size-fits-all solution is the most complex and costly route you can take.

Businesses that do not define CRM project outcomes in advance are more prone to purchase a system that will never realize its full potential. If an organization uses only 75 percent of the chosen software’s total functionality, for example, the money sunk into the other 25 percent is essentially wasted, and a significant portion of the software is being underutilized.

Differentiate between your must-have and nice-to-have CRM features and choose a software your organization can grow with—not into.

FAILING TO SEEK IT OVERSIGHT

When a business unit such as sales or marketing deploys a CRM system without IT oversight, the organization is much more likely to face problems with integration, customization, support, and upgrades. Often these problems are not identified until the system is launched.

Those making the CRM buying decision may not understand which operational features to consider. Demos do not provide the breadth and depth of functionality that a systems expert would know to explore. Working with technical professionals guarantees a better experience for end users who are not tech-savvy.

Consider existing IT investments and infrastructure when you are ready to upgrade or reimplement your CRM.

WORKING WITH DIRTY DATA

Poor data quality costs businesses an average of $15 million per year, according to Gartner. In the case of CRM, bad data directly affects adoption. If users don’t trust existing data, they’re less likely to consistently and correctly enter new information or to hold themselves accountable to proper data standards.

Organizations that do not provide enough data entry training inevitably experience underutilization. Even worse, poor data quality can lead to inferior customer service, inaccurate revenue forecasting, and misinformed strategic decisions. When reviewing the initial project deployment plan, make sure there is ample time to migrate only accurate and clean data.

When applied correctly, CRM empowers users to easily manipulate data on a single platform—effectively engaging with customers and managing the sales and marketing pipelines.

OVERLOOKING THE ASSESSMENT PHASE

CRM underutilization always correlates with a rushed or omitted assessment phase. Many businesses eliminate an impact assessment because they believe it is too time consuming or difficult. But like any strategic planning process, the upfront investment pays off in the end.

Organizations that conduct a CRM assessment examine current business challenges and determine appropriate software functionalities for each strategic priority. For example, a manufacturing firm may require a tool that streamlines functions, from sourcing to shipping, all in one system—including production orders and bill of materials, sales and inventory forecasting, demand forecasting, and capacity planning.

 

By spending time assessing which CRM features will help to achieve your business goals, you will make a smarter, strategic investment that pays off in widespread CRM use.

 

When your CRM becomes a tool that users access every day, you can be confident the project was a success. Choose a solution your business can grow with, involve IT partners, clean up your data, and align software features with business goals. For help combating CRM underutilization, contact BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team today.

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