While distributors and manufacturers are increasingly embracing CRM, many are still failing to realize returns on their investments. CRM systems require a well-informed, systematic approach and, in many cases, a cultural shift. Here are five signs your company may not be ready to reap the potential rewards of CRM and what you can do about it:

  1. You’re approaching CRM as a one-time project.

Since CRM implementations take time to do right, and because the ROI you get from your system will increase over time, CRM technology should be viewed as a long-term investment, not a one-time project. You’ll need to continually adjust your system and sales processes to address the needs of your workforce, and you’ll need to continually adjust your business strategies in response to the insights that a well-implemented CRM system can provide.

  1. You view CRM as something that will only be used by your outside sales team.

Treating your CRM system as something that only outside sales reps and managers will touch will prevent you from getting a good return on your investment. One of the most powerful aspects of a modern CRM system is how it can bridge information gaps between your inside sales, outside sales and service teams, and how it can link with ERP and even marketing automation platforms. If you’re not ready for that level of information sharing or complexity, then you should think twice before moving forward with CRM.

  1. You’re planning to have your IT team manage the project.

It’s easy to view CRM as falling exclusively within the purview of your information technology team. It’s true that IT will need to be intimately involved, but because the true power of CRM comes from the automation and linking of processes, not from the technology itself, your sales team (especially management!) will need to be deeply involved with your CRM system from its conception to its successful implementation and beyond to realize all of the potential benefits CRM can offer.

  1. Your team is resistant to change.

If your key players are resistant to change in the tools or processes they use, you may not be ready to reap the benefits of CRM. Culture is the most important contributor to a CRM’s failure or success. Get buy-in from the start, and don’t let your team revert to their comfort zones after implementation (Excel, sticky notes, etc.). These sorts of obstacles can certainly be overcome with a bit of effort, and we’ve helped companies to do so successfully many times. But companies that want to get the most out of CRM must confront cultural challenges head-on.

  1. You or your management team are dispassionate about the idea of implementing CRM.

Change has to come from the top. If you’re not convinced that a well-implemented CRM system will have a major impact on your bottom line, that hesitancy will pollute the attitude of the rest of your team, dooming your CRM project before it even begins. If, on the other hand, you’re passionate about using CRM to make positive changes in your company, and you’re diligent in training your team on how CRM can benefit them, you’ll be more likely to gain the buy-in that you’ll need to get the project off the ground.

Every one of these potential roadblocks can be overcome with time and effort, and the rewards will be well worth it. In our experience, companies that overcome these roadblocks see measurable financial results in every area of their businesses and end up wondering how they ever got along without customer relationship management software. CRM software reviews bear this out – see our case studies page to see how other companies have benefited from CRM.

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