The main purpose of CRM upgrades is to keep your functionality and features current. The hope is that keeping the software up-to-date will maximize the agility and usefulness of your data. However, if your CRM is teeming with outdated information, duplicate accounts, and unnecessary customizations, the upgrade probably won’t help you very much—unless you use it as an opportunity to clean house.
Upgrade time is the perfect time to reflect on your CRM data, and on your CRM customizations. Many companies try to make their CRM a catch-all by adding a plethora of customizations, but this plan often backfires in the long run. While some customization is necessary to personalize the CRM for your business, an overabundance can lead to some serious pitfalls.
The most paralyzing of these pitfalls happens when your upgrade breaks the customizations – which is common. Every break requires a serious cost to rewrite the customization to fit/function in/function with the upgraded software. The investment is a waste if the customization is not used or no longer needed. Using an upgrade to clean your CRM has its perks:
1. It’s Cheaper
If you do a blanket upgrade, your unused customizations may need to be rewritten to match, but, if you know in advance you’re going to drop those customizations, you won’t have to expend resources to rewrite them. All the customizations need to be tested too, whether they needed rewriting or not. So, the less you must test, the less time and personnel costs you waste.
2. It Gets Rid of Garbage Customizations
This ties into #1. Analyzing your customizations before an upgrade gives your team an opportunity to decide which customizations are worth saving and which are now useless. Businesses change over time and processes can change with them, so when a customization is no longer necessary, someone needs to tell that to the IT department or the CRM partner so it can be dropped. Unfortunately, that conversation happens less often than it should.
The upgrade is your catalyst for having this conversation! No one wants to take hours out of their day to discuss obsolete customizations unless it’s a moment when those customizations could affect them. If the garbage customizations break your upgrade, everyone will have to deal with the productivity loss, and the motivation to avoid that productivity killer will spur your teams to have the conversation and make the tough calls.
3. It Refreshes Your Data
If the point of upgrading is to improve your database, then how can that be accomplished when poor data is carried over? The answer is, it cannot. Going through your data to clean up duplicate entries, remove old records, do bulk updates, and remove irrelevant data will enhance the shiny new functionality your upgrade offers, and hopefully convert data to meet current business needs/processes. For example, pick list options may change over time based on business needs, but the old data might still be in the database. Could it be converted to meet the new requirements and be more relevant to today’s business?
With clean data, you can create more relevant reports, more accurate forecasting models, and more precise lead insights. This again is a task that most employees won’t be enthused about until they find themselves in a moment where they can reap immediate benefit. Seize on this opportunity to turn your data into a marketing, sales, and services powerhouse! The cleaner the better!
4. Upgrades are Easier in the Future
Once you’ve removed obsolete customizations and outdated data, your system is running at maximum efficiency. The next time you go to do an upgrade, you’ll go into it knowing you have a clean system, with the right customizations. There’ll be less downtime, less complication, lower costs to upgrade, and most importantly, less headaches.
So, the next time your CRM partner tells you it’s time for an upgrade, think about the opportunity you are being given. This is your chance to go beyond the upgrade by streamlining customizations and organizing your data. If you need a partner to help you analyze your customizations, give us a call. Our staff has seen it all, and we can help you get that CRM spotless! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.