5 signs you need to implement or upgrade your CRM

Unsure whether or not your existing CRM solution is still the best option, or if it’s keeping pace with evolving customer demands? Take a look at these five ways to determine if your current CRM software is in need of an upgrade.

Thanks to the proliferation of digital technology, the customer experience has changed. Today’s customer has far higher expectations of your brand – and the way in which you deliver your products and services – than ever before.

According to a recent Walker report, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator, and 86% of customers say they will pay more for a better customer experience.[1]

To be relevant in 2020, companies must focus on leveraging big data to create a single source of truth and making customer intelligence accessible throughout the enterprise,” the Walker report says.

When it comes to meeting customer needs in this dynamic and effective way, having a robust and up-to-date Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is becoming more and more essential.

Already, most businesses have realised the importance of CRM. 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use CRM software[2], and according to Gartner, CRM has the highest revenue growth of any sub-segment in the cloud-computing industry.

Despite widespread recognition that a CRM platform can provide a valuable source of information, evidence suggests that many organisations are still operating with dated CRM software or spreadsheets that aren’t meeting expectations or delivering what they need to.

Spreadsheets are an easy to use, well-known way to organise your data, and plenty of businesses rely on spreadsheets to track sales, organise customer data, and create reports. The problem? Spreadsheets have a lot of shortcomings: you need multiple sheets to track different kinds of data, you can’t track customer relationships, and all of your information is spread across separate devices and salespeople. Plus, only one person can use it at a time.

Following are five key signs your existing CRM solution may require an update:

1. It has limited functionality

Technology moves quickly – as do the expectations of your customers. If your business is operating with dated software, there’s a chance it’s falling short when it comes to helping you respond to customers quickly, accurately and in real-time.

According to a recent article by IBM, feedback from growing and adept user bases has resulted in the culling of the most demanded CRM features, and the most sought after features are now ease of use, schedule management and data snapshots.[3]

Source: IBM Infographic: 2017 CRM Statistics

Source: IBM Infographic: 2017 CRM Statistics

Therefore, when it comes to determining the functional scope and performance of your existing solution, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Does it have a logical interface and is it easy to use?
  • Can you use your CRM to effectively schedule people or tasks?
  • Does it give you an accurate snapshot of your overall CRM activity? And does it enable you to integrate predictive data, so you can anticipate and respond to customers’ future needs as well as their current ones?
  • Can you use your CRM solution to manage your email marketing activity?
  • Can it help you segment your clients and data?


2. It’s expensive to maintain

Maintaining a large, on-premises CRM solution can be both time-consuming and costly – and the associated costs can grow exponentially over time.

If your solution is purpose-built, or if your solution vendor has stopped supporting your original solution, you will need to be performing maintenance internally. This means ensuring your IT team has the suitable level of expertise, and may also involve training new staff so they understand the existing system.

Depending on how dated your solution is, it may also be unreliable and require constant modifications or patches, which can be expensive to apply. All of this CRM maintenance diverts the attention of your IT resources away from other, more strategic and more valuable aspects of your business.

3. It makes little use of data

Today, with so much data available on your customers – from all different areas of your business, it’s vital that your CRM incorporate this.

While traditional CRM systems enable you to store a range of data relating to your customers, your ongoing relationship with them, and any related sales activity, many also operate in a silo fashion and aren’t integrated with the rest of your business data.

By contrast, a modern solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can enable you to bring all of your different data sets together – helping you manage and respond to customers in a way that makes sense for your entire business.

When it comes to data, signs that your existing CRM solution isn’t meeting your needs can include:

  • An inability to integrate data or business intelligence from other sources
  • A lack of integration with social media applications or website tracking tools

The need for manual handling of CRM data for reporting or analysis purposes (e.g. printing out spreadsheets or reports from the system to compare with other data).

4. It’s not in the cloud

Today, your people expect to be able to work from anywhere, at any time. To operate as productively as possible, your sales team need to be able to access the very latest information about your customers – regardless of where they happen to be.

