Choosing the Right CRM to Align Teams

Research Director, COO of Ascend2
CMO, Insightly

It’s staggering. Your CRM should be the heart of your business – your single source of truth. Yet so few businesses are satisfied with their CRM. New research from Ascend2 and Insightly goes deep on this topic to figure out what is going on in B2B CRM and how to fix it.

New research shows it’s all about alignment.

Satisfied with your CRM? You’re in the minority. Only 21% of CRM owners report satisfaction with their solution. More than one-third will be CRM shopping this year.

Go-to-market leaders are battling it out for who gets to choose the next (or first) CRM while poor customer experiences are costing companies money.

Join this webinar to explore the findings in a recently commissioned research study on CRM trends for sales, marketing, and customer success leaders, including:

  • What CRM features are ‘must haves’ for sales, marketing, and service teams
  • Why adoption reigns supreme and how you can facilitate it
  • Where/when does project management fit in

Your hosts are Jenna Balegno, Research Director and COO of Ascend2, and Chip House, CMO of Insightly.

Preview some of the insights that Jenna & Chip found:

  • One of the overarching takeaways from the survey is that poor customer experiences cost organizations in a big way
  • Many organizations are still using spreadsheets or home-grown systems…or even nothing at all to collaborate internally
  •  The top benefits of an effective CRM according to those who are most satisfied with their CRM tool are better customer data, more organized / streamlined processes
  • Implementation challenges are a top cause of CRM failure
  • Most surprising takeaway: Many respondents indicated that have Project Management functions as part of their CRM would be seen as a big plus.

Clip: The true cost of poor customer experience

Poor customer experiences are more common than you think. In this clip, you’ll see the data showing that teams that are tops in driving customer experience are 2.5x more likely to beat their growth goals.

Transcript: Choosing the right CRM to align teams

Val: Hi everyone thanks for joining us today where we’re going to be discussing how to choose the right  CRM for your go to market teams.

I’m Val Riley.  I’m head of Content Marketing at Insightly and I’m  going to be moderating today’s webinar.  Good news for you you will receive both a copy of this webinar recording and a copy of the research report we’re discussing today delivered to your inbox this week.

You’re going to meet Chip House in just a moment. He’s the CMO of Insightly when he and I came on board here we had a lot of questions about how people go about choosing  CRM what what considerations go into that decision. We elected to put out a survey and the resulting research report was so interesting we felt like it was worth sharing with you and that was kind of the genesis for today’s webinar. 

We’re going to open up a quick poll here this one is about what your current role is and then we have another one that is going to pop up about asking you in your career have you been in charge of choosing a CRM so while you’re answering that question I will go ahead and let   about our presenters today.

First we have Jenna Bolegno. Jenna is a the ceo and research director at Ascend2. It’s a company that specializes in b2b research. Jenna is joined by Chip House. He has more than 20 years of experience in growth and high growth SaaS companies in marketing and sales roles at a senior level. 

Jenna, Chip we are so excited to have you here today and hear all about this research report so I’ll pass it over right to you guys.

Chip:  Hey thanks Val really appreciate it and love the hold music there. So when I looked at the poll for what the roles are it looked like we mostly had marketing folks followed by customer service and success in addition to some sales people but lots of others so I assume that’s operations and rev ops..


Also folks that didn’t find themselves categorized anywhere else but thank you for joining today. Jenna we have the goals for today’s presentation up on the screen let’s start there maybe and if you could roll into the methodology behind the report that we’re talking about today.


Jenna:  Yeah absolutely. Hi everyone thanks for listening and thanks for having me on. And just a quick note I know talking about research it might not sound like the most exciting thing you’ll do all week but I promise there’s a ton of really good data here that we can go over and hopefully you’ll be able to pull from it. 


Get the research report and use it as kind of as you navigate your experience with your  CRM so just to go over today’s goals. We’ll go through the CRM features that matter most to each of the go to market teams. We surveyed how and why  CRM can better align your teams and provide a foundation for a better customer experience.


