CRM Myth Buster (Part 1)

Whenever I introduce myself as a CRM Specialist, I usually get an immediate reaction. “Oh, I’ve been meaning to do something about a CRM”, or “I hate my CRM”, or “I use Wild Billy’s Smokey CRM – have you heard of it?” or “What does CRM stand for?”.

What is it about CRM’s that gets the juices going, even with business people who don’t necessarily care about technology? I once heard a CEO of a major multinational once say “the only software I care about in this whole business is the CRM”.

CRM software is big business, and it can be very important for your business, whether it be big or small. Trouble is, it can also be a complete waste of time and money – what I call the “Chunnel Effect”. Building the rail tunnels (commonly referred to as the “Chunnel”) under the English Channel between England and France in the 70’s and 80’s took 20 years and $21bn – then nobody wanted to use them.

There are a number of myths around about CRM’s that I would like to explore, and possibly debunk that will help you go into your CRM journey with your eyes wide open. Some of those myths we will talk about now and some in a future article.

Myth # 1. You need a CRM.

You don’t need a CRM. Let me say it again, you don’t need a CRM. You need a solution to a business problem that you have. You only need a CRM if you know (that is, not been told) that you or your business is not running as efficiently as it should or could. If you feel totally in control using emails and calendars and spreadsheets and these will scale with you as you grow, then STICK WITH IT. DON’T CHANGE.

Myth # 2. I will have less work to do if I get a CRM.

Don’t go into a CRM if you think it is going to save you work, especially initially. You will need to be very disciplined in how you use your CRM, and get into good habits. This will feel like more work, not less. For instance, a good tip is to put aside 30 minutes each day to make sure your contacts are up to date, your leads are entered and your tasks and activities for the next day and week are organised.

Myth # 3. It will help me automate my sales process.

Well maybe. Do you know your sales process? Have you mapped it out and have you documented it? Is it working the way you want it to? What parts of your sales process do you want automated? Don’t expect a CRM to magically fix any issues that you may have. Optimise your process first, decide on your automation points and then look at a CRM to help you automate. (Note that automation in CRM software usually comes at a cost, which brings me to…)

Myth # 4. CRM’s should be free, or cheap

It is true that most common CRM’s you can get off the cloud on a cheap monthly subscription. Many will have a free version. Software providers are generally not stupid – they know their competition and price accordingly. As a rough guide, I tell my clients that you should expect to pay between $100 and $200 a month for a CRM that does what you want. If that breaks the budget then seriously reconsider your CRM journey.

Myth # 5. I have to find the right software before I start

The beauty of our modern world of cloud-based subscription software is that you can stop and start usage any time you want. Data can be easily extracted and imported into something else. Don’t deliberate for ages over finding the exact fit for your CRM needs – it is highly likely that you won’t find it. Just start. Start with a package that does some or most of what you want, understand the gaps in the software and then keep exploring the CRM market as your needs and requirements change.

A CRM can be the lifeblood of your business, enabling you to grow and scale as you please, or it can be a “Chunnel”, draining you of time and energy. Understanding the myths around CRM software and some careful thinking at the start of the process will help you get the best out of your journey.