Should You Break Up with Your CRM Solution?

It started out so well. The future was full of promise, and it seemed there was so much you could accomplish together. But now you're feeling a bit disappointed and you're not sure why—your CRM just sits there, taking, taking, taking, and giving little in return.

Here are four indicators that it may be time to break up with your CRM solution.

1. It Doesn't Sync with Your Address Books

When you get new leads or prospects, you want to start working on turning them into closed opportunities right away, right? As smartphones become the center of our professional lives, you should be able to enter a contact into your smartphone's address book and have it automatically appear in your CRM system. The same goes for emails. Simply forwarding an email from a new lead to your CRM solution should be enough to get you going, so you can focus on building the client relationship instead of on data entry.

If your CRM system doesn't talk to your address books, be they Outlook, Google Contacts, or your smartphone, and sync new contacts automatically between it and your address books, you should really think about breaking up with it. Not only is it a waste of time to have to double- or triple-enter things, but the busier you get, the more likely you are to forget. Essentially, your CRM solution will stop being useful just when you need it the most.

2. You Have to Repeat Yourself

You're waiting for a train or bus. You open your smartphone and see a new email from a client, so you tap out a short reply to answer his question and put your phone back in your pocket. Your client is happy, you're happy, but your CRM system is clueless. Unless you remember to go into your CRM system and copy and paste the contents of the email, it has no idea about this client communication, and, even worse, none of your colleagues do either!

If your CRM system doesn't automatically connect to your email, especially emails you send from your smartphone, you should really think about breaking up with it. Your time is much too valuable to be spent copying and pasting from your inbox or outbox. Even if you've accepted the penalty of using a substandard email interface baked into your CRM solution, you probably check and reply to email so much on your smartphone that you need a CRM solution that talks to email no matter what device it's sent from.

3. It Doesn't Care About Your Day

Our calendars are home to our highest-value client interactions: our scheduled calls, meetings, and follow-ups. You should be able to schedule an appointment with a client from Outlook, your Google Calendar, or your smartphone calendar, send the client an invite, and know that your CRM system has made a note and record about this client event.

If your CRM system doesn't automatically sync with your calendar and import all of your client-related meetings, you should really think about breaking up with it. If it doesn't know about these most important client interactions without you needing to double-enter them yourself (and keep track of changes and cancellations!), you're going to stop trusting it to be accurate.

4. It Only Cares About Sales

If you really care about client relationships, you know that a relationship often starts before you're trying to sell a client, and goes well beyond a signed contract. You need to keep an eye on delivery to make sure you're meeting client expectations, and keep in touch to make sure you're in the driver's seat when it is time for them to buy again. To do this well, your CRM solution needs to have scope beyond the sale, and give you insights into how your production, project, support, and service teams are interacting with your client.

If it doesn't go beyond the sale, covering the client relationship into fulfillment and ongoing management, you should really think about breaking up with it. It costs six to seven times more to win a new customer than retain an existing one, so if your CRM solution is only fixated on managing a sales opportunity and is blind to the post-sale relationship, you're either in serious trouble or relying on good luck, and luck never lasts forever.

It is natural that the most important aspects of your client relationships happen outside your CRM system, but that doesn't mean they should remain isolated. With a robust solution that integrates all of your important client contacts, communications, events, timelines, and statuses, you can elevate productivity, improve client relationships, and achieve meaningful business results.

Geoff McQueen is the founder and CEO of AffinityLive, a company that creates cloud-based CRM, project management, service, and billing software for the professional service sector.

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