We’ll discuss just how important ease of use and then ultimately adoption is across teams and ways you can facilitate it to get the most out of your CRM. And then finally we’ve got a super interesting stat that gives us some perspective on how project management kind of fits into the the use of  CRM and alignment of teams. We saved that one for the end for you so stay tuned.


As far as methodology goes for this research when we set out to gain insight into the use of CRMs we wanted to make sure that all the teams that touched CRM were given a voice. So the data that we’ll discuss today represents opinions from sales, marketing, and service teams and then also related operations teams, so Rev Ops, Sales Ops and Marketing Ops –  some of which you just mentioned Chip.


These people represent B2B companies covering a wide range of industries as you can see they’re managers all the way up through the executive level. 


We also conducted the survey in April this year which is great. This this data is kind of hot off the presses for you some fresh data for you.


Chip: Jenna that’s that’s awesome and it looks like from the the poll most people are actively involved in CRMselection at the business at their business so this should be some great data today. So Jenna   this was a really neat takeaway from the research I thought   one of the overarching takeaways was that poor customer experiences cost organizations in a big way and can you talk more about that data.


Jenna:  Yeah it certainly pays off to be a customer-centric business these days we’re constantly seeing proof of this in the research that we do the fact that great customer experiences make a major impact on overall success I think we can all agree that today’s customer or potential customer has incredibly high expectations when it comes to the experiences that they’re having with your brand so we actually found that 18 of the people from these go to market teams that we surveyed said that their organizations are able to provide exceptional customer experiences so that best in class customer experience what we did here and actually throughout the research report you’ll see reference to this is zero in on that segment of people delivering that best best in class experience to see what we could learn from them and one of the first things we noticed was that this group of businesses are seeing faster growth than those who are not nailing cx so this group is about two and a half times more likely to report significant revenue growth last year the numbers behind that look like over one-third so 36 of those who rate their customers experience as exceptional report a significant increase in revenue growth last year compared to just 14 of those who delivered less than exceptional experiences so basically if you aren’t getting customer experiences right you’re missing out on revenue and over overall business growth yeah Jenna I i love that that stat and it just sort of proves what it feels like we all know intuitively is that treating your customers well makes your business more successful right but it’s really cool to see how that kind of played out in this data   I think the next stat is super interesting also   one of one of the reasons we saw that to be an issue with responses is that the alignment among internal go-to-market teams tends to be kind of low yeah we found there to be a general lack of alignment across teams we can see here that just one in five organizations have completely aligned data that flows between their sales marketing and service teams we took a closer look at this segment of these entirely aligned teams and found that they are they saw more revenue growth last year and are able to deliver better customer experiences actually too so the numbers behind this look like I think 43 percent of those with completely aligned data and technology across teams report delivering exceptional customer experiences versus just 11 percent of those with less line teams so about four times more likely to report that best best-in-class experience which is pretty powerful stuff there is just this very clear connection between the idea of unified data and alignment as it allows for better customer experiences that then promotes revenue growth so definitely something to pay attention to for sure and I do think that this is a result of access to that data so that each team can make decisions based on that single source of truth so at the end of the day this enables better customer experience across the entire lifestyle cycle and on all touch points yeah it’s it’s sort of that that dream of the the unified view of the customer and   those companies that are truly seeing those teams alive they’re actually growing faster and they’re delivering better experiences so I mean this really flows nicely into a discussion about tools for customer relationship management and I thought this data was interesting also on what people are actually using and I was surprised to see how many organizations are still using spreadsheets or   their own homegrown systems and some are not using anything at all so what I mean what is you what did you think about this Jenna yeah I was surprised too and remember we surveyed mid-market organizations so organizations with five 50-500 employees so yeah I think for many businesses it’s time it’s time to adopt a  CRMtool that can kind of address the needs of all the teams involved in forming that customer relationship and I think these more formal tools just make everyone’s life easier when used properly right we actually did find that those with the more formal tools the three listed here at the top of this chart small business crms mid-market crms or enterprise crms report