Real business story

Find a CRM system that delivers value for your business

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems enable businesses to collate customer data from various channels and better understand and serve the needs of customers.

After two unsuccessful implementations, Jane Vincent (right) hired an independent consultant to help her choose the right CRM

By implementing an effective CRM, leaders can improve customer interactions, build stronger relationships and ultimately grow their business.

However, selecting the right product is easier said than done.

Don’t believe the hype

Finding the right CRM system has been a challenging process for Fortem People. After implementing two unsuitable systems, the rural recruitment agency learned to approach technology investments strategically.

Jane Vincent, director of Fortem People, wanted a simple CRM tool to save her team time and increase efficiency. However, when the business approached suppliers, Jane found overpromising sales people would baffle her with technical language – and sell her products that weren’t right for the business.

“If you've got a CRM system that actually causes you extra work, then there's no point in having one. That's what some of the systems that we were sold were doing,” Jane said.

In the end, Jane opted to hire an independent consultant to help her choose the right tool. The pair focussed on how software could actually deliver value for the business, rather than overhyped and unnecessary features. As such, Jane is finally feeling the benefits of a CRM that works for her business.

“We're on a third CRM system, and that has taken up a lot of time and money, but I think we've got it right this time. We needed something quite basic and we were getting sold a big tool that was for big organisations,” Jane said.

She advises business leaders not to rush in as fast as she did, but also not to be scared of technology. The wrong turns have cost time and money but she has ultimately found a CRM which makes her business more efficient and improves the customer experience.

If you do not feel confident in selecting the right CRM for your business, get external help, Jane added. The money spent will be a fraction of what implementing the wrong system costs.

“We've spent thousands of pounds on the wrong products. If we'd have got somebody to come and help us get it right the first time, things would have been different. The money spent on external help is invaluable,” she said.

“If you've got a CRM system that actually causes you extra work, then there's no point in having one. That's what some of the systems that we were sold were doing.”

Jane Vincent, director, Fortem People

Get the team on board

When Jane began researching CRMs, she was surprised to find such a huge number on the market.

She began narrowing it down to systems designed for the recruitment industry. She also looked for a CRM which could work for the business at its current size and have the capacity to scale with the business as it grew.

A key aspect of finding the system was engaging her team in the selection process. Jane listened to employees who would be using the tool on a day-to-day basis and made sure the whole company was totally bought in.

The systems which didn't work previously were too intricate and advanced. Staff didn't understand them and therefore didn't use them. The external consultant helped Jane think about the cultural shift she was trying to make. If people have been doing things one way for many years, then you need their buy-in if you want them to change.

Jane is an example of a business leader who was not afraid to interrogate whether the tools she had put in were delivering the required outcomes. Despite the challenges, she remains positive about the role that technology plays in her business.

“It’s been quite hard because you're trying to run a business, you're trying to make money, but then at the same time look at technology. There's never enough time to do that stuff but it's so important because, ultimately, if you do get it right, it's going to improve the process and speed up what you do,” she said.

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  • location: Yorkshire
  • business size: 1-9 People
  • business type: Recruitment Services

Top three takeaways

Listening to the employees who will actually be using the technology helps to ensure you implement something that works for the business.

It’s easy to be bamboozled by salespeople, but don’t rush into choosing something. Take your time to ensure the product is right for your business.

If you’re not confident of selecting the right technology, ask for help. Consult an independent specialist who has your interests at heart, not the service provider's.