CRM Challenges and Our Expert Solutions

CRM defined

Here you’ll find a breakdown of common challenges you might face when using and implementing CRM systems, plus tips on how your business can overcome them. 


CRM systems come with many benefits, but there are still some challenges that may make them difficult to implement within your business. That’s why we’re here, to give you the solutions so you can tackle these CRM challenges head on.

We’ve listed the seven most common CRM issues you might run into when using this software.

You’ll soon be able to enjoy all the productivity, efficiency, and profit-increasing benefits CRM systems can provide.


1. People Problems 

You may think your biggest challenge with a CRM system will concern the technology itself, but actually, businesses often find that the greatest challenge is teaching the system to employees.

Some of your employees might be open and willing to make the change, but others may be reluctant. This can hamper productivity, and you won’t see the full benefits of the CRM system – so it’s best to get everyone on board.

Solution:

The challenges with CRM implementation can be resolved by introducing the new system in a comprehensive and informative way that is easy for employees to digest.

Ensure a clear strategy is in place so that the new system can easily be learnt. Trying to implement a whole new system without understanding it yourself or having good training in place will make it a lot harder.

Take into account everyone’s pace with technology, and ensure anyone who is struggling receives further support. Some people may take to the new system quickly, whilst others could feel left behind. Stay on top of this so that everyone has a fair chance at learning.

A lot of resistance often comes from not wanting change, so introduce the new system in a way that demonstrates how it will improve productivity and efficiency. Once your team members realize their jobs will become easier, more people will jump on board.

The quicker everyone can learn how to use the CRM system, the sooner your business will be able to fully benefit from it.

The implementation process of your new CRM system should align with your company culture. In other words, the processes and functions of the system should mirror processes already in place. This enables users to easily get used to and understand the system.

Imagine if nearly every process changed with the adoption of a new system – it would be much harder for employees to use that system effectively.

Remember, the software is there to make things easier and more efficient for your business.

Here are some ways you can go about implementing a CRM system:

  • Introduce the changes slowly. There is no need to rush.
  • Start with the basics, then move on to the more complex functions and processes.
  • Be as hands on as possible. Leadership should get stuck in, encouraging others to give it a real go.
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2. Underusing Features

Statistically, almost half of CRM users are not using the available features on their CRM software.

The main reason is that there is a lack of awareness around what a CRM system actually is, and what it can do.

While you may be clued up on the ins and outs of your CRM system, chances are your entire team is not.

Solution:

Reach out to your CRM provider and use its resources. You can often speak to the company’s support team via phone or live chat if you want to hear from a real person.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly – the more you know, the better you will be able to use the CRM system to increase your efficiency.

What to know about reducing efficiency:

  • You can also use resources available online, such as videos, articles, and tutorials
  • Many providers will have a dedicated online space for education and training
  • Making the most of these resources will be one of the best ways for you and your business to truly utilize your system

Commit to learning everything you can about the system, and you’ll benefit from it so much more.


3. Too Costly

Everyone wants to boost customer engagement, drive efficiency, and increase sales. However, the best CRM systems for this often come with a hefty price tag.

Cost is one of the bigger CRM problems, as the software can be a risky investment – especially if its features are underused or the team is unable to properly implement them. These issues can certainly make you feel like the price is not worth it, despite all the raving reviews you’ve heard.

If cost is your biggest block to going for a CRM system, or is making you rethink your decision, here are some ways to make things a little easier on the pocket.

Solution:

Downgrade! Downgrading your current plan will lead to a lower cost. CRM systems are priced in tiers, so opting for a version with less features or storage can significantly reduce what you pay.

What to know about reducing costs:

  • Many CRM providers offer a free version, although this is only suitable for new or very small businesses
  • If you’re really wanting to scale back costs, you can opt for a free version until you feel ready to make a more informed decision, and then invest your money into a more comprehensive system
  • CRM systems are priced per user. To reduce costs, you can limit the amount of people that have access to your chosen software

There are a bunch of good value CRM systems out there, all with their own pros and cons. Compare costs to find the right one for you.


4. Choosing the Wrong System

Your business and team objectives should be taken fully into account when choosing the right CRM system.

Certain aspects of the system may be used more than others, or designed for specific teams (for example, customer service). This might mean that other teams won’t be able to utilize those aspects in a way that serves them. Choosing a  system that’s a poor fit can mean missing out on vital opportunities.

This mistake can be a huge one due to the time and money it costs to find and switch to the right system.

Solution:

Choosing the right system in the first instance is key to avoiding an expensive mistake and ensuring success.

This is why it is important to do your research, so you can make an informed and accurate decision when choosing the right CRM system for your business.

Prior to choosing the system, set goals and objectives. Once you have set these, they can serve as your roadmap to finding the right system.

