February 14, 2014

Features: A Common CRM Misconception

BY John Paul Narowski IN Uncategorized 0 Comment

Ask any business person familiar with CRMs – or, even better, one who actually uses a CRM on a daily basis – to give you their opinion on it, and chances are relatively high that they will either go on and on about it, praising it effusively, or that they will immediately spout off a diatribe covering all of its misgivings. Why are users so passionate in their evaluations of their Customer Relationship Management systems? The answer is pretty straightforward: because, where it is utilized, a CRM is such an integral part of business operations. It is essentially the business’s backbone, the glue that keeps its internal processes flowing. The passion stems from the fact that whenever CRM successes are experienced, those successes give the business’s CRM decision-maker the sense that they made the right choice in choosing that particular CRM. On the flip side, when failures are experienced, especially if they are repeated, the decision-maker may think twice about either renewing their contract or will choose to go with another CRM altogether (at times even immediately) in order to alleviate those pain points.

Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink

kitchen sink You may be able to relate to the very common (and understandable) expectation that CRM users feel that their CRM should do almost everything for them. Well, if it can integrate with Google Calendar on a 2-way sync basis, and if it can integrate with Wufoo or Formstack, why can’t it also make me breakfast? The answer is pretty simple. While there certainly are CRMs out there that do have quite an impressive array of features and integrations, the truth is that they are just not for everyone. Take a mom and pop business, for example. Their business management needs may most certainly extend beyond Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Post-It Notes, but they definitely won’t require the gargantuan feature bloat that you’ll find with some CRM systems. This is where your smaller CRMs enter to fill the relatively simple needs that these smaller businesses have. They tend to be designed with simplicity in mind based on their uncomplicated business needs. For this reason, many of the simpler CRMs who cater specifically to these smaller businesses tend to shy away from adding the proverbial kitchen sink.

The Jenga Effect

Take a minute to consider that at the very heart of a simple CRM’s existence in the first place, there could well be a company core value that is driving the continuation of its simplicity. While it would be very easy to appease every single customer request for add-on features, the reality is that this is nearly impossible for a smaller CRM to do so, because not only does it go directly against a potential core value of simplicity, but in doing so, a CRM will sooner than later reach that critical mass point anyway – where it becomes far more cumbersome than the problems it’s supposed to solve in the first place. jenga Consider a wooden Jenga tower, which eventually comes crashing down at the exact moment that its structure is compromised. When it comes to simpler CRMs, adding feature after feature after feature will ultimately have the same detrimental effect. The Jenga tower serves as a great reminder that, for many businesses, less is definitely more – and it’s important to remember that, in the CRM world, one size certainly does not fit all. Considering the wide array of CRMs available in the market to choose from, selecting the appropriate one is essential to ensuring a long, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationship between business and CRM.


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I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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