“We’ve looked at CRM technology in the past, but we ultimately decided to stick to our existing process.”

Sound familiar? For many business owners, the thought of implementing a CRM seems both intriguing and daunting. On the one hand, there’s no shortage of CRM success stories these days. On the other hand, a poorly implemented system could wreak more havoc than it’s worth. As a result, the status quo prevails as the de facto choice.

In this post, we’ll explore three common assumptions that business owners make about CRMs – and why they’re often misguided.

1. “Our business model doesn’t require a CRM.”

When you hear the term “CRM,” what comes to mind?

If you said “sales,” you’re not alone. Although “CRM” is actually an abbreviation for “Customer Relationship Management,” it’s understandable why CRMs are so closely correlated to sales activity. Lead management, opportunity tracking, and pipeline visualization are key components of most viable CRM solutions.

As a result, some business owners wrongly assume that CRMs are only beneficial to organizations with aggressive outbound sales departments. Not true. Allow me to explain.

Let’s assume you’re the owner of a small consulting firm that serves a handful of clients. Your business model is primarily focused on keeping existing clients happy, rather than proactively seeking new ones. Sure, you get the occasional word-of-mouth referral, but that’s manageable with spreadsheets – right?

In reality, a CRM could still be very beneficial to your business. To illustrate my point, let’s look closely at the three words comprising the “CRM” acronym:

Customer: You have customers, albeit a handful of them. And, the customers you have aren’t shy about filling your inbox with requests. To stay on top of everything, you need an efficient way to organize new projects without losing sight of ongoing responsibilities. Sadly, your inbox is a terrible to-do list. A project-friendly CRM that integrates to your inbox could prove to be an effective tool for delighting customers with less effort.

Relationship: A list of ten or fifteen clients doesn’t sound untenable. In reality, each client engagement is actually an interwoven web of interpersonal relationships. Your primary point of contact isn’t your only point of contact. For a single client, you may have dozens of relationships across many departments, such as accounting, finance, product development, marketing, and sales. Each relationship has a unique story that needs to be recorded (your brain doesn’t count), especially if you expect the rest of your team to provide a consistent level of service.

Management: Managing team members with spreadsheets and other data silos is inefficient and ineffective. Due dates can easily be overwritten without you knowing about it. Project-related information from your inbox must be manually copied and pasted into tiny cells, creating additional confusion. What’s worse, it’s difficult for team members to see how things are connected when they’re forced to sort through rows of endless information.

Summary: CRMs aren’t just for sales-minded organizations. Any business that serves customers, has client relationships, and manages people and projects could likely benefit from a CRM.

2. “We don’t have the budget or in-house expertise.”

This is a two-for-one excuse. Let’s look at the budget side of things first.

Budget: A decade or two ago, budget was certainly a major roadblock to implementing a CRM system. In today’s cloud-driven economy, however, budget is becoming less of a problem for companies small and large. In fact, many CRMs – Insightly included – offer a freemium pricing model, enabling rapid time to value without investing a dime in infrastructure or software. Furthermore, intuitive product design paired with custom-tailored support have made expensive CRM consultants a thing of the past.

Budget should be weighed in relation to potential improvements in productivity. A CRM that helps you hit more deadlines, serve customers faster, and prevent revenue opportunities from slipping through the cracks is bound to yield a net gain for your bottom line.

In-House Expertise: No doubt, implementing an on-premises CRM would be a major undertaking. Configuration, testing, ongoing updates and administration could consume significant resources. But, thankfully, we’re not talking about implementing an on-site solution. A CRM built for the cloud can help your team bypass many of the traditional roadblocks. Best-in-class data architecture and security paired with an intuitive and flexible administrator’s panel can be a winning combination for your business.

Summary: When you weigh the costs and benefits of a cloud-based CRM, you’re likely to arrive at a positive equation. Don’t just dwell on the monthly subscription fee – it’s probably saving you more money than you think!

3. “Our people aren’t tech-savvy.”

Cut your people some slack.

Industry reports consistently show that the majority of adults in the United States have at least one social media account. If your staff can figure out hashtags, they can surely figure out a CRM.

Granted, some CRMs are more intuitive than others. As you evaluate vendors, be sure to look for a CRM that:

  • Offers a modern, intuitive user interface
  • Works as well on mobile as it does on desktop computers
  • Provides seamless integrations to users’ email inboxes
  • Allows users to easily click from one record to another without getting lost
  • Gives users confidence that they can’t “break something”
  • Automatically models your data into insightful charts, graphs, and reports
  • Encourages collaboration between colleagues and teams
  • Makes an immediate impact on your users’ productivity
  • Is actually fun for people to use!

Summary: If you can demonstrate to users how a CRM will make them more successful, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they can pick it up.

Time to Re-evaluate Your CRM Assumptions?

If properly implemented, CRM technology could play a vital role in your company’s future success. Spend time to adequately evaluate your needs and then seek solutions that drive efficiency, align with your goals, and build capacity.