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Revising Your Enterprise Data Strategy: Is It Time To Swap CRMs?

Alden Dale

Data is at the heart of your organization’s strategy and decision making. But is your CRM system holding you back?

If your choice of CRM is impeding your organization’s growth, progress, and/or day-to-day operations, you might just need to make some adjustments to your enterprise data strategy (EDS) — or, it might be time for a switch to a new system.

In this post, we’ll explore some common CRM pain points, as well as a few different approaches for revamping your data management.

What is enterprise data strategy (EDS)?

HubSpot describes EDS as “a roadmap used by an organization to determine how data will be collected, organized, and processed based on business priorities, company size and industry, data maturity level, and more.”

Common CRM issues and challenges

Many clients come to us because they’re ready for a change in their CRM, their EDS, or both. The specific reasons vary, but here are some common themes we hear time and time again:

“Our strategy is outdated.”

It’s easy to let those EDS decks collect digital dust in a folder somewhere. Unfortunately, that means your teams are stuck with old ways of gathering, sorting, and leveraging data that no longer serve them — or worse, everyone operates differently based on their own DIY data strategies (Yikes!).

Your strategy is a living document, and should constantly be updated as your company grows. Checking this document quarterly and revising as you go can ensure your strategy is never so far out of date that you need to start from scratch.

“Our data is too outdated or disorganized.”

Even organizations with good data strategies can struggle with bad data, such as records that haven’t been updated in years, fields that are entered inconsistently, or bot entries that slipped through the cracks.

Bad data can make it difficult to use your CRM efficiently, and can even wreck your marketing efforts, so getting it cleared out should be a top priority. It’s best practice to perform regular audits, clean-ups, and purges to ensure your CRM data is reflective of your audience as it is right now — not months or years ago.

Some companies feel that their data is too low-quality to work with, and they would be better off burning it all to the ground and starting over. In some cases, that might be true, but we recommend exploring all your options — you might be surprised by how much data you can salvage, especially with the help of data management experts.

“Nobody likes using our CRM.”

It’s likely that some of your team members use your CRM every day, multiple times a day. If it’s a source of frustration for them, that can negatively impact morale and productivity.

There are a number of reasons why a particular CRM might not work well for your team members, but here are a few of the most common ones we hear:

  • It doesn’t offer all the tools they need
  • They have more experience with other systems
  • The user interface (UI) isn’t intuitive
  • Training, support documentation, and FAQ materials are lacking
  • New or updated workflows call for a different system

While most CRMs can get the job done in one way or another, some teams just click better with one system over another. Be sure to communicate with your teams to understand their preferences.

“We want more features.”

Your CRM should grow with your organization and provide new capabilities that streamline your operations. Even if you’re not in a period of substantial growth, it’s always nice to have the latest, most helpful features.

Whether the solution is getting a new system altogether or opting for an upgraded package with your existing provider, it’s important that your CRM’s features work for you.

data-management-operations-hubHubSpot's CRM plus Operations Hub is a smart data management choice for teams of all sizes.

So, one of the above issues is definitely bugging you. Now what?

Swapping CRM systems may feel like your only option (and it very well may be the best one), but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here are a few different approaches to consider:

Rebuild your strategy in your existing CRM – Keep your existing data, but clean it up, and adjust your enterprise data management strategy to better align with your current goals. This may be a good option if you like your CRM and have a substantial amount of high-quality data you’d like to keep.

Start from scratch in your existing CRM – Burn it to the ground. Get rid of your existing strategy and data and start with a clean slate. This is often the best option if your CRM works well for you overall, but your data quality is too depreciated to salvage.

Move your existing data to a new CRM – Preserve your existing data with a CRM migration. This can be helpful if you aren’t thrilled with your current CRM and need a fresh start on strategy, but don’t want to start from scratch in terms of rebuilding your database.

How do you choose the best path forward?

Now that you know your options, it’s time to take stock of your current strategy and decide where to go from here.

While you can choose to tackle this yourself, agencies with CRM strategy experience have specialized knowledge that can help you assess your situation and find the best solution. Either way, here are some of the most important things to consider when deciding how to move forward with your data management strategy:

How long will it take?

Whether you opt for data cleanup or moving to a new system, the process will take time — how much time largely depends on your specific goals, the size and complexity of your contact list, and whether you handle everything in-house or outsource the work to an agency. Keep the timeline in mind as you explore your options.

How much data will you lose in the change?

While switching to a new CRM is often the best option, it does come with the risk of losing data that doesn’t have an equivalent in the new system. As you consider various CRMs, consider which objects, fields, activities, and tasks are part of your existing system, and whether they have a 1:1 in other systems.

How complex is your current setup?

If your existing system is complex (i.e. lots of custom configurations and integrations), but works well for you overall, it may not be worth the effort to recreate everything on a new platform. However, complexity isn’t always a good thing — if all those moving parts are causing problems, a CRM migration may be a good opportunity to simplify things.

What features are you hoping to get from the change?

CRM providers constantly update their platforms with new features to help you organize and utilize your data. It’s possible that your existing provider will add the one important feature you’re missing (especially if enough customers request it), but if another provider already offers it, it might make more sense to switch.

HubSpot Community Ideas ForumThe HubSpot Community has an Ideas Forum that regularly contributes to new features.

Do you need to centralize or better connect your tech stack?

Sometimes companies grow in silos, with disparate systems that don’t communicate with each another. If you have to manually update or sync data across multiple platforms, that’s not just a waste of time and resources — it also increases the chance of human error, which can lead to poor data quality over time. Centralizing your data around a central hub (your CRM) can fix this problem.

Salted Stone knows CRM

Deciding whether or not it’s time to switch CRMs is a “measure twice, cut once” situation.

Whether you’re looking to start from scratch, want to preserve your existing data, or can’t figure out what to do next, we can help. We’ll do a deep dive into your CRM and work with you to create a plan based on your unique goals. Then, no matter what approach you choose, we’ll help you execute it and set you up for long-term success.

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