that they are more satisfied with their current with how they’re currently managing customer relationships so with their current solution which is interesting so we actually what stands out to me here is the enterprise segment so there’s 14 that say that they’re using enterprise level solutions so it got us thinking a little bit we were interested in taking a closer look at the segment of enterprise  CRMusers since again we were servicing surveying mid-market companies and we found that two-thirds of them come from respective teams of less than 50 people so I mean that’s there a little side note here this this group using enterprise solutions was much more likely to list initial and ongoing costs as a top complaint about their crm so that signals to me that they may be over invested in a solution that they very likely under utilize which I’m  sure more than a few people listening right now can relate to yeah no I i thought that was a super interesting takeaway as well as that people are kind of over buying from a  CRMstandpoint when they should really be optimizing around things like adoption and integration and ease of use for the for their companies so let’s let’s transition to the next slide here Jenna so the the survey respondents told us that the top benefits of an effective crm according to those who are most satisfied with their  CRMtool are better   have better customer data and they’re more organized and they have more streamlined processes yeah yeah so a little background here just like you mentioned we asked for participants to tell us how satisfied they are with their current solution and found that just over one in five said that they are extremely satisfied with their  CRMthat’s pretty alarming alarming in and of itself and we’ll talk about that in a slide coming up but we did want to learn a little bit more from this group basically they can tell us   what are the most satisfied  CRMusers getting out of their solution   what’s best case scenario so yeah it turns out your  CRMcan promote better customer data and greater efficiencies among other things we see here higher sales and faster growth for instance but we also found that nearly all of this group this high satisfaction group actually 95 of them have aligned teams so again it really all comes back to that idea that alignment promotes better utilization of the data which leads to better cx which ultimately leads to growth yeah super interesting data   and   thinking ahead Jenna I know that when we design this study with you we wanted to know   how often companies switch crms   and so this next data set was pretty surprising to me also is that organizations are switching crms more often than I thought right I mean the bulk are on their current  CRMfor less than three years yeah yeah there doesn’t seem to be much  CRMlongevity does there yeah we see about two-thirds of organizations have been using their solution for less than three years what’s interesting here is that 41 of this group so approaching half of this group that’s been using their current solution for less than three years say that they will be shopping for a new  CRMin the coming year and I think this yeah I i think this happens kind of more than we realize and I’m  sure you’ve seen it Chip but   a quick decision is made or maybe one that doesn’t involve all the teams that are going to be using the tool every day or maybe   a great option was chosen but the implementation just doesn’t go well like adoption training integrating and so on aren’t as smooth as they had hoped and the result is a  CRMthat either doesn’t actually work for what you need it for or that you can’t fully utilize yeah I think the question now in everybody’s head is why are people switching so often right and I think that the the next slide this one here talks about where the unsatisfaction comes from   so I think it’s interesting if you could dig into this a bit yeah so satisfaction overall like I mentioned before seems to be low so what we’re looking at here is a breakdown of that satisfaction data that I had mentioned most people we surveyed are just somewhat satisfied and won’t go so far as to say that they’re extremely satisfied with their current solution and for satisfaction levels of a technology that so many people in your organization touch on a day-to-day basis and that so clearly and directly impacts the customer experience that 21 is a pretty low number so what’s causing this dissatisfaction we thought we actually thought it would be interesting to see biggest complaints from vps and executives versus those in like managerial and director roles and it looks like managers and directors who presumably are more involved in the day-to-day use of their crm are complaining about missing or inadequate features so features that basically help them do their job better they’re also kind of plagued by this lack of ability to customize their crm for exactly what they need it for so they’re having to use excessive amounts of code they’re having to involve i.t and so on for things that probably impact their everyday use of the tool which is obviously not ideal and of course we see executives are looking at the scalability and overall cost being an issue and again with a cost issue here we come back to   did they over purchase a big product for a smaller team are they not getting enough out of it because the products meant for an enterprise perhaps yeah I think we can yeah I mean when you when a company goes into   buy a  CRMright I mean have a number of different expectations that I would assume they’re they’re planning on keeping it longer than two years right but what we’re finding is because there seems to be a mismatch more organizations