Sales Leaders Want CRM Replacement Just Two Years After Purchase – What’s Going Wrong

Global sales leaders, after spending enough time and money to select and deploy a CRM, find themselves disillusioned with it.  A Forrester study says failure to see productivity gain and new revenue is the reason. And the research suggests they want their CRMs replaced after using it for just two years.

What’s going wrong

Forrester’s VP and Principal Analyst Kate Leggett says that organizations increasingly adopt CRM solutions because they want all the modern-day technologies – real-time analytics, AI, and automation features – that hold the promise of helping organizations sell better and smarter.

But the research, which surveyed over 300 sales leaders from the US, Europe, and Asia, found 43% want their CRMs replaced within the next two years. Primarily because these purchases have fallen short of expectations on many fronts. 

Surveying CRM users, the research found that 44% of them expect to see increased productivity of sales teams, 35% expect their CRMs to help increase customer retention, while 28% are looking to improve margins. None of which is really happening, therefore the disappointment. 

The biggest challenge for sales leaders is managing data quality. Every other sales leader surveyed said managing data quality is the number one issue with their CRM. The longer the CRM has been in place, the more complex it has become, translating to fewer reps adopting it.  There’s another major issue: 43% find it very complex to use. Of course, if the CRM is complex to use, sellers will not use the CRM or use it reluctantly, leading to poor data quality. The result? Poor forecasting and insights.

Avoid a failed CRM deployment 

What do you have to do differently to be on the winning side? Kate says that CRM isn’t just a technology play – it’s a lot more than that. It is about having the right strategy, vision, and metrics. And, of course, keeping the customer at the center is paramount.

In simpler terms, Kate suggests that leaders like you should take a step back and define your CRM investment’s key drivers and business goals. Goals that you can measure your progress against. The next step is to collaborate and develop a business case involving stakeholders from other business areas. Again, because CRM touches not just sellers. It touches other areas of your business like accounting, finance, revenue, and operations.

CRM isn’t just a technology play – it’s a lot more than that. It is about having the right strategy, vision, and metrics. And, of course, keeping the customer at the center is paramount.

– Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester

And lastly, establish measurable metrics of success. These are clear business-specific metrics that can be tied back to your CRM goals. This way, you will end up measuring and reporting on the success of your CRM initiatives.

Ideal CRM 

So, what are the non-negotiable attributes of a CRM? Ease of integration with other systems is the top attribute sales leaders look for. Secondly, it has to be user-friendly and intuitive with the necessary features and functions. Kate says sellers need a visually appealing user interface that’s easy to navigate and reduces the need for figuring out all the functionalities, which significantly reduces their selling time.

Great customer support is the third most important attribute – how quickly are you getting a response from the support team while facing problems with your CRM. This has become so important because of how complex the CRMs are in the market. 

Newbie scare

It’s no surprise that the right CRM-team fit can work wonders. Still, several organizations haven’t adopted CRM solutions. The research finds that three behavioral patterns prevent organizations from adopting a CRM solution. First: the challenges in changing existing business processes to enable the deployment of a modern CRM solution. The legacy processes need to go, and the organization has to define new ways to work, and that helps streamline sales operations. 

The second significant barrier is the perceived high total cost of ownership of these solutions. (Note the most important word here: perceived.) 

Lastly, the long-term contracts tie organizations into a CRM purchase for longer than they may feel comfortable committing to. 

When you get the right software, Kate says changing the existing business processes isn’t as time-consuming or complicated as it looks. The total ownership cost of modern solutions is also affordable as the return on investment is great – happy customers. 

Also, several relevant case studies show how modern CRM solutions increase sales, productivity, and customer retention.