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29 min read

Episode 35: Is it Time to Switch Your CRM?

Episode 35: Is it Time to Switch Your CRM?

Is your current CRM lacking some features? Are you looking to update your current provider to a more modern one? In this week's episode of The SME Growth Podcast, Dave Parry and Richard Buckle discuss the realities of for a SME wanting to change CRM system. Learn more from this realistic reflection on changing CRMs, and some best practice tips when swapping to reduce potential problems.

Get the most from this episode in the form that works best for you: watch the episoderead the transcript or access further resources below.


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REad the transcript

Please note: Whilst all transcripts are double checked for accuracy, they are transcribed via Otter.AI so may contain errors.

David Parry 02:40

Hello, and welcome, again to The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow. Every week, we try and come up with an another subject of interest to small and medium sized enterprises that are looking to grow, especially around the marketing and sales and some of the disciplines around what the board can do to drive growth forward. So this week, we thought we'd pick up a task that's picked, we've got a couple of examples of this running live at the moment. We've done some recently. And that's switching from your tried and tested CRM system that you've had for a while to a new one. And we're doing that. As we've said before, we're quite open about it. We are big fans of HubSpot. And we tend to know our way around it quite well. So we're helping a number of companies move from a variety of other packages but famous and ones you've never heard of, to bring them across to HubSpot as a platform. So we thought we'd talk about that. And I've got Rich with me here today that's helping out on some of those projects. Yes, I am indeed. Glad to be here. Well, thanks a lot. I'm gonna throw the opener over to you then just for those audience members that are maybe playing catch up a little bit. Just before we start talking about switching CRMs. Just a quick primer on what is CRM?

Richard Buckle 04:00

So what is a CRM? So it's a customer relationship management database? It's a bit of a clunky name. Actually, we actually

David Parry 04:07

Didn't we have a podcast all about this and suggest a different name for it anyway

Richard Buckle 04:12

Society hasn't adopted that yet. But there's still time.

David Parry 04:15

They're still playing catch up.

Richard Buckle 04:16

So yeah, so it's more it's a way of, I suppose, bringing all of your information about your predominantly, I suppose, customers, but prospects, suppliers, your entire business ecosystem,

David Parry 04:29

your community

Richard Buckle 04:30

Community into one place, and I think, you know, I'm trying to remember back and they had like, Act, Act 365. And that's like kind of Sage or Gold Mine. Yeah, Microsoft one that was like just a kind of repository of customer information. Contact Details, almost like a Rolodex. 

David Parry 04:53

I'm sure many of you remember those.

Richard Buckle 04:55

I have seen I've seen one in the museum but you But over the years, and now, particularly that they've evolved so much to be to do so much more so often at the heart of the system will still remain that address book contact information. But around it now, like we see with HubSpot, you've got different suites of tools that allow you to do different things with that information. 

David Parry 05:18

I think as well, I still am amazed when I talk to people who don't have CRM. So you think of it as just the digital version of the Rolodex that you mentioned early on. And it's it's so much more than that. And the first thing I will say to people is, this is probably one of your most valuable company assets. That data you have on all the people you transact with and what they've done with you and what you've said and what their preferences are. And that is so valuable to your firm's. If ever you came to sell your business or have it valued there, and all of that information just sits in the heads of your salespeople, or on their mobile phones or in their Outlook, you've lost it that, you'd failed due diligence on that. You've got to get it centralised.

Richard Buckle 05:56

Yeah, I was gonna make that point on due diligence. But also, I think, even before you get to that point, just the benefits of having your data organised. So that if you need to find a contact, or if you need to, you know, just see what's going on in the organisation, being able to have a central system that everybody's feeding into, you haven't got loads of contacts put in, you know, Jim's outbox and Steve's, you know, phone or whatever, it's all kind of in one place, it can have a huge impact in just improving organisational efficiency.

David Parry 06:27

Yeah, well, that comes back to the single sources of truth thing isn't every got different misspellings of people's names. And we've got the addresses correct for companies that would distinguish between the invoice address and the deliver to address or different branch offices and so on. Just having everything in one place that, you know, that's right, because everybody's using it. And if you haven't got a CRM or some form of central database, you're missing out on all those benefits.

