Customer relationship management (CRM) software has been helping companies manage, monitor, and improve the customer experience since the mid-1990s. It is a proven business asset that is becoming a necessity as changes in consumer behavior and expectations have accelerated the need for companies to provide a seamless customer experience.
This surge in demand—coupled with sophisticated technological advances such as artificial intelligence, connected devices, and cloud-based functionality—has analysts predicting the global CRM market will grow from $57.83 billion in 2021 to a whopping $145.79 billion in 2029.
Even so, some companies remain hesitant to implement a CRM solution. Whether this reluctance stems from a lack of information, an unwillingness to change, or some other reason altogether, these businesses continue to miss out on the many benefits driven by an effective CRM platform.
In this article, we debunk many of the myths that hold businesses back from adopting a CRM solution.
Read more: 10 Most Important Benefits of CRM Software
Myth 1: CRM is only for large enterprises, and only the sales team will use it.
CRM can be a game-changer for any business with customers, whether that business is small, medium-sized, or large.
Yes, big corporations lead the charge with CRM because they need the technology to help manage their enormous customer databases. But CRM solutions have evolved considerably since then, becoming multi-faceted and feature-rich, with capabilities to create synergies and improvements throughout virtually any business.
Sales teams can always use CRM to reduce response times, accelerate deal closures and expand cross-selling and upselling. However, today’s CRM systems offer broader and more far-reaching benefits, from enhancing communication and collaboration across departments to improving product development and forecasting.
When implemented effectively, CRM unifies and streamlines all customer interactions. Now that the buying journey includes more touchpoints than ever before, businesses increasingly rely on it to deliver a consistent and timely customer experience.
Read more: 11 Challenges in CRM and How to Solve Them
Myth 2: CRM solutions aren’t customizable.
Some businesses operate under the assumption that no CRM system can match their personalized customer processes. These businesses do not want to conform to a generic, cookie-cutter CRM system—and the good news is, they shouldn’t have to.
CRM solutions are customizable, and it is essential for any CRM implementation to involve working with the selected vendor to develop any necessary process realignment. After all, the goal is to offer even better customer service than before, and that is precisely what a well-implemented system will do.
With the right strategy and effective implementation, a CRM solution will provide a refined view of customer segments, enabling more targeted and individualized interactions with those customers.
Myth 3: CRM implementation is too difficult and overly time-consuming.
At its core, this myth boils down to a fear of change. Businesses are accustomed to operating and managing their customers in a certain way. That means they are reluctant to adopt new practices. Sales teams, in particular, often get locked in place with a reliance on conventional tools like Excel, Outlook, or even paper notepads and Post-its.
Overcoming this friction can be complicated by other deleterious misperceptions. For example, some salespeople worry that they will lose control over customer relationships if they enter all their data into a single, shared system.
At times, motivating employees to adopt a CRM solution can be an exercise in change management, which is why it is critical to listen to users’ needs and priorities early in the process (during vendor selection, if possible), provide the proper training, and rack up early, convincing wins.
Read more: Advantages and Challenges of CRM Software
Myth 4: CRM introduces security risks.
It is reasonable and prudent to be cautious about how customer data is collected, maintained, and shared within the business.
Thankfully, today’s CRM solutions typically have excellent security features designed to keep customer information safe from external attacks like ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS). However—and perhaps even more importantly—it is also critical for businesses to take steps that will protect customer data from internal threats.
For most companies, this means implementing a minimum access approach to the CRM system. With this approach, users are only given access to the customer data and features that they actually need with a minimum access approach.
All too often, companies implementing a CRM solution do the exact opposite: they give all users access to all the data and system features. Then, because there is so little control over what users can see or do, the security of the CRM system is compromised, which leaves gaps vulnerable to exploitation.
While internal vulnerabilities can be a security concern, they can be minimized by careful and thorough design around who has access to what data and how that access must change when people change roles or take a job elsewhere.
Read more: Most Important CRM Software Requirements
Myth 5: A CRM solution is too expensive.
This may be the most popular CRM myth of all, and it stems from the assumption that a CRM solution will be costly to purchase, implement, and maintain. Whenever “cost” is calculated, however, it is essential to factor in the overall value of a CRM solution and its true ROI.
In addition, much of this myth is related to project scope creep. A CRM’s implementation plan must include the allocation of time and resources to test process alignment, make the appropriate adjustments based on these tests, and provide training.
Cutting corners in any of these areas invariably leads to patches and workarounds, which can add to implementation costs. By contrast, when a CRM implementation is well planned from the beginning, any subsequent changes are limited, and the overall project can be managed within budget.
In today’s ultra-competitive global marketplace, it is imperative for businesses to gain a competitive advantage by focusing on the customer experience. CRM software can help companies of all sizes streamline, automate, and monitor customer relationships. In turn, this enables businesses to optimize sales, service, and marketing processes, and strategically deliver the exceptional personalized customer experiences that drive revenue.
About the Author
Vipul Taylor is a certified Salesforce architect at Ness Digital Engineering, with over 15 years of experience in designing secure, high-performance technical solutions that maximize the potential of the Salesforce platform. Vipul is an expert at technical solution design and providing a delivery framework that ensures quality and success.