Your CRM is Probably Not Broken

Yes, believe it or not, your glorified rolodex probably isn’t as messed up as you think it is.  I know that hearing this can be like hearing from your trusted friends that your living room would look much better without the floor-to-ceiling tubs of accessories from your childhood.  I used to be that guy, too… Figuratively speaking.  But, no more, I assure you.

Kidding aside, it’s easy to blame your sales database when it isn’t giving you the data you need to do your job – namely, sell.  But, how did you get from the beginning – with a brand new CRM, full of promise – to where you are now, with a beast you know isn’t serving you?  To answer that question, we need to start at the beginning of your journey – actually, before you even had that CRM.  Now, take a brief sojourn with me… 

Down Memory Lane

Before you needed a CRM to help you sell your products or services, what were you doing with your business?  Your business and its various processes undoubtedly all evolved before your contact database was ever a factor.  CRM very likely came into the picture when: 

  • Your marketing or post-sales departments started missing milestone dates because they didn’t get the email or text that told them they needed to do something

  • You started missing follow-ups yourself because you ran out of Post-It notes

  • It stopped making sense to email everyone in your database a monthly digest from Gmail because your list grew to over one hundred contacts (that one probably happened pretty quickly)

  • You wanted to add accountability to your business by tracking who modified your customer records, which isn’t so easy to do in MS Excel (actually, impossible)

You probably started out with everything you needed to fix these issues, but somewhere down the line…it all went to pot.

You might even have the very same issues you started with.

And, this is really good news for you.


It means you have the power to fix the issues that came up by taking a look at the system you already have, and assessing how well it fits your business today, and then – and only then – making any changes to it.

Cleaning Out Your Closet

Unless you put money down on a bona fide bad CRM (I suppose they do exist), chances are yours isn’t working the way you need it to because it hasn’t grown with your business.  It needs the power of integration and proper field mapping to know when information should pass from one platform to another.  It needs the workflow rules set to send out mass emails at certain times.  It isn’t smart enough to know when you need certain things done, so it’s incumbent upon you to get down and dirty and make those things happen when you see the opportunities to do so arise.  …In short, it needs a little tidying power from you (and the administrator, if that’s not you).

If It Ain’t Broke, How Do You Know What to Fix?

Now that you know your CRM is likely very capable of handling your business but just needs a little TLC, here are some areas I’d consider looking into:

  • Your customer’s journey – Like the hero’s journey, but more lucrative.  Are your prospects being fed the info nuggets they crave at the right time in your sales cycle for them to eat up your products or services?  If not, you may see a glaring gap or bottleneck in your process at a certain point.

  • Your lead-to-win rate – How effective are your various lead sources at producing top-quality leads?  Is it time to cut off a dud, or funnel more money into a powerhouse?  Running a report will help loads with this.

  • Your integrations – Can you tell how effective your marketing department is based on data that comes from your marketing automation platform(s) into your CRM?  If not, it’s time to strengthen that integration, or simply track more data points from point A to B to begin with.

Easier said than done?  Well, maybe not even… If you aren’t sure how to make these fixes, it might be worth sitting down with a CRM consultant to help you – but, if you know enough about the CRM already to be dangerous, then chances are you can do a little tinkering to push yourself in the right direction, even if you need a little extra help later on.  

Remember: Almost anything can be made to serve you the right way if you know what to change – even the living room you forgot had a widow until you took away all the old childhood tchotchkes, and even your CRM platform, too.