are  CRMshopping and   I think this data here is really easy or really helpful to learn why are they shopping yeah they want to see improved workflows they want to use a tool that will make their jobs easier right when you work out the bottlenecks and get the workflows right and get all of your data in one place   the customer ends up reaping the benefits of that at the end of the day which you see here improving customer experience so   they see it through better more consistent experiences during every interaction with the company every touch point ever with every team so   what’s interesting here is we we see that organizations are craving that alignment also with 42 percent considering it to be a driving factor but behind this consideration so yeah that’s something of note as well for sure so Jenna let’s move on to how organizations are eValuating a new crm price and ease of use are at the top of the list people are going to judge ease of use on the features they’re most they use the most probably and that’s surely going to verif vary by department   what does each team prioritize feature-wise yeah so just a note here what’s interesting is that 98 of that completely aligned segment we talked about say that a  CRMis more effective if more employees across different teams use it properly so the more use across teams the more effective it’s just another point about how important this ease of use and adoption is but if we move on to the next slide we can see how how each team responded to this question so what are the most wanted features in a crm segmented by department we can see sales teams are most concerned with sales forecasting features that they can easily use so being able to see the metrics and   lead activity and so on that allows them to do their job better right notably here looking at the marketing teams they are looking for ways to engage always and they want email options so maybe really pretty and easy to use templates for instance tracking sends tracking open rates tracking conversions and so on another another item of note is document management is common across all teams and ranks number one for service teams so having everything in one place is again going to make everyone’s life easier working on the same versions of things coming back to that single source of truth and we see dashboard views reporting and analytics among all of these departments as well so that visualization of analytics and data is just super important to every team this full view of what’s happening in customer accounts across all departments helps everyone kind of have the most relevant conversations as possible with each of their customers   it helps sales the activity interactions that leads have had with marketing already for instance it helps marketing take a closer look at pipeline so creating these customer views per team and even per individual is extremely helpful and again access to this data all in one place and presented in a way that works for each team is going to ultimately help each team serve the customer more effectively for sure I think it’s really interesting that   dashboard views reporting and analytics are sort of a common theme across all teams no matter what role you’re in and then then each team has sort of different priorities within that but they all are built around hey what’s what’s happening with my customers with my leads with my marketing with my customer success tickets   what whatever inside of the system and that’s why the dashboarding and reporting is so critical so   I know that   when you buy a new  CRMimplementing it driving it through the team and training people super super important so the final section that we wanted to highlight is implementation challenges can you go over what ranked the highest Jenna yeah so training time is number one no matter how you slice and dice this data up training time is the biggest challenge people are facing during implementation I i also have to wonder if training can sometimes be more of a perceived challenge than an actual challenge like one of those things that kind of creates more anxiety up front and just isn’t so bad if you approach it in a smart and strategic way just because there are so many tools out there now that can streamline the training process but yeah training time is a huge anxiety for for all respondents or for 43 of those surveyed so we also see integrating existing systems another point of contention for go to market teams so integrations I mean you have to have them they allow for that flow of data from team to team and getting everything into that one place so definitely need to make sure your  CRMspeaks to your other systems and and a way to overcome this   is when you’re eValuating a new crm this is something that it’s just super important to assess and discuss across teams including   it and finance and hr   not just sales and marketing and service teams so we want to make sure that integrate integrations that all of your teams need exist or could exist in the solution that you’re implementing and we also took a look at   what is there to lose if you don’t overcome these challenges and of course employee frustration and wasted time top this list and again   the roll out of a tool that will impact the day-to-day of so many of your employees needs to be done very strategically there has to be a plan kind of   in order to not uproot everyone’s lives sure yeah I know you made a really great point there too about how sometimes the key stakeholders   might be outside of sales or marketing or rev hops it could be the finance team right that really needs to have the billing and the accounting data integrated to their systems quickbook or whatever