Richard Buckle 06:47

I think I think back to the due diligence point, it is it is something that can add significant value to a business particularly, you know, I think and think this is something that probably business owners should really think about, because often it can be seen as a kind of this is a lot of work, or it's an expensive tool, sometimes, you know, there's, you can do CRM quite cheaply. But you can also if you want all the bells and whistles and to really start automating processes, it can get a bit more costly, but it's, you know, what's the what's the value of it longer term, having everything and because I think it forces companies to adapt how they work as well, then you're actually building that value in for the longer term. So we've seen it before where companies have gone, you know, for sale that due diligence happens, and they want to see what's your pipeline, what who are your contacts, what industries are they in what you know, all this kind of data, people want to know that who are going to come in and potentially buy a business. So starting with the end in mind, so to speak, and thinking about that early on, making sure that's really baked into your business is very valuable?

David Parry 07:47

Yeah, I think you're having a system behind it all, which forces people to think about their business processes, you then start to think more systematically about everything that comes across. In fact, we were helping a firm do due to due diligence is viewed as a, as the potential buyer of a business that we come across. And that was one of the things that you came up with. And it was there was a couple of spreadsheets here and there they're out of date, it was it was a mess, you know, you make a big difference. And that's not even to touch on all of the other powerful attributes that a CRM can bring, especially around automation, you know, even just a simple basic central database is worth having. Even if you you know, you talked about the pricing, you can get a free one, right HubSpot do a pretty good free CRM, that's just the database hasn't got any of the bells and whistles on it. But similarly, you can spend 50 100 grand a year if you're going up to full beans packages

Richard Buckle 08:36

I think it gives you that option, as well as the saying what how do you control your data? So you know, you see, you see companies who have their entire CRM in a spreadsheet or something? Well, anyone can go in and delete all of those records or change things or even within you know, it's how do you control the information? How do you make sure that who's got access to what, make sure everyone's got access to the need, but actually in a controlled way, rather than kind of just letting everyone have a free for all and have a spreadsheet or have a, you know, kind of no permissions around things. It's controlling the data in order to use it well, to help push the efficiency of the business, ultimately, the value,

David Parry 09:13

and I don't know many people have implemented a CRM system and then wish they hadn't, in fact, usually the opposite how did we live without it. So I think we've done a good enough pitch there for the whole genre, all the billions of dollars spent every year on CRM systems all over. But this podcast is aimed more at people who've already got one. So they're probably already been on that journey. And they kind of know why they went into it in the first place. But as is very typical, people try to choose something reasonably low cost to start with, especially if they're not really sure whether they're going to get the benefits from it or not. And there's lots of budget end version CRMs, even some more complicated ones that aren't implemented properly, perhaps. So you you do come across this point where people start hearing about what CRMs are doing elsewhere, or what they could be doing. Or maybe every new member of the marketing or sales team join or The chief exec, and they say, Why isn't this system doing this? That's what I had where I've just come from. And everybody suddenly has this sort of wake up moment of oh, we would pick the cheap one, didn't we? Maybe we should either use it better, or change horses, 

Richard Buckle 10:12

I think we will become creatures of habit as well, don't me. So you get used to using a system. And you're so busy doing the day job, but not many people have a probably have the time to think about let's do a full scan of the environment as to what's new in the market. What's, and I think a lot of maybe the more legacy CRMs tend to be just that they don't really evolve. There's other business systems around it. Whereas some of the more modern CRM, shall we say, much more maybe focused on user interface, modern web design, maybe interact a little bit more like a website, rather than a database. 

