The CRM Debate Goes On: Do We Really Need It?

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Written by on . Posted in CRM, Sales & Technology

Over the years, we’ve worked with literally thousands of companies considering a CRM system. Big companies, small companies, in-between companies. Some bought ours, some bought someone else’s, and some did nothing. It is this last group that this paper addresses.

I recently polled an industry group of manufacturers who sold capital equipment and services to a narrow, B2B market segment. Their sales cycles are long, complex, and varied, the competition is stiff, and the repeat business substantial. A dream market for CRM. Over half of them have no CRM system, and no active plans to implement one.

One part of me says “great, more sales opportunities for me.” Another part says, “why not?”

The reasons I hear (and interpret):

  • “We don’t need it.”

This is usually accompanied by “Excel/ Outlook/ Quickbooks/ Other works just fine.” But you do need it. You think you don’t because business is going along as it always has, so why rock the boat? The answer is because your customers and competitors are already rocking the boat, and you’re gonna get swamped sooner or later.

  • “My team won’t use it.”

Of course they will. And, of course they will resist initially. But it is your job to include them in the planning, to buy the system that makes their job better, to train and motivate them well. People always resist change right up until they find that it makes their life better. Show them how this will happen.

  • “It costs too much time/ money/ effort.”

No, it doesn’t, and it will cost a lot less than failure. Think about being the last to adopt new technology and where that will get you. When did you adopt computers, cell phones, mobile devices? Office productivity suites? Inventory management systems? And where would you be without them today?

  • “We’re too small for CRM.”

It’s not the size of the company; it’s the demands of the business. If you have more than one employee, one customer, one opportunity, you need to coordinate, cooperate, and communicate. CRM is the vehicle to do that efficiently, the tool to measure performance, and the archive of what you did.

  • Fear

Fear of something new, fear of sharing information, fear of losing control, fear of someone watching what you do. These are real concerns for many because all those things will happen. Ignoring them won’t solve the problem. Ignoring medical treatment because you’re afraid of the procedure won’t cure you.

  • Cloud security.

Someone accessing your customer information in the Cloud is improbable. But here is a threat that is very real and happening every day – one of your team leaves and takes his Excel spreadsheet with him, leaving you totally in the dark. Your competitor just got a big boost, and your customers are wondering why you don’t know anything about them.

Some of the reasons you need to act:

  • There is an ROI.

Maybe not as big as some suggest, but definitely better than almost any other investment you can reasonably make. Implementing CRM gives you the opportunity to examine your business processes, and that alone can uncover some massive opportunities to improve. And then there are all the time/ information/ reporting/ analytical/ performance and other possibilities that CRM offers.

  • Time will be saved.

That is a fact. People will complain that CRM requires they spend too much time at their computers and not talking to customers. That’s because they don’t notice all the little time-wasters they encounter now. With CRM, there is no more paper to create and manage, no more calls and meetings to find answers, no more hours spent creating and massaging reports, etc. Put the information in, click a menu option, and your answer pops out.

  • Information will be available.

Not just to you, but to everyone who needs it. And not just your information, but the stuff others hold that you previously went hunting and begging for. Not just at your desk, but in the airport or the customer’s office or the local Starbucks.

  • Your sales will increase and your customers will be happier.

Sales increases are almost guaranteed if you use your CRM well. And CRM has been shown to have the greatest impact on customer retention.

  • You will learn things about your business that you didn’t even know you should know.

Doing business eventually becomes habitual, and you keep doing what you’ve always done because it works. But as time goes by, things change, and what worked before, while it still does, could work a lot better. Without looking for improvement, you won’t find it, and eventually you’ll stagnate and fail.

  • Your competition is using it.

And they’re getting better than you because of that.

  • Work anywhere, anytime

Everyone knows that modern business isn’t confined to an office from 9 to 5. It’s all the time, everywhere. And CRM lets you have the equivalent of that 9 to 5 office anytime, anywhere.


  • All CRM’s are not the same. Most are simple data aggregators and just make for more information that is stored and not used. Research the options before you commit and make sure your CRM is a tool that improves your business and results.
  • CRM can be a liability if not used properly. If you put bad data in, you’ll get misleading or even wrong information out, and decisions will be made with potentially disastrous results. Set your CRM up for your needs, define how it is to be used, and enforce good practices.


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