Switching CRMs vs. staying put Sales by MATT KEENER August 06, 2020 Companies switch CRMs for a variety of reasons. Boosting user adoption, eliminating data silos, accelerating growth, and saving overhead costs are just a few examples. Despite the compelling reasons to switch, organizations frequently settle for the status quo. The simple truth is that switching CRMs can feel risky and costly. And, without the right data, staying put usually feels like the safest choice. But is it the best choice? Here are tips for using data to make an informed technology decision. Use data to establish a baseline value of your current CRM Before you can forecast the potential gains of switching CRMs, you must accurately assess the current situation. Your current CRM can be an excellent source of objective business intelligence. User activity data Activity reports provide transparency into how staff actually use your CRM. Email volume and task completion reports are common examples. Ideally, each user should consistently use the system on a daily basis, thereby generating a large amount of activity data across every department and role. However, if the majority of activity is linked to a single user (or handful of users), it’s possible that staff do not understand how to use your CRM. Or, perhaps users find the system cumbersome. Either way, activity reports make it easier to identify usage trends for further investigation. Lead & contact volume data One of the most common CRM use cases is relationship management. All things being equal, a healthy sales and marketing operation that proactively uses CRM technology should yield more customer data with each passing period. However, when temporary downturns evolve into prolonged trends, you’re probably facing one of two situations. Either your lead generation efforts are not working, or you’re dealing with data integrity issues. If it’s the latter, your CRM may suffer from broken integrations or excessive manual data entry. Broken integrations send bad data (or no data at all). Excessive data entry causes fatigue, which produces missing or incomplete data. Milestones data Milestones are important future dates that serve as guideposts to keep projects on track. Does your team track milestones in your current CRM? If so, what percent of milestones are completed on time and to specification? If your CRM contains minimal milestone data, team members might be tracking their work in data silos that are difficult to assess and overcome. Revenue data You can’t blame your CRM for sluggish revenue growth. That being said, a substandard CRM, low user adoption rate, or overpriced systems can all affect your business revenue. If sales are down, perhaps it’s time to ask your users for input. A quick survey could yield eye-opening insights—especially if users spend more time on data entry than prospect engagement. Ask your SDRs and AEs to share their opinions. Find out their pain points and frustrations. How have these inefficiencies impacted revenue performance? Ask the right questions to identify relevant data for objective decision-making Switching CRMs is not like waving a magic wand. Substantial planning and research is necessary. Even then, there’s no guarantee that changing vendors will outweigh the costs of staying put. That’s why you need to back your decision with data, and lots of it. To make an objective, data-driven evaluation for your business, consider these questions before switching. What are the current & long-term costs of maintaining the status quo? Calculate the subscription and support fees charged by your current vendor. Has this expense remained relatively constant over time? If it has increased, by what percent annually? Do you anticipate a similar increase each year going forward? What are the intangible opportunity costs of continuing to rely on this vendor? How does total cost of ownership vary by vendor? Now it’s time to gather cost data from other CRM vendors. Factor in obvious tangible costs such as software licenses, support fees, and ongoing consultant support. Also consider opportunities to reduce system overlap. For example, switching to a unified CRM and marketing platform could lower costs by eliminating third-party email and web analytics apps. What is the cost of implementation & training? If your data structure is relatively simple, switching CRMs might be a painless experience. However, if you have years of relationships and custom objects to map, things can get complicated. Someone must export, clean, and import your data. Do you have the in-house capacity and expertise to pull this off? Staff will also need upfront training and ongoing coaching. What is the opportunity cost for filling (or outsourcing) that role? Some companies, like Insightly CRM, offer support and guidance throughout the switchover process, including tools to easily migrate all your CRM data. What are your sunk costs? One of the most painful parts of switching CRMs involves the time and money that’s been thrown at your legacy CRM. Staying put doesn’t help the matter, and at a first glance, switching may feel counterproductive. Spend time estimating your sunk cost if, for no better reason, to avoid such mistakes in the future. How will switching impact revenue & productivity? Obviously, answering this question may rely on educated guesses. However, even educated guesses should be backed by real-world data. For example, let’s assume your legacy CRM does not easily integrate to your inbox. Based on a survey of your 25 sales reps, you estimate that integrated inboxes could save twenty minutes per day per user. Here’s how the math works out: 20 minutes per day x 25 sales reps x 260 work days = 130,000 minutes (2,100+ hours) saved per year Now, apply that time savings toward more productive activities, such as prospect outreach, in-person visits, and online demos. In this context, estimating the revenue impact of a switch becomes more clear. Make an informed data-driven decision At the end of the day, there’s not an off-the-shelf formula to weigh all the pros and cons of switching CRMs. Rather, your business leaders must do the work, ask the right questions, gather all of the relevant data points, and synthesize the data in a way that makes sense for your unique situation. In doing so, they will lay the groundwork for objective decision-making that aligns with your long-term vision. Ready to switch CRMs? Request a demo and get a free needs assessment and personalized product demo to see if Insightly CRM is the right match for you. Request a demo Sales Force Automation | Sales management | Unified CRM MATT KEENER Matt Keener is a digital marketer and President of Keener Marketing Solutions, LLC. In addition to consulting for Insightly and other SaaS clients, Matt enjoys blogging about remote work. Get Matt’s top-rated book or connect with him on LinkedIn.