David Parry 10:47

You almost get penalised. If you were one of the early adopters, you may well have backed the wrong horse, you wouldn't have known 10 years ago, if you started using a CRM system, which one was going to come out as the leader in that pack. So you could well be stuck with one which you've got used to, like you say maybe a clunky user interface, but everybody's at least used to it. And the idea of changing now is quite frightening brings down a cold sweat. Now imagine if you were changing your ERP system with a whole accounts and production planning, it'd be it'd be a major undertaking that you've probably put a year aside for your big team, big budget, you know, and I think our experience is that changing CRM is nothing like that. It's probably it's a bit like changing your bank account, you got to go through lots of different steps, and you got to make sure it's right and take everybody along with you. But it's not like changing the entire fabric of the company like the ERP system would be. But that's not to say that it can't get a bit complicated in places, and you need to watch for it. So I wanted to just go through what are some of the key features then of the more advanced CRM systems and we're familiar with Salesforce and HubSpot, from being up close to them. But we've seen others whether it be Zoho, Pipedrive, Microsoft Dynamics 365, you know, we've seen some of these other common ones and some other smaller, smaller ones as well. What is it that you get with the big ones, that you don't necessarily get so much with the with the cheaper ones? 

Richard Buckle 12:05

Well, I think it's, I think, really, it probably comes down to things like automation. Because I think when you get when you're getting a CRM that's starting to drive automation. And I don't mean, simple automation, like an email, follow up from a form field, a lot of CRMs will do that kind of things will start filling the form in will be in touch to everything, more kind of business, critical operations, complex workflows, if then logic within the workflow, that type of thing. Because I think what you're starting to do then is actually replace what a person could do,

David Parry 12:37

you're saving them time, especially for some of the more mundane tasks that you began.

Richard Buckle 12:41

I think we've probably touched on it before in terms of our internal recruitment process. A lot of that is we've automated quite a bit around that. And I think that probably saves, you know, hours and hours and hours of time.

David Parry 12:53

I think something else that the more advanced ones do better is the tracking of all activities, the emails you send to a for some are better at that than others, even tracking phone calls, recording phone calls, and transcribing phone calls. That's great for sales coaching, as a sales director, you can listen in on some of the successful calls, or some of your new starts and give them some coaching. That's brilliant to be able to do that. In meetings, we talked before in our AI episode, that if you integrate some of these transcription tools, they produce an AI summary of the meeting and automatically add it into your CRM record against the contact the company and potential the deal is it's so seamless that's happening in the background, there's tools as well, that we're using that show the geographic spread of the customers. So if you're out on the road, you can put a loop around an area and make sure you visit all of them. Or if you're doing local marketing, you could do the same geographic based come up with the structures to work out who the key players are, who are the decision makers, who are the blockers really get an insight into your data, which if you just had a straightforward database, which was a list of names and email addresses that you're never going to get?

Richard Buckle 13:57

Well, I think that's an interesting point, isn't it? So a lot of those things we've talked touched on there, they're, you know, the plugins or the you know, the integrations as it were with. Like the geo mapping of customers or prospects. The the organisation chart is another one where you can actually see in a company ready for like Account Based Marketing or Account Based Selling where you're kind of trying to work out who's who in the organisation. So one of the I guess one of the points there is more evolved and more developed CRM will allow more integrations into it, which in turn, allows you to kind of customise things around your business process. So more mature products will allow more integrations. So I think that's that's something to look for, isn't it? I think those those integrations, how things work.

David Parry 14:35

And to be fair, the bigger the platform, the more likely that developers would have bothered to try and come up with applications that fit into it. So Salesforce have got, which is their back end where loads of applications are on it. HubSpot and got the same with their app marketplace. You see the same even with zero accounting software, you know, there's a whole ecosystem growing up where people are bothered to write software that works for it. Yeah. If you get a smaller, maybe slightly less heard of package. You're not going to get that as much. Yeah. The other one, you mentioned earlier, actually user interface. Yeah. And we've come across a few. And you know, I'm not going to knock any one particular other CRM out there, but each of them have got their quirks. And you do need to get your head around them a little bit. Something that struck us I think, with what we use, without banging on about it is that it is a very accessible user interface. And training is a key part of both adopting a new CRM or switching from an old one. And then the easier you can make that because you don't have to explain to people that it's these three clicks, followed by that click and change a tab and do that if it's just obvious. And that's where simplicity is difficult. When it looks easy on the screen that has taken hundreds of hours of testing and thinking about it to get it just like that, we take it as red, because we're all used to using very high end mobile phones these days

