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7 Tell-Tale Signs You Have A CRM Issue - HubDo

crm data strategy

Time and time again, I see businesses pour lots of money into advertising or influencer marketing and push CRM right down their list of priorities. So many businesses are still “surviving” on scattered spreadsheets, databases they built themselves or spending lots of time doing VLOOKUPs and IF functions just to get simple data out of their system.


Yet, the right choice of CRM and strategy can help businesses get a much better picture of the customers’ lifetime value and how marketing and sales play a role together in driving revenue.


Having started my marketing career in email marketing and HubSpot, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been exposed to data and CRM right from the start. The importance of data integrity has been well and truly ingrained in me - which makes me wish others could see the power of choosing the right CRM tech stack and strategy.

Perhaps you’re now reading this blog wondering if you need to refresh your CRM system and strategy. Here are 7 tell-tale signs to look out for!


crm database



1. No CRM Strategy

If you don’t have a CRM strategy, you’re not alone. According to PieSync’s CRM statistics, 40% of SMEs without a CRM say they lack the resources to implement one and 38% also say they lack the required IT skills.


I get it - you’re busy and it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting a free CRM like HubSpot and just adding information as you wish. Overtime, it becomes a data dumping ground.


Or, perhaps you migrated between CRMs but didn’t have a plan in place for the new CRM.


Choosing the right CRM platform is only one part of the equation. Whilst important and fundamental, choosing the right CRM platform with no strategy is almost as bad as not having a CRM. You’ll only be left with a bunch of data you can’t get insights from. Not ideal...


2. CRM Not Supporting Or Driving Sales Processes

Some of the benefits of a CRM include being able to enrich the sales person’s calls and direct engagements with the contact so make sure it’s working for you. 


If you find your sales team double handling leads or providing different messages to the same user or having no idea where to begin contacting leads because they are a real mix of qualified and unqualified leads, well then Houston we’ve got a problem!


A good CRM should provide salespeople with explicit data (collected by marketing and sometimes by the sales team) and implicit data (online behavioural insights like last activity date) so that they can strike when the iron’s hot and avoid hot deals slipping through the cracks.


It should also help managers leverage on technology to improve sales and deal management processes. Handpicking one of HubSpot’s sales features, playbooks can be really useful whereby sales people are armed with scripts, sales reminders, sales content, email templates and much more right from where they manage deals - without having to do additional data entry.


3. No CRM Governance

This is a common one. Not every business can afford to have a dedicated person managing the CRM but there really needs to be 1-2 people taking responsibility to govern and be the CRM “gatekeeper”. 


In the context of CRMs, too many cooks definitely spoils the broth. Please be really careful and intentional about the level of access a user or team should have. I’m a big fan of having solid processes and a directory of property/field definitions written up so anyone can refer to it and make less assumptions. For example, If someone wants a new field created, they need a good reason and use case for it.


If you’re already using HubSpot, you are in a great position to govern at least what data is entered manually in the system. On each object level, you are able to only show fields that the user may need to fill in and set what data is required and optional. You can even change permissions on a property level, if you’re on Enterprise. Particularly useful for larger teams!


4. Low Adoption Rates

People don’t like change, that’s an unfortunate fact which leads to low CRM adoption rates. 

Often this is due to:

  • - Not having enough training and ongoing support
  • - CRM interface was too complicated
  • - A lack of governance resulting in different people following different rules; making it rather confusing!
  • - No proper roll out plans
  • - Not taking into account the needs and priorities of those who will be using the CRM
  • - Poor communication of how the CRM can support the person’s role

5. Processes Changed But CRM Hasn’t

No CRM project ever is truly finished. 

Once you’ve gone live with the CRM, you go into maintenance mode but really, a CRM needs to be continuously refined and updated especially when business processes change. In some way or another, business process changes would very likely impact the hand-off between teams, impact sales processes, team needs, integrations and so on.


If there’s no CRM governance of some sort (referencing back to point #3), it’s very unlikely that the CRM would’ve been updated to reflect the new processes. This would then result in poor data reliability and integrity and thus, poor customer experience.


If all functions of a company understand how positive customer experience impacts the bottom line and how CRMs can help them with their day-to-day, your team members will more willingly partake in maintaining and leveraging on a CRM. 


6. Systems Don’t “Talk” To Each Other

When your software isn't synced, you’re likely dealing with your team doing a lot of data entry or manual copying of information and data breakdown.

A few simple ways to spot this problem in your business is to:

  • - Look for manual processes where your team is acting as human integrators between systems that could be synced.
  • - Identify situations or steps of the processes where your team is copying and pasting information from one software to another.
  • - Note down when the team is logging the same information in different systems.
  • - Identify the breakdown in systems resulting in your team needing to refer to multiple systems for information


Most of these should be able to be solved by adopting third party syncing tools like PieSync, Zapier for trigger-based actions or building your own integration via APIs. Navigating these options and set up can get quite technical and overwhelming, so connect with me and I’ll talk you through it.


7. Unable To Easily Create Reports

Right up to this part of the blog, it has been focused around data integrity and management. This is important because data directly impacts the reports you can build to draw actionable insights from.


You shouldn’t have to spend weeks pulling out data to build sales and marketing reports. Look for CRM systems that allow for interactive reports that update in real time. Not all CRMs are created equal and quality is what you pay for. The best CRMs allow very specific drill down right from the reports itself and tie marketing and sales analytics together. 


In other words, you should be able to build a report that tells a story as to how marketing influenced sales and vice versa, how they impacted revenue and identify the exact deal, contact or company brought in the least or most sales.


If you require more complex reports or reports to have more flexibility, ensure that the CRM data can be exported into a business intelligence tool like Google Data Studio, Power BI or exported into Google Sheets using G-Accon or something similar. You really don’t want to be spending time building manual reports!


So next steps from here - create a list of reports that the teams across the business require, find out if you are able to extract that data from the CRM, note the quality of the data that you get and how easy or difficult it is to build the reports.


If this all sounds familiar and you want some CRM support, I’d love to help you. Let’s have a chat about where your business is today, what ‘ideal’ looks like to you and what steps will be needed to get you there.


Need help with your CRM Strategy? Connect with Alyssa Yap using the form on this page