6 Reasons Why Organizational Growth is Stunted by Legacy CRM Solutions

Robin joined his current organization in the early nineties and was among the first batch of twenty five employees. Back then, the top management decided they needed to focus on customer relationship management more and therefore needed a software to store basic customer information and contact details. They quickly employed a handful of IT professionals to accomplish this task and get a head start on their competitors. The software they developed generated a unique customer ID for every new customer created and had sets of fields for capturing or displaying pertinent details.

Short term ROI from legacy CRM
In a few months, the application was available to their employees across the city, they happily added all the required information in the hope it would help improve customer relationship management. Orders were captured and fresh information was added to the software. Sometimes, when new fields were required, a formal request was sent to the IT team and a few days later it was available for users.

In the first few years, Robin's company only sold a handful of products in his city and surrounding large towns. Using their in-house CRM solution, their teams avoided sending letters to the wrong address or misspelling names. To analyze information, an excel sheet was generated using the information from the CRM and filtered to display the week's Birthdays or the month's top performer.

In the following years, the top management's initial forward thinking strategies led to considerable growth and their product line and employee count increased. By the end of the decade, offices had been set-up in three countries and the staff count had multiplied.

CRM solutions should be future proof
As the organization's customer base grew constantly, their headaches with their legacy CRM software increased too. Often customer details were difficult to find because information was updated once a week. In addition, to access any additional information related to a customer's complaints, requests, purchases, preferences, etc. alternate systems needed to be accessed. Often, when interacting with a customer to make a sale or share a solution, the employee would navigate between multiple excel sheets and their email inbox. Identifying a customer ID to check their records became an uphill task, with the mounting data, the system had become slow and the user interface was difficult to navigate for the young new staff which was used to more user friendly applications.

Robin soon realized that the in-house CRM was steadily becoming a 'white elephant', it had begun to impede customer relationship management  rather than enhance it. Some of the blatant issues the organization was facing in customer relationship management were -

  • Unnecessary overtime - His team regularly spent several additional hours in the office to update multiple excel sheets and record important emails. 
  • Employee Attrition - The top management started to worry about not only losing leads, but their internal customers - members of their hand-picked staff! The war for talent and instability within their organization would lead to high attrition rates.
  • Inefficient use of time - Instead of making sales or quickly resolving customer complaints, their employees were spending a large part of their day on non-core activities and routine tasks. 
  • Poor tracking for campaigns - The marketing team was very unhappy too, running campaigns and tracking their success was very complicated without an effective CRM software. 
  • Low lead conversions - The sales team would often miss out on leads created from campaigns due to poor pipeline visibility and inefficient inter-department collaborations. 
  • Inconsistent marketing communications - Creating templates with their company branding took hours and each personalized email to a customer was carefully proof read and approved by relevant senior members of the staff. 

The winds of change with cloud CRM
Luckily for Robin's organization, when the Chief Technology Officer retired, a young and dynamic new person replaced him. She had several solutions to prevent the once flourishing company from closing down - the most critical change was to implement a cloud CRM in the first few months. With the company's diminishing profits but strong focus on product innovation and customer experience, the cloud CRM would help establish their position once again without denting their budget or employing additional IT personnel.

After evaluating multiple solutions, their team eventually identified a cloud CRM software which would be relatively quick to implement and inexpensive compared to the costs of running their existing IT infrastructure.   The CRM solution would enable multi-system integration including CTI (computer telephony integration) and a centralized solutions database. It automated sales, marketing and services and ensured effective activity management along with transparent collaborations across territories. Most importantly, the CRM solution was available across devices - desktop PC, laptops, tablets and smartphones, with real-time information around the clock.

CRM success
The cloud CRM's subscription model and cloud database kept costs low and encouraged teams to experiment more with new product lines and customer strategies without directly impacting long term bottom line revenues. Ad hoc layouts and reports with slice and dice information from the new fields added to these layouts helped identify possible future bottlenecks and better strategies. Though, initially, some users were worried about security and possible downtime, selecting a practice-led CRM solution ensured optimal workflows and customer strategies were incorporated during the CRM implementation.

With a new financial year around the corner, Robin's organization is switching from the cloud CRM model to an enterprise CRM with the same vendor to meet their expanding customer base and need for effective data mining strategies to optimize customer experience. The transition will be smooth and new CRM tools will be incorporated to enable sentiment analysis and social performance management. The organization learnt from its experiences and ensures CRM software is flexible and easy to customize.