Richard Buckle 15:55

So it's interesting point there isn't it on the mobile. Does it have you know, what, what did you see around it like on the mobile. And that's something we came across recently with a client, where they wanted something that was very accessible for salespeople on the road. So if you're looking for salespeople to update a record, after a customer visits or something, it's got to be quick, it's got to be fast to do it in the car. So does the CRM support something good on the phone or an iPad or

David Parry 16:22

well even making the call through the CRM on your phone? Yeah, you can do it on the browser as well, recording the call transcribe the call all through your phone, rather than making the direct call, just using your telephony that the phone gives you tap through the app. So, so at this high end, and we've just probably scratched the surface there, but some of the features you get these days on the high end, CRMs have left the others way, way behind in their wake. And what I've noticed as well is that there was a place in the market for some of these lower and lower features systems, as long as they were cheaper, because it can get a bit expensive, for sure. But then you've got to make that ROI calculation has got to be worth it right. And if, if you're selling millions a year, then the idea of spending a few 10s of 1000s on on the system that makes it work probably isn't such a bad idea. But if you're trying to get it in for 500 quid for your team of 10 salespeople, then maybe you start questioning Am I really going to get the best that's out there. And you end up suffering with some of these added functionalities that just don't, aren't really quite there,

Richard Buckle 17:18

I think it's almost becoming more kind of more natural, isn't it? I think that's that's where I see I see I sound indoctrinated here. As the CRM starts to work, when it's almost a natural extension of the whoever's works out for marketing is a natural essential reading for sales, it's a natural tension, you come out, it's almost like have a phone call back to the manager, this is what we did. But the CRM is capturing all that information, it's tracking everything it's giving you, you know, reporting is something we haven't really touched on here, either. But good reporting out of your CRM, drives insights, drives activity, drives all sorts of things. So when it becomes that natural extension that people want to use, because it's easy to use, it's giving them value, then it becomes a really great tool for any business.

David Parry 18:04

Okay, so let's go forward to the point then, where we feel that someone's made the decision, they gonna switch over, that they've done maybe a bit of a beauty parade, they've chosen their, their target system, they're going to move to, I have to say, it's a bit harder to come up with a return on investment calculation. If it's sales lead, it's not so much harder, it's different. If you're going to do a marketing lead ROI, then we've got a great calculator on our webpage, just type in how many visits you get to your website? What's the conversion rate from visitors to those that form fill? How many of those engage how many of those come up with opportunity and and what's your win rate? It's, it's easier, if you'd like to come up with a very hard and fast number, I'm gonna get more leads, they're worth this much money. If you're going in for sales lead process and trying to come up with ROI on that, you run the risk of going down the road of reducing the effort trying to say how it saves cost. And that's not really where you get the game, you are definitely going to save sales people's time, because there's going to be automation in it, and you're going to stop mistakes being made and all of that I get that. But the real benefit is the extra sales you make from it the extra conversions. How many of those quotes? Have we left just a bit too long before chasing them up? How many of those lapsed customers from three, six months ago that hadn't touched them since? Do we get automatically notified now that we didn't before, you know how many just better quality bits output do we get to produce? Yeah, that didn't exist before. And it's harder to put your number on that. So it does need someone to be a very strong advocate internally, you're going to need a champion that just knows that this is the right thing to do, because they've seen it done better elsewhere. And they know that lots of the benefits are going to be intangible, you can have a crack at putting the numbers on the ones that are tangible. But there's such an intangible benefit of getting a sales team that love their CRM, compared to those many sales teams out there that hate CRMs because they're just being told to fill them in all the time. So you've got to get to that point where you're sure you're gonna change. And you know, that it's it's just something you're gonna believe in and get there and do it. 

Richard Buckle 19:59

Yeah, and I think As well, if you can make it I was having a conversation with somebody last week, talking about in a day, they'd had a lot of inquiries from social media come through into their business, their product. And that had absolutely swamped the sales team. Because how do you know which ones are genuine, which ones aren't. So by using a good CRM by having a kind of some, some applying some thinking and automation around sales process, trying to navigate people so that they still, the customer still has a great experience with the company. But at the same time, it's funnelling them in different directions. And using the CRM and the technology behind that, to automate a lot of that, you can actually give the customer a great experience at the same time as as help your sales team prioritise, which are the right things to work on at this time.

