Why CRM is not Delivering for SME’s


The demand for CRM solutions in the SME market is very buoyant in the current market and there is no sign of slowing down. Whilst many businesses have some sort of CRM, many of them are unhappy with the performance and acceptance of the CRM in the business. Many a time I have heard business owners say that they have bought a package but it is not being used in which case it is all but useless as the data is not complete.

When choosing a CRM solution it is vital to get the input from all those who are going to use it especially the sales force. It is always a question of “What in it for me?” to get people to use a CRM which is why you need to have each and everyone’s feedback on how the CRM will support the business process that they are used to.

Also the customer data itself is often out of date and duplicated so time is wasted in contacting individuals who have left the businesses. With data compliance being tightened under GDPR, it is vital that regular contact is made with your customers – at least every 6 months – to make sure that the information is correct.

Once the data is cleansed, enhanced and updated, coupled with the CRM being regularly used by the teams, the Management can see how the business is really performing.

Buy online or build to order?

With the vast choice of CRM solutions that you can buy online including Hubspot, Zoho, SugarCRM to name but a few, it is often confusing as to understanding what you are actually going to get. Of course they have all the right modules and applications BUT will they work to follow the sales and business processes of your business.

Many businesses with 2 or more employees go for a free option which is fine but must be treated as more a trial rather than a workable implementation. The reason for this is that a free version is limited in its choice of applications and as you grow you will probably need to add other applications which may well be only available if you upgrade. Also buying a branded package means that your business will have to adapt to follow the processes available – it also means that the CRM is never going to be owned by the business and your customer database is your greatest business asset.

Building your own bespoke CRM from scratch means that you get exactly what your business needs, with everyone having a say of what they want in the system. Always start small with the basic modules of Company, Contact, Tasks and Leads and build from there. Once everyone can see that the CRM is working to deliver what they have asked for, the greater the chance that will be used and more importantly, be seen as a tool to make their role more successful and productive.

Contrary to popular belief it does not need to be expensive to build your own CRM. A small business can get one built for around £500 with monthly payments from £47 for unlimited users (See https://www.businessequip.co.uk/crm-engine/) and the CRM will be owned by your business.

Your CRM call to action

Many businesses still have their customer files on a spreadsheet or worse still in paper files. I would encourage those that have, to get ALL your customer data into an electronic format which can then be imported into a centralised CRM system.

So make sure that whatever CRM solution you choose, that it delivers to the needs of your business. If you want some help and guidance on this, contact Jamie here.