Note: this post was originally published on Business.com.
Switching to a different customer relationship management platform can be quite a challenge for small businesses. You're tasked with gaining your team's buy-in, transferring customer data and implementing new workflows. But, with the right approach, it doesn't have to be such a daunting transition.
Before making a switch, you first need to determine whether the software itself is the problem. Businesses switch CRMs for various reasons, but in my experience, the decision often comes down to poor user adoption. If it's not clear to your staff members how – or even why – to use the CRM, then don't expect them to be eager participants. Perhaps that's why failure rates for CRM projects hover around 33%, according to a 2017 analysis. And when CRM installations take a nosedive, they not only fail to deliver profitable growth, they can also damage long-standing customer relationships.
The main job of a CRM is to organize leads and keep communication flowing. If leads are slipping through the cracks and miscommunication is constant, you're not getting your money's worth out of the software.
Before trashing your CRM, however, take the time to investigate the source of the issue. Audit the CRM software and setup. Is the issue user adoption or lack of standards for data entry? Perhaps the system is missing key features your company needs, which is a common reason people choose to switch CRMs, according to a survey from Capterra. After identifying the problem, you can decide whether you simply need to retrain your team, tweak the system's set up, or start thinking about a new platform entirely.
For example, if you’ve already tried every onboarding technique you can think of but your staff members are still struggling to use the CRM, it's probably time to start over. This time, though, be sure to involve your end users in the CRM selection and implementation process. Look for something that's user-friendly. After all, Salesforce found that 72% of CRM users say they would trade complex functionality for usability when it comes to the software. [Interested in CRM software for your small business? Check out our best picks and reviews.]
What's more, if you can't afford your current system or you're paying for features that you don't need, it might be a good idea to cut your losses and find a system more suitable for your team and budget. Leaving your current CRM provider can be expensive, but making the switch is worth it if you're paying more for a system you don't use.
If you decide to upgrade your CRM software, the main costs you'll face are time and internal effort. You'll need to spend time researching and choosing a new CRM, import all your data, add in your customizations and integrations, and train your whole team to use it.
You can simplify the process if you have a clear idea of what you want, your data is easily accessible, and you follow these three steps:
If your CRM system isn't performing the way you expected, you must first determine why. If retraining and more customizations don't do the trick, then switching to a better system may be the best way forward. Doing so will be challenging, but with a renewed focus and by following these tips for getting everyone on board, it can be a smooth transition that's well worth the effort.