9 CRM Mistakes to Avoid

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When properly utilized, CRM software can greatly enhance your sales team’s ability to hit their sales goals. Unfortunately, many teams are failing to use their CRM to its full potential.

Here are some of the most common CRM mistakes that could be happening on your team—as well as how you can fix them:

1. Failure to align your CRM to your sales process.

If you’re new to CRM, you might see the software as a digital Rolodex. But in fact it is so much more. To optimize your CRM program, you will probably need to implement customizations. These customizations should be designed to align with your sales process and the overall customer experience. For example, if you use the MEDDIC method to qualify leads, that process can be built into your CRM.

By customizing your CRM to fit your processes, managers will be able to glance at their dashboards and better understand the current state of the pipeline.

2. Not integrating your CRM with marketing tools.

Many companies mistakenly think of CRM as a software tool belonging to the sales department. But by integrating CRM with marketing tools—in consultation with the marketing department—your sales representatives will receive more qualified leads to pursue.

To fully enjoy the benefits of CRM, it should be fully integrated with your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) and other marketing tools. 80% of marketing automation users see an increase in leads, while 77% see an increase in conversions. Integrating CRM with marketing tools doesn’t just provide sales representatives with a source for leads, but also offers valuable information about those leads—thereby saving time.

3. Not setting and enforcing procedures for CRM usage.

Sales representatives can’t reap the benefits of CRM if they don’t actually use the software on a regular basis. Many representatives are resistant to using CRM and will need to be guided in proper CRM usage.

Create standardized procedures for how representatives should enter data into CRM, train your representatives, and then actually enforce them. To effectively encourage CRM usage, make it a policy that sales activity not recorded in the CRM doesn’t count for commissions or performance evaluation. You can also run sales contests to encourage best practices and avoid CRM mistakes.

4. Not knowing the difference between Leads, Contacts, and Opportunities.

Terminology is critical for successful CRM usage. Salesforce and other CRM applications differentiate between leads, contacts, and opportunities. Sometimes these definitions don’t coincide with the colloquial terms utilized in your department. In a CRM program these distinctions aren’t merely semantic but reflect relevant information about the state of the sales cycle. Failure to understand terminology results in a confused CRM system that is less capable of accurately forecasting sales.

All CRM users should understand these distinctions, how and why to convert leads into opportunities, and know how to add additional contacts to an account.

When you first import data into your CRM, import them as leads. A lot of your contacts are not yet opportunities and should not be treated as such.

5. Not deduplicating your database.

Bad data seriously damages your team’s ability to leverage the CRM. Duplicate data is the most common culprit. If you have multiple entries for the same prospect, the information users consult is less helpful than it could be. On a larger level, bad data means that the insights gleamed from CRM data analytics is unreliable.

If you are importing data into your CRM from multiple sources, you will need to deduplicate it as part of the implementation process. Even after implementation, it’s a good idea to check for duplicates regularly. Most CRM applications include tools to do this automatically, although manually checking for duplicates is also useful.

6. Including too many required fields in your CRM.

While CRM systems are capable of retaining a great deal of information about individual leads, don’t require too many data fields. When users have to input a lot of data at once, they are less likely to utilize the CRM. Users should only have to enter in a bare minimum of information about a lead when they first enter it into the system. More information can always be added at a later time.

7. Failure to define and track KPIs.

The sales team should implement CRM in order to achieve measurable goals, not simply because it seems like the thing to do. Determine what your goals in CRM implementation are and identify KPIs for measuring your success. Ideally, you should measure different KPIs across multiple areas of concern.

Periodically assess your progress. If you are failing to meet your goals, take steps to analyze why.

8. Ignoring social media integrations.

75% of B2B buyers utilize social media in their purchasing decisions. Sales teams who cultivate a strong social media presence have a leg up over non-social media savvy competitors.

Social media integration is one of the most useful tools offered by modern CRM applications. Sales representatives who fail to utilize social CRM tools are missing out on potential leads. It’s not enough just to monitor mentions of your company on social media. Sales representatives need to be actively engaging with potential customers on social media. Some platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be a great source for locating relevant prospects.

As part of your standard CRM training, show sales representatives how to use social CRM tools and review best practices for social selling.

9. Not integrating your CRM into your larger business strategy.

Don’t fall into the trap of regarding CRM primarily as a tool for the sales and customer service teams. After all, your entire business is concerned with serving customers better. To that end, data from the CRM should be accessible across multiple departments. Marketing can benefit from learning more about your customers and prospects needs.

By accessing CRM data, marketing can learn about the efficacy of their campaigns. The product development team can integrate insights gleamed from the CRM into new products and services.

When utilized well, CRM will enhance all aspects of your business. By avoiding these big CRM mistakes, your team can make more sales and improve customer retention.

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Senior Marketing Manager @ CloserIQ. Previously Recruiter @ ManpowerGroup & Freelance Social Media Strategist. University of Wisconsin Journalism & Strategic Communication Grad.