48% of CRM users now access their software from a smartphone, with 45% accessing from a tablet, and 81% of users are now accessing their CRM software from multiple devices.[4]

If your CRM solution doesn’t incorporate mobile connectivity, you’re missing an opportunity to help your sales people connect with customers in far more effective and seamless ways. In 2008, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM. However, this figure has now increased to 87%.[5]

Research by Innoppl Technologies showed that 65% of sales reps who have adopted mobile CRM have achieved their sales quotas, while only 22% of reps using non-mobile CRM have reached the same targets.[6]

Source: SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017

Source: SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017


5. It lacks integration

If your CRM solution is operating as a stand-alone system, it may also be time to think about an upgrade.

To enable optimal productivity, your CRM solution needs to be integrated with the other business systems – such as financial management, staff scheduling and even operational data.

For instance, by integrating your CRM and your supply chain management, you can more effectively respond to customers’ requests for certain products – alerting them as to exactly where a product is at any time. Similarly, you can use built-in intelligence to predict when and what you need to replenish, ensuring your inventory levels are maintained to avoid shortages and lost sales. And from a sales perspective, you can shorten the time from quote to cash, by connecting your sales and accounting data.

Say, for instance, you run a manufacturing operation, and you encounter a problem with a piece of machinery which is likely to result in a product delay. This delay will affect certain customers who have pre-ordered the product. If your supply chain and logistics management technology is tightly integrated with your CRM, members of your sales team can receive alerts that they need to proactively contact certain customers regarding the delay… before it has a negative impact on the relationship.

So, you need to upgrade your Dynamics CRM solution. What now?

If you don’t have the latest version of Dynamics CRM installed, the latest upgrade all the way to the latest version available – which of May 2017, is update 2 (Dynamics 365 on Dynamics CRM 2016). In order to do that, you’ll need to go through all major CRM versions.

For instance, if you have Dynamics CRM 2011 installed, you cannot jump directly to Dynamics 365 on-premise. You’ll need to upgrade to Dynamics CRM 2013, 2013 SP1, 2015, and 2016, and then install the latest update to 365. This upgrade process can take a long time and, the older the CRM version installed, the harder it will be to upgrade because of all the customisations and codes that have been deprecated.

This step is necessary because, in order to move your customisations to Dynamics 365, you’ll need to import your solutions, which have to be exported from a CRM with the same version.

Things to consider before upgrading:

  • Main CRM customisations
  • Custome ASP.net pages
  • Plugins
  • Reports
  • JavaScript
  • Data Migration

Things to know about the recent release of Dynamics 365:

  • The current version is Dynamics 365 v8.2
  • The next version is – Dynamics 365 v9.0 (“July 2017” update)
    • Key Features
    • New unified UI – better interface and more consistent between platforms
    • Activities improvements – better activity pane and new email editing tool
    • Multi-select option Sets – long requested feature
    • Improved process flows – more interactivity and display options
    • Virtual entities – more integration options
  • Risks – preparing for the version after next (v10?)
    • Depreciated Outlook client – being replaced with App for Outlook
    • Depreciated JavaScript API code – need a code review to ensure continued functionality
    • Depreciated dialogs – to be replaced by process flows
    • Other depreciated features


Want to learn more?

If you’re thinking about upgrading your CRM software, please get in touch. We can work with you to determine your needs, review your existing solution, and provide specific recommendations about whether a new solution is right for your business, and where and how you can upgrade.

[1] Walker, Customers 2020: The Future of B-2-B Customer Experience, accessed 2 October 2017, https://www.walkerinfo.com/Customers2020/.

[2] SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017, accessed 2 October 2017, https://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

[3] IBM, 2017 CRM Statistics Show Why it’s a Powerful Marketing Weapon, accessed 2 October 2017,  https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/d27b1c65-986e-4a4f-a491-5e8eb23980be/entry/2017_CRM_Statistics_Show_Why_it_s_a_Powerful_Marketing_Weapon?lang=en

[4] SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017, accessed 2 October 2017, https://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

[5] SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017, accessed 2 October 2017, https://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

[6] SuperOffice: 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2017, accessed 2 October 2017, https://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

Tags: Cloud, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Office 365



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