How easy is it to switch CRM software?

7th Sep 2018

Many companies are discouraged from changing CRM provider because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive. But is this true?

Google the term ‘CRM failure’ and a stack of articles appear. Has your CRM implementation failed to deliver on the outcomes you wanted? Are you considering a move but you’re just too scared to start all over again? 

The majority of companies are put-off from moving because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive. But not doing anything may be the wrong answer and sticking with what you have is, in reality, a step backwards.

Think about why your organisation invested in CRM in the first place - there was a belief at the outset that it would benefit the business and make a difference; driving more sales, increased productivity, increased customer loyalty and many other benefits.

So, the fact that the current CRM isn’t delivering doesn’t mean that these needs have disappeared, so why live with a solution that isn’t bringing these benefits to your business? 

Longer term cost savings

Modifying and tweaking the existing system is one way to try and improve the situation. However, if this is going to be complicated and expensive, and require on-going changes and modifications, then this may not be the most cost-effective remedy. 

Whilst a complete change of CRM will involve a higher initial up-front cost, making the switch will over time be financially beneficial. Having a CRM solution that works properly and effectively will lower the overall costs and increase profits and revenue. 

Improved user adoption

User-adoption is another key consideration when thinking about sticking with your current CRM. Whilst the business may be spending money and effort trying to fix the problematic areas, if your users have written the system off as no-good, or don’t like the way it performs and operates then they are unlikely to engage with it once the modifications have been made.

User attitude is a difficult one to fix and often a clean break can be the best route, with the benefits outweighing the cost and challenges of moving. 

Choosing the right vendor/implementation partner

When looking at alternative vendors, be sure to find out if they have moved at least one organisation from your current platform before. How did they do it? How easy was it and what proof points do they have to back-up their promises? What references can be provided?

Moving CRM is far easier when the new vendor has previous experience and expertise in moving organisations from your current platform onto theirs. 

Data migration

One of the most common concern is about data migration, extracting all of the data out of the current system.

Our advice is simple: Don’t boil the ocean. You don’t necessarily have to move all your data and you may want to consider using the move as a data cleansing exercise. The likelihood of prospect data from ten years ago being relevant and useful today is often low. And that is without even talking about GDPR!

How much of your existing information is real, live data as opposed to just noise and dirt?

Consider storing some of the old data elsewhere and only bringing across the information you think is useful and needed into the new CRM. If, once the new CRM is operating, you find that you did need that particular year’s data, you can still import it – but don’t try and do everything at once if it is not required.

Be realistic 

Do you really need to have a full whiz, bang, flashing CRM solution that works with every social media network, integrates with three other business systems and has amazing mobile app capabilities all at once? No. Get the basics right first. Refocus on what is critical to your business success.

Ensure that the new CRM is delivering the business outcomes and benefits you want most at the start and that there is strong user adoption within the business. The flashy parts can come further down the line. First, make sure that the new solution is working effectively, that it is being used properly and that your staff like it; then you can build in the ‘nice to haves’. 

Moving to a new CRM need not be as difficult as first perceived. Selecting a new, more effective solution will take time and requires diligent research and detailed, technical discussions with a number of vendors. But the right solution will bring the benefits that were originally envisaged for the business, along with stronger finances, happier staff and loyal, cared for customers. Too many are living with poor or sub optimal benefits from CRM and the step up really isn’t that hard. 

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By fb3003
25th Sep 2018 14:07

In our dealings, majority of customers have unrealistic expectations from their CRM application. In our dealing with unhappy customers, we tell them to come up with 3 absolute must-haves and we will work together to realize those in the new CRM solution and let's agree to forget about the rest for the first 6 months. Managing their expectations is the key to success and this makes a lot easier to have them switch their CRM application.

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