Some goals and objectives to think about include:

  • Ensuring customer satisfaction. Loyal customers are born from happy customers. When customer satisfaction is your main aim, you will be focused on finding a system that will help you engage people in the long term. Features to look for include omnichannel functionality and personalized communication.
  • Expanding your customer base. Choose a system that can streamline your marketing efforts for quicker conversion – such as Zoho CRM, which provides workflow automation and a customizable platform to suit your needs.
  • Improving team efficiency. Your teams are one of your top assets, and ensuring they have the right tools and resources at their disposal will only enhance this.

With a clear focus in mind, you will be able to find the best system for your needs. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to locate the right software.

One more top tip: the system you choose needs to be scalable to grow with your business. Choosing a system that is right for your business now but doesn’t have the capacity to grow later is a costly mistake.

Ensure that you have an accurate picture of your business and its predicted growth so you can make an informed decision.

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5. Privacy 

Canadian privacy laws, specifically the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), regulate how your business handles customers' personal information.

You should also be aware of GDPR. This pesky EU regulation means that when dealing with customers in Europe, certain data guidelines need to be adhered to – even though your business is based in Canada.

GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation, applies to those outside of the European Union when processing personal data if your business is established in the EU. It doesn’t matter if the data is processed elsewhere.

There is some overlap between GDPR and the PIPEDA, but you still may have to take some extra steps when dealing with data from the EU.

Solution:

Education! Educate yourself on the necessary regulations and what your Canadian business must do to comply with these regulations. If not, a hefty fine could be headed your way.

Here are some things to be mindful of:

  • An employee error is not a legitimate justification for violating PIPEDA, so staff must be trained on your business's privacy policy.
  • Your business is responsible for protecting personal information, so extra steps should be taken, such as encrypting devices that may contain this information.
  • PIPEDA legislates that you must have a privacy officer. Ensure this individual is clearly identified and known within your business.
  • Ensure everything regarding EU data subjects is logged. You have to be able to show where the data is from, what the customer has consented to (and when), and what you’ve been sending them
  • EU customers have the right to object to their data being used for personal marketing
  • EU customers have the right to request you to delete their personal data in some circumstances

6. Security Concerns

The information stored on your system is key to the success of your business. However, it can also be very destructive in the wrong hands.

CRM systems deal with large amounts of confidential information and data. One of the biggest questions you might have when choosing a system is “how do I keep my data safe?”.

Solution:

Secure your servers.

Your customer data may be stored in one of two ways. The first is cloud-based storage, and it’s handled by the company providing the CRM system.

The second option is storing physical servers on your premises. You will have more control over your data, but you will need to take an active approach to ensure everything is kept secure.

The physical site of the servers will also need to have security measures in place at access points.

Here are some ways to protect your own servers:

  • Prevent or reduce remote access. This can cause some inconvenience, but it is vital to strengthen security and prevent hackers accessing the server remotely.
  • Update admin login details frequently with strong passwords.

Cloud-based CRM systems are safe. But because cloud data appears to be stored in an intangible place, many worry about how secure it really is. The reality is, choosing a cloud-based system will actually mean you don’t need to take extra security precautions yourself.

Solution two:

Manage CRM access

It’s important to have security measures in place when it comes to who can access your data. Whilst employees want to feel trusted, it is important to balance that trust with your own security concerns.

Here are some thoughts on managing access:

  • Limiting admin access is one way to ensure data does not end up in the wrong place. Not every user needs the same level of access.
  • Data downloads should also be limited. In some cases, employees have to download certain pieces of information, but there should not be a widespread ability to download data from the system.
  • Once an employee has left the company, their access should be completely terminated.
  • It’s important to ensure that users never share logins.

7. Out-of-Date Information

A common problem with CRM systems is that, after a while, you will find the system clogged up with out-of-date or irrelevant information.

CRM systems do a lot – like collecting, storing, organizing, and managing data. What they don’t do, however, is keep your information clean and up to date.

This can mean that your system is not as efficient, because old information can take up a lot of space.

Solution:

Carry out regular cleanings. Contacts who are unresponsive or whose emails have been bouncing should be cleared out. Old or unclosed sales leads or prospects can also be swept out.

This exercise is not simply a matter of pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Sometimes old prospects, leads or customers can be re-engaged. A specific campaign can be set up to reinvigorate these old contacts, which can actually lead to your database being refreshed with tons of new prospects.

Other items that can be removed include old reports, email templates, and files.

Making this a routine exercise will not only clear out unwanted stuff, but also free up storage space. If storage is an issue for you, you can always purchase more.

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What’s Next?

Now that you’re up to speed on all the challenges and solutions, are you ready to find your perfect CRM system – if you don’t already have one, that is?

If you’re in the market for a CRM system for your small business or want to explore the most popular CRMs in Canada, we’ve got you. You can use our free tool to get matched with the right one.

Use our guide to help troubleshoot CRM challenges and make your journey smoother.

You know the benefits and the challenges of CRM systems, and are well-equipped to implement and use a CRM system successfully.

Using a new system can be complex and frustrating for various reasons, including low employee engagement, privacy concerns, and cost. But challenges don’t have to mean you can’t use or make the most of your system – instead, use these factors as an opportunity to increase your knowledge and skills.

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Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.