The Limitations of CRM

February 25, 2013


As a software consultancy, Volano is an expert on CRM systems. Any organization that needs to manage contacts and contact data, run targeted marketing campaigns and store contact specific information can appreciate the utility of a good CRM system. I would wager to say that in this data-driven age, CRM has become as popular a term in business as “e-mail” was in the nineties.

Under Utilization

Unfortunately, many CRM systems were designed to cast a wide net on markets in need of contact management. As a result, so many features were created that the software’s complexity compromised the few key components for which it was designed to perform. The weight of these CRM systems are reflected in the cost which is often confusing and tiered out. The overly complex systems are often shunned by the very sales people for which they were intended to help. Managers then continue to lack visibility into the status of sales funnels. Sales people conversely manage much of their relationship management in their heads. This isn’t necessarily bad but makes for poor ROI on your systems, especially if your sales people leave.

What Do I Do with this Information?

Volano is a proponent of strong workflow management. Steelwool was designed to help good companies with a defined work process better manage the tasks critical to delivering on their brand promise. CRM systems lay out the opportunities and workflow management comes in when those opportunities turn into work. When a lead becomes a customer, that customer has work that requires tracking. Your people need to complete tasks, attach documents and they usually do it in a specific order, in queues. CRM systems rarely track work, nor do they prompt people to complete their assigned tasks. Do your people have the tools needed to efficiency manage work? Do you have visibility into the status of all of your projects?

Acronyms, Catch-Phrases and Buzzwords

It’s difficult sometimes to remember that the software tools you’ve invested in were purchased or made to help your people take care of your customers. You know when they’re working when you don’t think about them. Your customers are happy and you don’t take so much stress as a business owner home with you. Between the wasteland of contemporary business terminology – CRM, hashtags, ERPs, ETAs, ROI, etc…recall that often the most powerful differentiator you can have in your business is exceptional service. The question is, do your systems facilitate this process or get in the way?