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August 21, 2018 General

Are You Considering Switching CRM Systems? Not So Fast.

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By Jim Ward

According to Gartner, CRM hit a major milestone at the close of 2017 when it became the largest of all software markets. While projections show that this won’t be changing anytime soon, companies struggle to find value in their CRM, thus concluding they invested in the “wrong one,” and begin to search for the right CRM.

It’s a lot like Goldilocks and the three bowls of porridge – but the just-right option doesn’t seem to exist.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

I regularly speak with companies that are on their second or third investment while searching for this just right CRM solution. What they don’t realize is that they may already have it. Oftentimes, taking a closer look at processes and other internal factors can improve the value of your current solution. But there are instances when it really is time to make a new investment.

Here are five common reasons we hear from organizations considering switching CRM systems and what you should consider before switching, too.

1) “Everyone hates our current CRM solution.”

This one is a popular complaint – particularly, from salespeople if they’ve never used technology as part of their sales position.  They often feel like CRM is intrusive and time-consuming. Senior leadership needs to decide whether you should put a stake in the ground and make CRM required.

However, you also need to consider people and their processes. If your current solution doesn’t align with your team’s process, or if they don’t even have a process, then you might have missed the first step of implementing a solution: mapping out your team’s sales process.

It’s not as hard as you might think to map out your sales process. That first step is so worth it! You can then look at how a solution can make you and your team more effective. There’s gold in the hills – if you’re willing to do this work upfront.

2) “We have very few people using our CRM solution.”

Let me guess: the sales leader hasn’t bought into the solution. Or if they have, they aren’t holding the team accountable for using it. If you’re thinking about switching CRM systems, and none of your team is using the old one, what will change when you move to a new one? Is this really going to motivate employees to use CRM?

There are instances whereby the mere mention of a specific solution’s name will leave a bad taste in your mouth. In these cases, maybe switching is the right move. But before you spend another dollar, let’s consider how to get your sales leader to hold the sales team accountable for using your current solution.

First, you need to sell the value of CRM to your team. This means that you need to show them how your current solution can make their jobs easier and how they can save time by automating tedious tasks.  You also need to make sure your solution works with your team’s other technologies such as email or marketing software and accounting software. Regular training is the key. Make sure your team is getting the training they need and remember that everyone learns differently.

If you’re looking for an incentive carrot, take, for example, BrainSell’s spiff program. If one or more BrainSell salespeople close a sale in less than the average days it normally takes, then they get a spiff.  The only way to track your average closing period and get that spiff?  Use CRM.

We have a saying here at BrainSell: if it’s not in CRM, it never happened. We can’t claim a commission if it’s not recorded in our solution.

3) “Our CRM solution is too big for us and we don’t use all of the features.”

Believe it or not, this happens. Someone wanted a fancy Mercedes and they only needed a Chevy. Either they were oversold (a good vendor won’t let that happen) or they overbought. You need to know your true requirements before buying them.

Sometimes it’s better to spend a little money up front and have an expert review your requirements, your process, and even your CRM users, to make sure you know what you need from a solution. It depends on your business’s unique current situation and which solution is right for you.

If your solution is too large for your business’s needs, you need to check if it has a downgrade option, where some features can be turned off.

But first, you need to reevaluate your business. Maybe the features you don’t use can have a big impact on your business’s improvement? Those features were designed for a reason. Often times, if you take a closer look, you might find a hidden return on investment in those features.

4) “A new person is leading our projects and they want to switch to a CRM solution that’s more familiar to them.”

For businesses with clients in place with your current solution, switching poses a big risk of losing a client that has a new stakeholder. If your solution is operating as expected, then switching for the sake of one person’s familiarity strikes me as a potential financial hit for the business as a whole. Consider these ramifications:

  • Users will need to learn a new system, and thus, a change in management is likely.
  • The risk of bad data migration is a cause for serious concern. Data can be corrupted or lost during this process.
  • The cost to migrate data from one solution to another is usually expensive, even when done right.
  • You may have to use and pay for two different solutions for a period of time while migrating data, which adds to the ultimate cost of the switch.
  • Users may end up rejecting the new solution anyway and this may put current business processes in peril. Yikes!

Of course, there are good reasons why a new person would want you to switch! They may have concluded that you’ve outgrown your current solution, that more CRM horsepower could advance the company, that the current solution is too old, or that it’s time to follow the crowd to the cloud.

Companies in this position need an objective third-party resource to help with the decision to switch or not.  Partners who have multiple products in their portfolio can be an excellent resource. An independent consultant who has no allegiances to any one vendor is also an option – but this is hard to find. Even the large consulting houses have partnerships with larger CRM vendors. (You know who you are!) Yet, smaller consulting companies probably have limited experience with multiple solutions.

5) “Our CRM solution is too expensive.”

If you simply don’t have the funds, then that’s that. But in the business world, “too expensive” should be directly related to the return on investment. If you are only looking at the cost of the solution without considering how you can create a return on investment in the solution, then switching CRM systems or dumping it is short-sighted. It’s likely that businesses in this position need to review their financials and then determine how they can achieve the return they hope for.


With more than 25 years of experience, our unbiased approach to CRM consulting can help you decide if switching CRM systems is the right choice or if some reevaluation is all that’s needed. Struggling with finding your just-right option? Contact us!

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Jim Ward

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