Your CRM is built to work for you and designed to succeed with you. It processes and stores all your valuable client data while highlighting key relationships. Your CRM even automates administrative tasks to save your team time, so don’t compromise its value with avoidable implementation and maintenance mistakes. Here are six deadly CRM mistakes and what you can do to prevent them.

Mistake #1: Not cleaning your data prior to implementation

Dirty data leads to major problems. Old, irrelevant, or duplicate data clogs your systems and skews reports, even hindering your CRM analysis and forecasts. If you think implementing a new CRM will solve the problem, you’re mistaken. The same dirty data will transfer into the new CRM and your whole team will continue to operate with misleading information. The best solution is to properly clean your data prior to implementation. You’ll improve CRM efficiency by keeping only what’s relevant. Additionally, data cleansing is significantly easier to do before implementation rather than after. You will have less data to move, quicker transitions, and be more organized, increasing your chances for a successful result.

Mistake #2: Not understanding your sales & marketing processes prior to implementation

This mistake certainly spells disaster for your CRM implementation. Not only will you have no idea which CRM is best for your business, but you’ll have no clue which features are necessary to achieve your business goals. As a result, you may end up with something ill-suited for your specific line of work and wasteful of your valuable budget.

The easy solution is to sit down with your sales, marketing, and service teams to get the gist of their processes. What capabilities do they want that they don’t have now? How have their processes changed over time and what kinds of adaptations will the software need to keep up? You don’t have to be an expert, but understanding these concepts will give you a good idea of the CRM features you’re looking for. Your team is in the trenches day-in and day-out, so listen carefully to their concerns and you’ll realize how those translate to the corresponding CRM features. Ask them to help you by ranking their desired features from one to five to give you a baseline for your CRM search. Learn their processes, base your CRM choice off what you learned, and create an implementation plan accordingly.

Mistake #3: Not following an implementation process

Another harmful CRM mistake you could be making is not following an implementation process. According to a Merkel Group study, up to 63% of CRM implementations fail. With a statistic like this, it crucial to create — and stick to— a solid implementation plan. Without a plan, CRM implementation can quickly go awry, taking too long to roll out with too many changing variables. An implementation plan keeps your CRM project simple and straightforward. Data will remain clear and organized, and milestones will mark the progress of the project. If you’re unsure of what an implementation plan should entail, a CRM consultant (like TAI!) can guide you.

Mistake #4: Not providing training for new employees

Not only does this costly CRM mistake set employees up for failure, but it will hinder their ability to collaborate with the rest of your team. New employees are considered “new” for a reason; they may need some help learning the ropes. Whether the employee is a professional or a recent college graduate in his first entry-level position, CRM training is key. If that individual has never used your system before, he can’t possibly be expected to perform to the best of his ability. Obviously, there is a learning curve, but the quicker employees move past that, the sooner they will start to close deals and turn a profit. Hosting training seminars and providing your team with the resources necessary to succeed is a must. Current employees can sit in for a refresher course or even teach new members the CRM tricks they use most. Once everyone is on the same page, all departments will function as a true team.

Mistake #5: Not updating your CRM as business processes change

Your business’ demands evolve over time. Forms require updates to remain accurate and procedures that worked in the past may be inadequate today. Keeping your CRM up-to-date helps you maximize its uses for your changing business. New capabilities enhance the power of your data and can simplify some of your more recently initiated processes. When a new release comes out, make sure you investigate the features associated with the update. Will they help your team streamline their strategies?

In some cases, a CRM update could even inspire a new process. For example, one of the products TAI advises on recently came out with a feature that allows sales people to instantly pull lead information from all over the Web right into the CRM. If your company has a workflow for lead research, how might that change with the implementation of this new feature? An up-to-date CRM keeps your data stable as procedures evolve so you can continually improve your CRM efficiencies for better business outcomes.

Mistake #6: Not providing ongoing training for new CRM features & processes

This concept goes hand-in-hand with updating your CRM as business processes change. What good does a new and improved CRM do if your team doesn’t know how to use its new features? It’s crucial that your team evolves with your CRM. Providing ongoing training for employees is essential to maintain productivity levels and keep new CRM functions from being rendered useless. The simple solution is to conduct periodical meetings which address all new functions and how to use them. Thus, all team members will be on the same page, your CRM and data will continue to be updated, and you can take advantage of your data potential once again.

Avoid these six key CRM mistakes to ward off the avoidable roadblocks to CRM success. With the right guidance and strategies, it’s easy to realize your data potential. Don’t forget, the knowledgeable team at TAI is here to help every step of the way!

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