11 Mistakes You're Making With Your CRM (and How to Fix Them)

Mistake #1: You’re on the wrong plan.

This is the one mistake most businesses make within the first month of buying a CRM. There are several versions of CRMs, each at different price points and feature sets. More often than not we find either a company is on the lowest version of their chosen CRM and they need more functionality, or they’re on the highest version and they’re not leveraging the full array of features that they could be. 

How do you fix this? 

If you find yourself saying: “my CRM just doesn’t do enough,” you’re likely on a low tier version that lacks the features you need. In this case, you may want to consider upgrading—or at least researching what features you can utilize at higher tiers. There is no shortage of customization options when it comes to CRMs.

Alternatively, if you are saying to yourself “This is very expensive and I’m just using the basics of the CRM,” you are likely paying for features that you do not know about, do not benefit from, or need to start using. A CRM is like a supercharger for your business, but many of its superpowers need to be unlocked—sometimes by a helpful consultant who understands the entire platform. A trusted advisor will know if you are on the right version or if your CRM can do “that thing” you wish it could do. (Spoiler alert: it probably can.)


Mistake #2: You’re still using the default properties and fields. 

One of the biggest benefits of CRMs is that they are highly customizable. But out of the box, they may be set up with fields and layouts that are not right for your business.

How do you fix this?

First, figure out the data you need to store and track over time. Ask your CRM advisor to listen and then recommend changes.  You can most likely get rid of fields you are not using and add fields and objects (think: custom tabs) you need. 


Mistake #3: You’re treating leads, deals, and opportunities as one and the same. 

Isn’t a lead an opportunity? Is there even a difference? Well, in your CRM, there most definitely is a difference. These two terms have a very different purpose in the world of CRMs, and if you’re not using leads and deals properly, it’ll create significant problems for your sales pipeline. This leads to lower closing rates and less sales!

How do you fix this? 

A lead is an unqualified opportunity or contact. It is not associated with a deal or opportunity. Once it has been qualified—however you do that in your business—then it becomes a deal or opportunity. You can fix this by understanding the concepts and principles, then educating your team and documenting a standard operating procedure for what constitutes a lead, an opportunity, and a deal.


Mistake #4: You have incomplete data.

As mentioned previously, there are “standard” fields in your CRM that may be completely irrelevant to your business. These take up space on your CRM’s user interface, mess up your workflows, create distractions for your team, and make it harder to find the information you need when you need it. 

How do you fix this? 

Establish the most important  fields associated with the objects you’re using and have  your CRM advisor remove any unnecessary ones. If there is old data in these fields, a good advisor will back it up, determine if it's junk, or map it to a more relevant field. 


Mistake #5: You’re still using the default settings created by your CRM provider.

When you first purchased your CRM, you likely attended the “free training” provided and you set up your CRM in accordance with their suggestion. The problem is they don’t know your company, your customers, or your team. There may be nuances in how you conduct your sales process and unless you optimize your CRM to best suit your needs, you may be leaving money on the table and making your sales team working harder than they need to.

How do you fix this? 

Work with a qualified sales consultant to map out your sales process, what fields you need, what reports give you the best information and what flow is optimal for conversion. When your sales team feels like they own the process, they will have a more positive attitude, deliver better results, and drive more sales. 


Mistake #6: Improper training, onboarding, and sales protocols.

Giving a new salesperson their login and telling them to “please keep track of their work” is not the best approach to deploying your CRM. Without clear SOPs and proper training, each member of your team will be using the CRM in different ways, creating a multitude of complexity. This results in inaccurate reports and forecasting, not to mention huge amounts of wasted time and unnecessary frustration.

How do you fix this? 

Each step of your sales onboarding process should have clear instructions, learning materials, tools, and resources to help your salespeople succeed. Learn from a trusted advisor what best practices are. Customize your workflows and automations, then set up a document that details and outlines protocols.

There are best practices when it comes to general CRM usage, but to get the most bang for your buck you’ll want to customize your CRM to meet your specific needs.


Mistake #7: You haven’t integrated your calendars and email accounts.

“I wish it were easier to book calls with prospects. This is so annoying!” 

If you hear this or if  your sales team “refuses” to log email correspondences manually into your CRM,  you have little to no visibility on your team communication to prospects or clients. That’s a problem.

How do you fix this?  

Increase productivity and efficiency by having your CRM consultant integrate your tech stack with your CRM. That way, your appointments and sales calls will sync directly to your CRM. This will allow you and your team to automatically track emails sent to contacts and prospects, improve visibility, and ensure calls are not being forgotten or double booked. 


Mistake #8: You haven’t set up the proper automations (or any automations).

If your CRM is the rocket for your sales process, then workflows and automations are the rocket fuel. Oftentimes, businesses either don't have the necessary automations setup, or they’re set up with the wrong triggers and conditions—resulting in a massive decrease in productivity. 

How do you fix this?  

Begin by exploring popular automations for your CRM and build them according to your buyer’s journey. An incremental increase in a sales team’s productivity can lead to an exponential increase in sales revenue! Think about a routine task your team may be performing and what might trigger that task. For example, “I want to send an email to all contacts with opportunities that reach a 75% likelihood to close stage.” That can be automated! This is the rocket fuel that will send your sales to the moon.


Mistake #9: You don’t have your SOPs in a knowledge base (or you don’t have any SOPs at all).

Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are critical to the success and long-term sustainability of your sales process. SOPs dictate how your team should operate within the CRM, and they should be stored in a central knowledge base, so your entire team has access. Without these two systems working together, your team is likely underperforming and struggling to find the information they need—what we refer to as “the scavenger hunt.”

How do you fix this?  

Look at some of the most common processes your sales team encounters within your CRM and create a repeatable process for how to deal with each of them. Document that process with step by step instructions, then add it to your knowledge base. As you encounter more situations that could benefit from a standard way of operating, simply document them using the same strategy and add them to your knowledge base.


Mistake #10: You haven’t implemented a buyer’s journey for your prospects.

What journey does a prospect take during the sales cycle? If you just use the out-of-the-box stages in a deal or opportunity flow you are missing out. You likely haven’t considered the actual touch points of your ideal customer and you’re leaving sales reps without the necessary guidelines to serve your customers. 

How do you fix this? 

Determine each touchpoint in your real-world buyer’s journey. Customize your pipeline stages and probabilities to reflect the clear and repeatable actions needed to move deals and opportunities through your pipeline.


Mistake# 11: You haven’t customized your dashboard. 

What the heck is a dashboard? This can be a little confusing, but essentially this is a snapshot  visualization of a report. If you have three to five key metrics you want to keep an eye on, you could create a dashboard to monitor those specific metrics. Implementing dashboards will help you to quickly and easily monitor various stats from your sales process.

How do you fix this? 

Take your most important report and work with your CRM advisor to turn it into a dashboard  that runs a visualization of the report on a set schedule. Use this to keep an eye on key data in your business. This can be broken down into weekly, monthly or quarterly dashboards and should reflect the information you need at that time to make improvements to your conversion and focus.


If you've made any of these mistakes, you're not alone. An estimated 66% of companies are getting little to no benefit from their CRM due to improper setup and use.

If you're interested in fixing any of these mistakes, avoiding them in the future, or simply getting more out of your CRM, the best place to start is with our CRM Optimization Roadmap. 

Let our experts diagnose your CRM and set it up to help you overcome your business challenges, accomplish your goals, and capitalize on the opportunities available to you.

Click here to learn more.

Published: Aug 11, 2021
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