quickbooks or whatever it has   happens to be and so yeah integrating is a really interesting and sort of consistent theme so this next one is kind of a surprise that that came out of the survey for me and it’s project management so I thought that was an interesting stat I assume you did too Jenna yeah this is kind of our aha moment surprise data point 93 of the go to market teams that we surveyed said that they would adopt a project management tool if it was native to their  CRMtool so this is huge right having that flow of data continue into the project project management side is appealing to almost everyone and I can I mean I can see why like having a project management extension of your crm would mean that you could continue that tracking and management of processes without kind of without skipping a beat   the project management team would have access to all of that customer data accumulated up until off and I i assume that handoff would obviously be much smoother as well and this I think would overall kind of encourage that alignment of teams that we know is so crucial for   that business growth yeah I think yeah it’s a super interesting stat I know that we have a lot of customers that kind of manage the customer journey all the way from sales marketing service into the project management and so I’m  just happy to see that there’s a lot of people a lot of different types of companies that see that similar Value so   I think we’re already to the end of our our core but what are the big takeaways Jenna yeah so to sum it all up I think it’s safe to say that a  CRMcan be a catalyst for go to market team alignment right as long as you’re choosing the right one based on the needs of your organization we saw that when the technology and data that these teams use is aligned the business grows faster these teams also have more confidence in the level of customer experience that they’re providing second big takeaway here is that businesses are willing to kind of jump ship on their current crms we saw big numbers in shopping for crms even with those who have relatively newly implemented solutions we also saw low satisfaction for such an important technology for businesses to get right and the final takeaway here is with implementation it is absolutely essential to consider training and integrations and data migration in order to successfully roll out a new crm so yeah that’s that’s the big takeaways and I think we can hand it back over to Val Jenna thank you so much for sharing all that great information and taking the time today we’ve set aside some time for q a so hold on for a moment if folks want to take a few minutes now to drop in a question we already had some really good ones come in in the meantime Chip would you spend a few moments telling the folks a little bit about Insightly yeah thanks so much Val and Jenna thank you for the phenomenal research study and your help going through it but it was really really great and for all of you watching if the new  CRMis in your future it’s a good time to check out Insightly Insightly  CRMis easy to adopt it’s very customizable and integrates easily with your other applications you use to run your business we hear from customers that they are fully up and running with Insightly in just weeks and growing revenue up to 300 percent in less than a year as you can see from that customer quote on the screen there also if alignment across teams is resonating with you then you’ll want to look into Insightly marketing which we use for all of our marketing a full-featured marketing automation platform built for marketers plus please let your customer support team know about Insightly service our customer service ticketing system again we use ourselves to support over 10 000 customers it’s ready to help you elevate your own customer experiences we really like it Insightly of course we’d love it we’d love to show it to you frankly so feel free to sign up for a demo here or   when you receive our follow-up email and thanks again for joining us to today and Val I think one few wrap-up things and then we’re going to questions right yeah we can we can move right into questions I think did do you see the first one pop up there yes so we have a question from debbie and her question is about security how are you securing my customers data and how is that guaranteed so   I i can definitely talk to   high-level Insightly is sock 2 certified we have people in the healthcare business that use our platform so we’re hipaa compliant as well and   obviously being in the business that we’re in security is a top priority for us debbie and so   you probably want somebody other than the cmo talking to you about security so I’d  be happy to get on the phone with you and have have one of our security experts talk to you in more detail so delaine is asking does this work for non-profits and for donor tracking as well we do have a number of customers in the non-profit space we really have all industries covered on the  CRMplatform and also using our marketing and our service tools as well so that’s a great question so another question from delaine so can we integrate with wordpress the answer is yes one of our core products is app connect which is a middleware a low code no code integration platform that allows you to do a lot of that integration yourself   with some support from our team and so yeah and we have a number of customers integrating with the wordpress today happy to work on it with you too so there’s another question here I’d  love to ask Jenna   were there insights into who drove what departments drove the crm selection was it sales was it market at marketers like myself was it service was it ops   who really drove it