A B2B technology report from Informatica revealed that 25% of marketers don’t know their lead conversion rates, largely because they don’t have the right CRM strategy, which limits sales growth and work efficiency.

If a CRM does not provide immediate value and is overly complex to implement and maintain, it will fail to do what it was designed to do: increase sales.

On the other hand, a recent survey by Software Advice revealed that 74% of companies using the right CRM for their business say that it has improved their access to customer data, therefore allowing them to improve lead conversion and ultimately increase sales.

If your CRM is not working for you, here are five common reasons why:

1. No overarching strategy with relevant sales goal metrics

It’s critical that sales and marketing teams work closely together to set an overarching strategy with specific sales goals that can be tracked using a CRM, for example: lead conversions rates for specific sales pipelines.

Often times, companies don’t have a clear strategy or a system for tracking metrics like these, instead using their CRM as a glorified contact management system.

Stock photo of a pipeline

If you don’t currently have predefined goals and metrics, then you might be losing out on one of the key features of your CRM which should be providing a clear overview of your sales pipeline progress.

In order to keep your business on the track to sales growth, make sure that you set aside time to establish a clear strategy, define which sales metrics will be relevant and have both marketing and sales teams meet regularly to track progress through your CRM. 

2. Not utilizing CRMs effectively

According to a research report by BuyerZone, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM software and have great initial intentions for getting the most value out of them, yet after their teams utilize it for the first few months, usage wanes.

Many times, sales teams stop using CRMs altogether as they find it tedious to have to constantly update contact information.

Sales professionals often complain that inputting data into CRMs takes time away from pursuing opportunities. CRMs should be used to enable your sales teams, not hinder their productivity.

If CRMs are a drain on your team’s time, reduce complexity by utilizing tools that make it easier to input data, or find a new CRM that provides automated data entry, better functionality and seamless integration with other enterprise software.

3. Too complicated & too expensive to maintain

Companies often use the same CRM software that successful large enterprises use in order to be competitive.

Unfortunately, these popular CRMs can be very difficult to integrate due to their complex design, and are therefore not ideal for every type and size of company.

These CRMs often require a lot of money and time, since you must also hire third-party vendors to customize the system for specific business needs as well as train your teams to use them.

If you use one of the more popular CRM systems out of the box, there’s a good chance it may have been configured incorrectly and it could be costing you both time and money as your teams will not be able to fully utilize it to its full capacity. 

CRM software should be simple to integrate and easy to use from the beginning.

If your CRM is still giving you problems even after customizing it and your employees are constantly having to ask for assistance on how to do specific tasks, it may be time for you to seek out a much simpler CRM solution. 

4. Using a stand-alone CRM

Stand-alone CRMs are a holdover from many years ago and are very inefficient at transferring disparate data from the different tools that businesses often use, such as email marketing software for managing outbound communications.

A better solution – which many companies are using these days – is a fully integrated cloud-based CRM, as it presents a much more efficient way of integrating into the tools you regularly use.

Six years ago, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM while today this number has increased to 87% and continues to grow every day.

Some clouds

The benefits of fully integrated cloud-based CRMs are plentiful: they allow everyone on your team to easily access important information anywhere, transfer data from different programs and often automatically update data other sources.

All of this then leads to a speedier workflow and always up-to-date sales and contact data. 

5. Living with poor data quality

Data migration, integration and management are critical for a well-run CRM.

If your data is not aligned correctly or you have information in the wrong place, then your sales team will lose out on potential leads with missed follow-up appointments or incorrect contact information.

For this reason, it is important that someone regularly checks the data within your CRM system to remove duplicates, update contact information and standardize content.

Data inaccuracy is one of the biggest problems with CRM systems, but at the same time is also one of the easiest to fix if time is dedicated to maintaining it on a regular basis. 

In summary...

Here we’ve highlighted a few of the potential reasons why your CRM might not be helping increase your sales. If you suffer from any of these factors, it is time for you to take action now.

Create a plan for improvement or find a CRM solution better tailored to your company’s needs.

A CRM is a great tool for helping you increase sales but also one that must be continuously refreshed and utilized in the most appropriate manner to reap the greatest benefit.

Shaun Haase

Published 8 June, 2016 by Shaun Haase

Shaun is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProsperWorks, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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