David Parry 20:48

You've only got a certain number of hours in the day. And it's hard in that sort of morass of data to know what the best thing is to do. Okay, so you've decided that you want to change, you've picked which one you're going for, you've made the case for the ROI, including the intangibles, and we're making it all sound rosy as if everything's downhill on, it's going to be better in this new world. But it's, it clearly comes with downsides, as well, any switch is gonna come with downsides. So let's just talk a little bit about the main risks of making a change. And we're having a bit of a chat about this beforehand. It's difficult to know quite what ranking to put on these things, they all need to be considered. But I came up with that thought of data migration straightaway, whether it's the most important or but we've we've had experience on that recently,

Richard Buckle 21:29

where it's one of those, isn't it that people data, data migration, involves probably data cleansing, which is, can be incredibly painful. Depending on what the state of your CRM is, and I think a lot of companies and probably, you know, we're all guilty of it, it is one of those things that can get left behind, looking at what you know, keeping your data clean, all that type of thing. So when you come to them migrate, it's like, right, okay, what are we are, we are going to just move a load of incomplete records, or, you know, in inactive contacts, all of that kind of thing comes to the fore. So you've got to start thinking about, Okay, well, what, what data do we actually need. And then we've got to go through the process of trying to map that into a new CRM, you might have to come up with new properties, new fields, all that type of thing. So there's an awful lot to think about, it's not really export a CSV file or an Excel file

David Parry 21:44

Walk it into the new one, which is actually what a lot of people think it's going to be. And that's where we have to educate that from experience. It never is. You're right. There's a re architecture in redesigning of the data structure. So which new fields do we want and dependencies and that sort of thing, which fields have to be required. And sometimes the formatting comes out in a bizarre way, especially with dates, you know, American formats and stuff. So there's a lot of that. But the data cleansing bid is where I think people are surprised at how poor their data is, how many incomplete records, misspellings, duplications, all sorts of things that you end up having to fix. And of course, whenever you try and do an export, and then a cleanse and an import, it's the appropriate time to think, should we do this? Or why don't we use this opportunity to combine those things or add a new industry segment characteristic, or any areas that have been free text in the past, let's force those into a drop down. So we can get some commonality soon as you say that, which is a very good thing to do. And it's not something to be frightened of. But it takes time then to do that. You've got to do lots of lookup, using

Richard Buckle 23:23

Pandora's box for that completely. Because all of a sudden, everybody starts lobbing in their requests, or would it be great if we could have this? Yeah. What about if we can have this? So having that, you know, so one of the suppose one of the associated risks to this is how do you control that process of saying, Okay, we want to migrate this data from CRM, x into y. Right? But what, what are we moving across? Architect that right? But also right? How do we then control and manage that process of everybody just saying, oh, what I want is this, and I wanted this, and I want this. So having a process around that can be quite helpful.

David Parry 23:58

Yeah. And I think that the key we found there were different clients during this process is to come up first, with a minimum viable product. If you try to recreate exactly what you've got already, they may have taken you years of customization and getting used to, it may take you years of customization and getting used to before we can launch anything new. So work out what gives us the benefits we're looking for with a clean system that we can then start building on. And every time someone wants to change, we challenge that and work out is that the right thing to do. So you're right, having a plan. But also don't aim for the stars with on launch day, get something that people can start using, and they see new features, new bits being added to all the time. So that was about data. And I think it is seriously one of the bigger areas to consider. I want

Richard Buckle 24:39

one thing, we're starting to try and quantify the cleanliness of the data that there's a there's different ways you can do it. We've come up with a way of trying to look at it. But just the way I've been able to, you know, however you choose to do it. It's about being able to then just track it and say Right, okay, we've got a data integrity score. have, say 56%. So that would mean that, you know, 44% of our records are incomplete. Or we're missing properties or fields. So applicated duplicated or whatever, whatever it is. So then over time, you want to say, Okay, six months, we're going to try and make sure processes in automate different things. Right now, in six months time, it's 80% worth just because the better records you've got, as long as you're collecting the right information, that's going to help you drive sales, drive marketing

