Unsure about the best time to update or refresh your CRM system?
Here are six signs that you should be exploring your options to help your teams get the most out of your CRM platform and its data.
1) Your version is out of date
Possibly the most obvious sign that you should be considering an upgrade is if you’re running an unsupported version of your CRM environment. Cost and risk escalate when organisations don’t keep up to date with their software, as it becomes harder to find suppliers willing to assist with changes or support.
As a guide, Microsoft Dynamics 2011 left mainstream support in July 2016, and Microsoft Dynamics 2013 in January 2019. Anyone operating these versions should seriously consider an upgrade or reimplementation.
2) Your system no longer fits your business processes
Lots of things can change in a team or business within a few years. CRM systems are intended to facilitate better working practices and make life easier for users, but they can become a hindrance when trying to convince a team to bend how they want to do things to fit an outdated system. An upgrade is a great opportunity to refresh your approach to CRM, take on board feedback from current users and make changes to process as well as updating the platform.
3) It’s difficult to update, integrate or enhance
More modern CRM systems are designed to adapt to change, evolving with their organisation over time. If you’re struggling to make changes or integrate to other systems, or are heavily reliant on a supplier to carry out costly development work each time you need to tweak a form, it could be time to weigh up the long-term benefit of investing in a more flexible platform that will cost you less in ongoing development.
4) You struggle to extract meaningful data or reports
CRM systems need to be constantly looked after to keep data current and accurate. Data housekeeping can become even more of a challenge when it is tricky to update records in bulk, for example without newer features such as editable grids, or the ability to edit data in Excel Online. Reporting capabilities have greatly improved in the latest versions of Dynamics 365 and can be extended further with embedded Power BI dashboards.
5) Your system doesn’t support your growth goals
CRM systems of the past were places to house and track data, but their role is now becoming much more pivotal to your overall company strategy. Having an abundance of data can be a huge asset to an organisation, but only when users can manipulate and monitor it effectively to support their business goals.
Modern features such as AI for Sales provide proactive insights into the strength of relationships with customers, give hints for next actions based on previous interactions and remind salespeople of important upcoming dates related to their accounts. This all helps you to keep on top of the data you collect and use it intelligently to stay a step ahead of the competition.
6) You are about to invest in new hardware or licences
Replacing hardware can be expensive. If you’re approaching a refresh of your servers or your on-premise licences, it is a great time to look at the cost benefits that can be achieved with a move to the cloud. Rather than investing in future hardware, you can carry out a migration to Dynamics 365 Online and move to a scalable, monthly licence plan, whereby you only pay for the licences you need. By moving online, you can take away the need to budget for future upgrades or server maintenance/ replacement.