Is Your CRM system still fit for purpose?

You may want to upgrade your existing software, or migrate to a brand new system…  STOP: are you about to simply move into a new house with all of your old stuff?

I was with a client recently who is considering this very point we were discussing their current database and it turns out that they actually have a data DUMP.  It’s a great system, although to be fair they have outgrown it and it’s all but full of junk.

The users don’t search it; they rarely add data to it, and if they do it’s merely to ring fence it – they don’t keep the data up to date. Our client spends a fortune on other databases; they have little visibility over what they have and what the business “owns” in terms of data; social media is not helping the situation by giving staff even more “private” access to data that they have zero visibility over.

The database is therefore worth very little; in fact it is probably costing money! We got chatting about what they want to get out of the move to a new system…

Like many of our clients he has had the following experience:

  • Invested well before recession
  • Held on tight during recession
  • Got a bit giddy post-recession and focused on bringing the money in (too right!)
  • Now realises that strategy is key and he wants a safer, structured, visible environment for his data and his people
  • The CRM that he has is not fit for purpose going forward – his business is very different to what it was when he bought the software and the software has not moved with the times.  Upgrading to the newer version would in effect mean a completely new process – so he may as well see what’s out there! (Right decision!)

Thus, the decision to move systems has been made and he wants to know about how to deal with the legacy data.  Options:

Bin the old data and start again with a nice shiny new system! Trust me, the theory is great – in reality, your staff will hate you for this (even if they are the ones whinging about the rubbish they have to sift through to get what they need).

Migrate the lot! Some CRM software houses will happily take money for migrating your data (as a removal man will happily take your old junk to your new home…) – but you will be charged for this AND your staff will still have to wade through it.

Study what you have and see what you have to gain by migrating it – please think about what good looks like.  Think about the typical life-span of a client and prospect and search your data dump for data that you need going forward.


The key to this is to think long not short term; ask yourself:

  • If your data was paper-based, filed away in a multitude of filing cabinets, would you pack it up and move it to a new office?
  • Is one of your objectives for the new CRM a cleaner working environment?
  • Do you have a policy / process which clarifies to your people when the data that they have goes on to your system?  You don’t want to be spending time and money getting a gorgeous clean house, only to invite a load of hoarders to stay, who nip out to every car boot going, and trawl eBay for stuff they may “need”.  Be clear about what goes onto the system and why.  And perhaps have a system that “archives” data that has not been touched in a while.

Investing in a new CRM is a great way of moving your business to a new work ethic, ensuring that your workforce has the best tools and that you can maximise the data that you have.  Make sure that you don’t simply move your junk to a new system and in 6 months have the same complaints that led you to migrate / upgrade – otherwise it’s just geography.

Are you planning on migrating / upgrading your CRM? If so, how much data have you got? What’s your strategy?