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5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Your Legacy CRM

CRM software allows nonprofits to centralize data, quickly segment lists, plan events, manage staff & volunteers, generate reports for decision making, and much more. To be most effective, they should be user-friendly, an integrated piece of your digital ecosystem, and a daily part of your team’s workflow. Does the above sound like your current CRM? If the answer is no, you are not alone. A great number of nonprofits still use legacy, on-premise solutions that are difficult to use and often outdated. If you know or suspect your CRM is the source of significant pain points, take a look at these five major indicators that it may be time for you to break up with your current CRM and look for a better fit.

1. Your CRM does not play well with other systems and teams

Modern CRM solutions should provide valuable insights across your entire organization, not just for your marketing and development teams. This means that your CRM should be able to integrate with multiple systems to reduce manual data entry. If you are constantly updating data manually because your CRM doesn’t integrate with your other systems, you are effectively reducing the productivity of your team(s) and organization as a whole. An ideal CRM solution will integrate with all major organizational processes. These integrated organizational processes can include your email marketing service, collaboration platform, help desk, website, social media, and much more. 

2. Your CRM is not in the cloud nor is it mobile-friendly

Today’s modern workforce expects to be able to work anywhere at any time. Whether your team is at a conference and met a new contact that they want to add to the CRM, or they just had a meeting with a current contact and they want to update data, it is important that they have easy, mobile-friendly access to the platform.  If your CRM is an on-premise solution, it is likely that your team does not have easy, on-the-go access, which means they can’t be as productive outside the office. A modern, cloud-based solution only requires an internet connection, which increases productivity and the adoption of the CRM itself.

3. Your CRM is not user-friendly

If your team doesn’t like or want to use the system, what is the point? Legacy CRM systems often have gaps in information and data which impede or even stop workflows. This is detrimental to a system whose job is to make it easier to view and use data to gain actionable insights and inform decision making. A system that is not user-friendly will also lead to low adoption rates from staff. This can result in contacts and accounts not being maintained and updated regularly, which effectively renders the system’s data untrustworthy, and more of a money pit than a means to optimize decision making and workflows.

4. Your CRM is expensive to maintain

Maintaining a CRM can be a significant investment, not only in terms of keeping the necessary infrastructure up-to-date but also in the time it takes to maintain it on a regular basis. These costs can increase exponentially over time as the system becomes more in demand, as data capacity needs to increase, and software (and in many cases, hardware) needs to be upgraded to avoid slow performance and manual implementation. Many cloud-based solutions allow you to scale up and down easily as demand increases or decreases by simply modifying your subscription. According to SherWeb, moving to the cloud can save an organization an average of 79% on its IT budget by reducing maintenance and infrastructure setup costs.

5. Your CRM is not a single source of truth

Your CRM really should be a “single source of truth” or your “database of record.” All teams should feel confident that this is where they can look to find trustworthy, reliable data. If your staff needs to look at multiple systems to make sure the data they are using is correct, then your CRM is not a single source of truth.  For example, if you try to add valuable information about a particular contact into your CRM and there is no obvious place to add it, this could force you to store that information in a separate system. This can potentially lead to duplicate or disparate records and not a “single source of truth”.

Exploring a new CRM 

If any of the above apply to your CRM system, it may be time to consider changing to a system that can keep up with the fast pace of digital transformation and meet your organization’s specific needs. If you’re thinking of making a CRM switch, here are some guidelines on how to choose a CRM that best fits your organization and mission. And no matter which CRM platform you choose to work with, ensure that it’s set up for success through CRM training and governance best practices.  

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