David Parry 25:27

And there's probably a bear trap there to watch for as well, if you try and get it all right, before you do the import back into the new system. So you can start using it, you're gonna have a lot longer transition period. And sometimes there is an argument for importing the data as it was, as long as it still works. And then you can do a certain amount of cleansing on the fly. And we've certainly found that with some of the workflows, we've set up, some of that automation we mentioned earlier, can be as much directed to housekeeping and data health as it can on other other workflows. So even coming up with reports to point out that you created a contact yesterday, and you haven't put all the required fields in because you did it in a funny way on this new person has entered a form but now we need information that we didn't ask for. So you've got to go and add it in Do you own this person or whatever it might be. So there's there's a watchword there, keep an eye on the data cleanliness, do what you can when you're exporting, cleaning and importing, but accept the fact that you might bring stuff in that needs cleaning later. So that's one, the other one that I've been cautious about is what type of data you can even export in the first place. So I think most CRMs have some core data type databases, if you like data tables within them. So you're definitely gonna have one for the contacts, one for the companies, one for all the deals or opportunities, depending there might be goals, you might have some for the quotes that have been issued and for the products, but they don't often have separate databases for things like the emails, the calls and the meetings that have been attached to any one of those things, or how many times one of those values have been changed. So if you can't export it, then you certainly can't import it. Now, one of the I suppose quirks, which is in our favour is that the lower end systems don't tend to have as many of those other bits of data attached anyway. But where they do, you've got to properly address the consequences of moving over to a new system where you might lose some history, you might grab a very accurate snapshot of what it is today. But your old system may have been able to allow you to look up what was it before? And you may lose that? Or who emailed this person two years ago, you know, you might lose all that as well. So you need to be aware and maybe think about are we going to do a parallel running period here. Where so we get used to the new one, or we're going to do a big bang switchover.

Richard Buckle 27:35

Yeah, that's just that's just the decision that every business will have to make for itself, isn't it? Like say it's, you could just start tracking all that activity in the new system, or bring all the new deals across? And, you know, use notes or something, you know, it's one of those it's not insurmountable. But yeah, it's sometimes very useful to have all that history. Yep. If you're gonna use it, I think another one to think about is culture changes. And that that's, that's a big possibility, isn't it, people get used to working in a certain way. And then all of a sudden, right, here's a new system, you've got to learn, do people want to learn new things. So you've got to be able to sort of spin the yarn a little bit in terms of,

David Parry 28:10

well, that's the champions, you got to have that champion driving it through, because it's funny, it's just a human nature thing. If there's one thing that goes wrong, it'll be more important in your mind and the 10 things that are better. We just, it's a human thing. It's not, you just happen to focus on the pain rather than the gain. So we've got to get people through that keep reinforcing the fact that overall, this is better. And yes, we will be able to fix that thing that the button isn't in the same place as it was before or you don't have that function anymore. But look, you've got all these other things as well. So there's a big culture journey here, which really only has one solution. And that's leadership.

Richard Buckle 28:42

Yeah. Well, it's Philip Cotter, his model of change, eight step model of change, quite useful for that, I think that almost starts with you know, kind of create a crisis, or, you know, the, the, there'll be a reason, maybe it's not a crisis, but there'll be a reason why thinking about changing the CRM anyway, right doesn't just wake up one morning and think, let's just embark on it.

David Parry 29:01

Yeah, it's gonna be a rallying cry, we're doing it for for something that everybody agrees is worth doing and worth going through the pain. And it's a quote I often repeat, which is that the pain of change has to be lower than the pain of staying the same. So if we're not upset enough with the way it is, no amount of easy transition is going to be worth it, you're going to, you're going to get annoyed. So there has to be something that you want to move away from, as well as something you have to move towards. 

Richard Buckle 29:27

If it ain't broke.

David Parry 29:30

It may not be broke, but there's a better one over there but am I more prepared to go in for it. The time evolves as well. That's probably something we need to just be be wary of. This isn't something you just give to IT and it's flicked a switch and next Monday, we've got the new one. Yeah. Lots of people need to be involved.

