10 Common CRM Mistakes

By Lars Helgeson

The best way to build a successful CRM strategy is to be ready for the things that can derail your progress. CRM requires vision, foresight, and a lot of hard work. With the information here, you can prepare for obstacles that have tripped up other people.

Not getting buy in from your team for CRM

CRM is a team effort spanning across all departments. To succeed with CRM, your entire team must be onboard and take ownership of the process. When one person tries to force the CRM vision on everyone else in an organization, resentment ensues. And resistance kills a CRM implementation. Everyone must participate and believe in the why behind the CRM.

Believing CRM is about software

CRM is a mindset and a strategy. Everyone has to change the way he or she thinks about business, and your culture must be one of open communication. Installing your CRM software doesn’t magically solve your business’s problems. Everyone must make the effort to learn and use the software every day. Each team member takes responsibility for going through onboarding and training.

Not doing your homework before jumping in to CRM

You can’t just jump into a CRM and expect it to “work.” You have to take the time to understand your business. You need to build your own data structure, define your processes, and segment your customers. If you don’t take the time to do upfront work, you’ll have to go back and rework everything you started with your CRM.

Not listening to CRM expert advice

Rely on experts who are familiar with CRM technology to guide you through the setup of your CRM on your chosen CRM platform. Your CRM provider should be able to offer you that expert advice or connect you to someone who can. Your CRM vendor has people who have helped many businesses just like yours get CRM working. Regardless of your experience level, getting feedback and bouncing ideas off people who do work with CRM every day is a good idea. If you know CRM experts, talk to them.

Take the time to read articles and reviews about the CRM software you use. Look at what people say and why.

Not going through CRM vendor software training

CRM is complicated, any way you look at it. Most businesses have complex processes that have to get cataloged in a CRM, which means understanding process, information, and the people who use them. Your vendor needs to understand all these things and help you set up your CRM in a way that is usable and makes sense for your team. Take the time to watch instructional videos, read how-to guides, and participate in interactive training.

Not setting up DKIM and SPF

This seemingly small step impacts your ability to deliver email. Many alerts in your CRM and outbound communication to your leads and clients rely on email. If those emails land in the junk folder, your voice is never heard. Setting up DKIM and SPF is a 10- to 15-minute process. Your vendor should have videos you can watch or be available to help walk you through the process.

Buying lists for your CRM

If you buy lists of people to contact, never use email to prospect them cold. You gain a reputation as a spammer, and it affects your ability to deliver emails. Don’t fall into the trap of instant gratification through email. The penalties to your deliverability and brand far outweigh any short-term gain you may see from clicks.

Your ability to communicate relies on getting your messages to the inbox. Don’t jeopardize that by spamming people who don’t know you. ISPs such as Google and Yahoo are good at filtering spam, and a bad reputation follows you. Instead, use a lead nurturing process of driving people to you through advertising and capture them with effective landing pages and forms.

If you do buy a list, have your team contact leads by cold call and ask them for permission to email. Successful calls can start each lead on your customer journey, with targeted messages and ads that drive people to convert.

Relying only on cold calling for your CRM

Some people believe cold calling is the only effective way to generate leads. If it’s your preferred method to generate business, be sure you measure the cost and lead quality generated by those cold calls. Your CRM tracks the success rate. You may find better success using different methods of attracting leads, so diversify to include different methods of acquiring leads and compare your ROI from each lead generation channel.

Not journey mapping first

Use a journey mapping tool to model your process flow before you start designing your CRM and identify the problem you’re trying to solve.

When you can look at a diagram that shows you who does what, you can build your data model, set up your market segments, and design your workflows. Some of the processes are internal (done by your team) and some are external (done by the lead). Do your best to capture and anticipate as many actions and decision points as you can.

Focusing on one requirement

Complete CRM is an all-inclusive solution, one that spans your entire team. Include all your functional areas and people in coming up with your needs and wants. If you require specific functionality, be careful using that one requirement to qualify or disqualify a CRM vendor. Avoid qualifying or disqualifying a vendor based on this one requirement. Remember your bigger picture.

When you look at your strategy and the functionality the vendor offers as a whole, you get a bigger picture of what the CRM can do for you. If you like a particular vendor that doesn’t have a specific functionality you need out of the box, consider the effort required to work around that and build it into your decision-making criteria.