There is a technological solution for almost everything in today’s world — and especially for small business owners as increasingly more software solutions crop up to solve every business need. This software is designed to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier, more efficient and more productive. However, with all that is out there, how do you know you’re choosing the right software for your business needs? Especially if your budget is small and your needs are big?

As a business owner, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be the lifeblood of your operations. CRMs track, manage and analyze your customer interactions and data in a much more robust way than a spreadsheet ever could. They are also used to track the sales process, and your sales team can only be as good as the strategy and tools that support them. To truly understand and optimize your customer relationships, a CRM is a must-have tool. When in the process of choosing a CRM system for your small business, avoid these eight mistakes.

Mistake #1: You can’t see the value in a CRM system.

One of the main complaints from business owners in launching a new CRM system is their reluctance to use a new system because of the time and effort it takes to implement a new process within the organization. But, using a CRM system is worth the investment. It will help your sales team make smarter decisions, keep your customer service team in the loop, and, arguably the most important aspect, it will help you manage your customers better. A CRM will be your organization’s central hub for customer information.

Mistake #2: You can’t figure out why you need a CRM.

Every business is different, and when it comes to goals and objectives, there is no one-size-fits-all CRM solution. To compare CRM systems, establishing what you want to get out of that system will make it easier for your business to make the right decision — or at least help narrow your shortlist down to one or two CRMs that might be the right fit. Then, items like cost and customer service will help you make your final decision. Keep in mind that your CRM goals and objectives should align with your sales strategy. See my next point.

Mistake #3: Your sales strategy doesn’t harmonize with your CRM system.

You want to make sure the CRM system you invest in aligns with the goals and strategy of your sales team. What do your sales folks perceive that the customers value most? Perhaps your customers value a more human approach to selling, versus automated. There are CRM systems out there that help support sales teams with specific customer details, such as where they are  in the buying process, previous purchases, etc. Or, maybe your customer values responsiveness? A CRM system will help keep your customer’s information organized with the goal of improving your relationship and the customer experience.

Mistake #4: You don’t know which information your sales team needs to move a lead through the funnel.

CRM systems have different features and functions that appeal to varying goals and objectives. You want to be sure you’re investing in a system that will support the sales team with the data they need to successfully push a lead through the sales funnel to close the sale and grow revenue for your business. Is it imperative that your sales team know where the lead is coming from? For example, is the lead coming to your business via social media, direct mail or telemarketing? Be sure your CRM system can track this data.

Mistake #5: You don’t understand the challenges of your sales team.

Looking for a CRM system that isn’t reconciling the challenges your sales team is experiencing without the system is a big mistake. If your business strategy aligns through to the sales department, the CRM system you choose will help mitigate those sales team challenges and be beneficial for everyone within your organization.

Mistake #6: You don’t ask your sales team for input.

When you begin the vetting process for your CRM system, bring in your top salespeople or your entire sales team to discuss the features and functions that would help them do their job best. This is where you can better learn your team’s challenges and what can help them work quicker and smarter.

Mistake #7: You believe a CRM system will be your sole sales strategy.

Do not assume that implementing CRM software will magically produce sales. Align your sales strategy with your buyer journey. Ensure the CRM system you’ve invested in is easy to use and understand and is compatible with other tools your business uses such as your marketing automation platform. By including your sales team from the beginning, you will help motivate the team to want to use this tool because it’ll help improve their sales numbers.

Don’t assume by implementing a CRM system your organization’s revenue will grow instantly, and your sales team will be engaged immediately. Ensure your entire business and different teams work together to find the right fit for your organization. Because investing in and implementing the wrong CRM system can cause much more harm than good.


Jeanna Barrett is the Founder & Chief Strategist of First Page, an award-winning online marketer and an expat entrepreneur. Through content, social media and SEO, Jeanna uses the power of words and data to drive growth in brand awareness, organic traffic, leads, revenue and customer loyalty. She has a combined 12 years of inbound marketing experience at venture-backed startups, digital agencies and Fortune 500 companies, with an expertise focus on small business and technology. She’s been named ‘Top 40 Under 40’ of brand marketers and ‘Best in the West’ for financial technology marketing. In 2016, Jeanna left the U.S. to lay roots and build her business in Belize.