Richard Buckle 29:46

People need to be involved. It's time to train people. There's time to like say just make that cultural adjustment into the way that people are working. There's the time of just going through all the data. There's a reasonable number of meetings around kind of okay deciding on the philosophy of the approach to what data needs to come across which you know, who's going to be responsible for different areas of it all those kinds of things need thinking about, and that's everyone's got a day job. So it's something to think about.

David Parry 30:13

So in terms of lessons learned, and how to do well, there's no one size fits all here. But we've certainly found a few approaches have been common across the various projects that we've taken on, I think you said it earlier on, you've got to make sure that you've got an internal champion with a very well established reason for changing that we need, we need a rallying cry to drive people through this thing. And you mentioned earlier as well, one of our key catchphrases here is always start with the end in mind, know what you're trying to get to? Because the amount of times people say, Oh, can we just add this feature left, right and centre to the side? If that's not getting you to at least that minimum viable product, and then some of the benefits, you run the risk of diluting the effort in the wrong direction?

Richard Buckle 30:52

I think, yeah, it's that you're going to be probably looking at a five year at least relationship with this particular CRM. So it's that kind of you really do want to think about starting with the end in mind. Is this something that we can live with this is this is a kind of it's almost, it's not quite vision in the sense of big picture vision, but it's, this is a key part of maybe your vivid description, part of your vision

David Parry 31:17

I would agree, yeah.

Richard Buckle 31:18

And to say, well, we want our processes and businesses to run this way. And the CRM is going to enable it, the technology, the automation is going to enable it. So it is something that is kind of it's got to have that kind of visionary element to it. I think. 

David Parry 31:30

I think there's two common topics that come out of that, in the vivid descriptions. And one is scalability. Can we scale this business? Could we imagine a situation where we've got 10 times as many salespeople running it the way we do now? 10 times the amount of marketing activity running at the way we do now. And that often comes up with a very quick answer of No, there's no way we cope with that. So that's one of the key drivers while you might do it, and the other one is the valuation due diligence point you made earlier with it the way it is now? Are we robust enough? Could could we withstand someone from outside coming in and having a look at what we've got? Does this look professional? Are we able to withstand a key person leaving? And often that we'll come up with an awkward answer of No, probably not? Yeah, that's fair enough. I think another thing is having a multifunctional team, you got to get again, this, you know, the modern CRM is gonna span departments span business units, from you know, Account Sales Marketing, Operations, IT The benefit these days, as well, with lots of meetings, being on Teams or Zoom is that you can invite a wider community just to listen in, they could be at their desk, do other stuff, listening into the commentary, the background, just to be aware of what's going on. Even in those early stages or something, we've seen a benefit. Even if you're still at the basic basic setup stages are setting your currency and your time zone and putting your email address in, people are starting to get a feel for the system. And they can see how easy it is to use and how many other buttons are they they're starting to break down that fear of something that looks different. They're familiar with where the Settings pages and where you go to see your deals, where you go to see your contacts, and you drip feed that familiarity early on by having a broader cross functional team involved.

Richard Buckle 33:06

And I guess just the points on that, as well as that by doing it on Zoom or Teams. Recording those meetings using Fathom as the kind of you know, we've talked about probably mentioned it before, AI meeting summary means that people who can't actually attend in person, or even online, have got that meeting summary, look at what was discussed. And it's all just kind of happening.

David Parry 33:29

Yeah, I don't want to be too much of an advert just for Fathom here. But we can point to our experiences of that, where the AI summary that goes out by email afterwards comes up with a very short paragraph for each of the key timestamps. So if you're reading that through, you've been forwarded it, you can see if that's where they started talking. And there's a play button right next to it. So if you want to just listen to that bit rather than the whole recording, you can jump straight in and process it. So very powerful, powerful tech.

Richard Buckle 33:57

And I think he was starting to use that kind of technology just in that those kinds of meetings and things is is part of the culture change of CRM, isn't it? Is that? Yeah, let's just try and be as efficient as we can with things. I guess we've touched on starting with the end in mind that yes, that's pretty critical for this.