was there anything from the survey that talked about that yeah we did we did ask who who they felt were were driving the decision making and interestingly each group tended to lean toward thinking thinking that they owned it the same amount so I think overall   executive leadership came out on top followed closely by sales and marketing leaders but there were some disparities interesting disparities between departments about who’s driving that decision making so sales and marketing both believe that their respective departments have kind of an equal weight in the decision-making process as as executive leadership which   could potentially form a problem in the decision-making process but was definitely kind of a compelling piece of data to see it it is super interesting I saw earlier that we have a lot of marketers on the phone so marketers please involve your other teams when you’re picking your crm because you’re just going to have better better adoption better outcomes things like that when people are fully engaged with you on the the selection so another follow-up looks like from from debbie do the Insightly also work with wix so our app connect product works and integrates with over 500 different products and we’ve also built a number of custom integrations off the top my head I don’t specifically know about that integration debbie but I’m  it’s likely that we do and so we’d love to talk to you about it [Music] so another question came in what kind of marketing insights does Insightly provide in terms of social media performance and website tracking so there’s   a number of different capabilities of the marketing platform itself marketing automation is a really key and important feature for sales and marketing teams choosing any  CRMright is how do you kind of create that interaction with your customers through their journey and so that includes   being able to track who’s visiting the website and converting on Insightly landing pages   no matter where they’re coming from frankly   it could be an email campaign inside of the system it could be an external ad or a social social media organic or paid paid advertisement as well so yeah we we’re focused on all those things primarily inside of our marketing application so Val do we have a little bit more time for others yeah I think there’s a couple more we can do just under the wire Chip the one I’m  seeing is related to the research it’s why are people not using a  CRMand maybe Jenna has some insights on that one yeah I’m  actually excited about this because we actually asked those who weren’t using a  CRMwho who noted that they weren’t using a crm why they weren’t and you can you can actually find all of this information in the final report but the most common reasons reported were I just not feeling the need to not feeling the need for a  CRMand then the second most common reason was that thought that too much time and resources would be required to implement so again maybe just a perceived anxiety that   can be worked out through strategy and planning of rolling out a system and actually interestingly we saw just like a little side note there and I remember this call out from the report but we saw extremely low numbers from this group that weren’t using a crm in how they rate their overall customer experience so I think something like five percent of that group said that they were delivering exceptional customer experiences so just a little kind of kick in the pants to people to get going on that  CRM selection no kidding some really compelling data here that shows why you might want to consider a crm quickly let’s let’s do this one more Chip I thought this one was interesting the somebody who appears to be in that segment that overbought so like my ceo wanted to buy our last system and so we bought an enterprise system we’re definitely under utilizing it but   we might need something like that in five or ten years so how do I get the ceo to say well let’s maybe let’s switch and pick something else yeah I can take that Val so well it’s interesting I i thought that data was interesting because we have small companies startups adopting enterprise platforms which don’t make any sense to me knowing that when crm implementations fail   about 70 percent of the time it’s because   the rollout was difficult or was difficult to use and so it was not adopted by all the teams and   what we’ve learned from a lot of enterprise solutions is you certainly they can become usable with a lot of services to make them customized and usable and often   companies if they’re small end up overspending trying to customize their enterprise crm   versus trying to have something that out of the box is much easier to adapt and use   inside of your business so I i can’t understand why companies think they need to do that but   I think we’ve got compelling data that shows those that adopt the right size  CRMare actually much happier right and I mean we learned from the data that switching isn’t so scary because people are doing it right yep it’s it’s not unusual so those are great questions thanks to everybody for those questions and we hope to see at our webinars in the future but you will be getting some follow-up information i’ll let you Val talk to you about it yeah so first if your question wasn’t answered someone will reach out with a personal response to that question we are going to again send this recording and a copy of that research report you guys are going to be the first ones to get it so you’ll see that in your inbox this week I want to thank Jenna and Chip and all of you for joining us today and we will see you next time thanks so much thank you  

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