• David Panitch

Don't Let Your CRM Speed Up Bad Processes



Let’s start with a sports analogy. In the NFL, teams hire new coaches and their staff to call better plays and maximize the performance of their players so that they win more games. However, if a new head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator, special teams coach, etc., simply use the current system from their predecessors, nothing will change.


In business, if you have bad processes and purchase a new CRM, hoping to improve things, all that will accomplish is speeding up said processes.


CRMs are certainly intuitive and valuable, but they can’t fix a bad process. That falls on you, and then and only then can you realize the full potential of a CRM.


What Does A Bad Process Look Like For A Business?


A healthy pipeline relies on lead generation, and the way to nurture leads is to organize them with a system of touch points that build out the larger sales cycle.

Below are examples of bad processes:


  • Leads come from many sources--trade shows, web inquiries, LinkedIn connection requests, etc.--and you store them by dropping them in a digital folder and letting them sit with no next steps in the process. If your sales team doesn’t follow up with the leads that’s a problem a CRM won’t fix and a waste of front-end marketing to boot.

  • Let’s say you are doing something with these leads besides leaving them in a folder. Your current system has your sales administrator entering them into a spreadsheet and then reaching out to each via email or snail mail, followed by additional steps. Okay, so it’s better than leaving them out of sight and out of mind in a folder, but if this process isn’t producing results, entering them into a CRM isn’t going to change anything other than automating a process that doesn’t work to begin with.

  • Old habits are hard to break. Salespeople who’ve traditionally managed their pipeline contacts using Excel or Outlook may keep them there, new CRM be damned. It’s not uncommon for salespeople to migrate their contacts to the CRM except for the details and substantive correspondences, which will remain in those other applications and not shared where they should be.


The Consequences of Not Fixing a Process Before Implementing a New CRM


A same bad process, different CRM situation doesn’t end well. The financial consequences are significant and typically play out in two ways:


  1. You hate the CRM software you just poured money into and get rid of it.

  2. You recognize too late that your processes, not the CRM, are the problems, and you have to start all over again. You have to tear the house down, clear out the foundation, and build it back up, and that’s too high a price to pay for most companies.


The Right Approach


There’s a three-pronged approach to minimize risk and raise the success rate in implementing a new CRM solution:


  1. Always start with your future requirements and document them in as much detail as possible.

  2. Leverage an employee who’s a process wiz and can do some reengineering, or hire someone from the outside.

  3. Manage expectations and scope. Your sales team will have to understand the benefits of a new CRM, and the sooner you can secure their buy-in, the better.


Finally, rather than chomping at the bit by trying to automate everything on day one, allow the system to get up and running first. I advise people to run it for 90 days, during which time you should notate process needs. On that 90th day, take a look and see which functionalities you want to implement and how you’ll prioritize them.


At the end of the day, your goal is to improve business relationships to, well, grow your business. A CRM will only help if your processes are sound.



Results Technology Group provides technology services to our clients with best-in-class software selection, project management, and business technology leadership services. To learn more about how we might help you with your CRM journey, schedule a free 30-minute technology discussion.

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