David Parry 34:12

And I think that ties into the minimum viable product part as well be the end end is everything working, but there's an intermediate end if that's if that's not an oxymoron, which a milestone anyway, we say if we're going to get something to work for, then do we really need that thing you've just asked for because we could now spend a few hours trying to develop that. Or we could just park that because our first goal is to get something up and running. So starting with both the end and the milestones in mind, keep people focused, and don't let them ask for new things they never used to have before when we haven't got the basics working yet. That can come later when we do the continuous improve

Richard Buckle 34:43

I think yeah, start with the end in mind is probably more the end in mind is have an awesome CRM that's doing all the stuff we wanted to do. It's not kind of where we have all these properties mapped out and all those sorts of things. It's so there's there is that kind of the end is almost a continuous evolution of this so that it gets better and better and better. Have you got the technology that allows you to do that? Or are you constrained by it? So I guess that's another reason

David Parry 35:04

Yeah. And we and you get internal champions of this, that really get into it and under the skin. And Jamie, you know who you are when I'm referring to you in this, because you're up there with us pushing the boundaries of this software, as fast as anybody can. And it's, it's just brilliant to see how yet more new things are being worked out that aid the sales team, aid the marketing team improve the reporting to the board, and you realise it can do even more than out the box you think it can do. But you've really got to get the basics done first, and then work on some of the extras after. 

Richard Buckle 35:35

So I put a shameless plug in here as well to say that it can be useful to use, like an agency partner. Not necessarily, you know,

David Parry 35:43

Do you know any good ones?

Richard Buckle 35:45

I don't know. But, but, but who have seen a lot of other implementations, who have seen what other best practices are out there. So that you're just getting a broader, you know, even if you find someone just have a chat to and say, Okay, what other workflows are people using? What have they set up their sales process, those sorts of things,

David Parry 36:02

simple little things, like where sales people tend to leapfrog stages in a pipeline, you know, that that can become a problem. If you're trying to do a certain type of reporting. We've seen it before we know how to fix it. Yeah, we're just going post hoc, add in the missing data that's required, we can fix that sort of thing, all the data cleaning this type stuff, or how to get report on forecast revenue. You know, we've been around the block enough that we know those things, so yeah, shameless plug that may be but kinda that's what we're here for. Yeah. All right, good. I think whilst the we could go on loads more about that, because there's lots of facets of changing CRMs Hopefully, we've given people a bit of a flavour of some of the ups and downs of doing it. And maybe just got people to think twice about whether their current system is giving them all the they could be getting.

Richard Buckle 36:46

So I guess that's CRM later. See you later. That was terrible.

David Parry 36:51

That's gonna live, you're gonna be shamed by that forever.

Richard Buckle 36:57

That sounded a lot better in my head than when it actually materialised.

David Parry 37:02

Work on that for next week, he's here all week, don't give up the day job. Once again, you've been listening to The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow who are HubSpot partner here in the West Midlands in the UK. As I say every week, please, wherever you get your podcasts from, do a follow, click the button and the little bell next to it so you know when we're coming out. But more importantly, really just tell your friends in business, tell your colleagues tell anybody else that you think might benefit from some of the material that we're covering. And if you've got ideas for other subjects you'd like us to cover in future episodes or some feedback on some of the stuff we've already done. Then please send it through to us and we'll respond. In the meantime good luck with your business

Further Resources

If you're considering changing your CRM system, we have some additional resources that can help you make the transition smoothly. As referenced in this episode, we are proud to be HubSpot Partners. You can learn more about HubSpot here or get in touch, we'll be happy to chat!

If you're looking for more general information on CRMs, we have a previous podcast episode "Why Every Business Needs a CRM" which provides a great overview of what a CRM is and the business benefits. Likewise, we have a blog post "Unlocking The Power of Your CRM", which explains some practical use examples of using a CRM as well as some lessons learnt from our own experiences. 

With all these valuable insights and tips on optimising your CRM system for maximum efficiency, there is no reason to let your current CRM hold you back - explore the options and take the next step towards business success.


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