72% of CRM users say they would trade functional complextity for a simple CRM that is easy to use

That statistic might seem a little surprising if you’ve got a CRM that’s well received, but pre-designed CRMs must service the greatest number of people with the greatest range of functionality. However, this generic approach is not always going to deliver the CRM of your dreams: It may not even get close.

We know that usage of systems and applications can be as low as 10% (MS Word), so what we’re seeing is a demand for better basics and a more accurate design that reflects what we need, not what someone ‘thinks’ we need. With more pressure on our working life, there’s little time to spend on training and understanding features that we probably don’t need or want, so to encourage a ‘start simple’ approach, here are the first 5 elements of what every CRM should aim to fulfil:

  1. A shallow learning curve – make sure it’s easy and quick to use and that users understand how data travels through the whole system so that they can benefit from a deeper understanding of why the data is being used in the way it is. This brings far greater engagement and makes contribution, feedback and ideas much more valuable.
  2. Saving time – if software isn’t giving time back in comparison to the same activity performed before, there’s little point in battling on with it. A CRM design should be mindful of a user’s time so simple features such as providing multiple ways to get to the same answer is a key consideration whilst autofill is a fantastic addition.
  3. Enjoyment – software has no excuse – we can create beautiful, eye-pleasing designs that will enhance a user’s enjoyment but most importantly, the positive connection comes from rapid adding of information, a logical process and accurate, multi-level reporting. It’s the difference between how it look and how it works.
  4. How useful – a CRM isn’t a dip in and dip out of system – it’s the core of all relationships and should be nurtured every day, multiple times a day. If you can encourage this kind of adoption for a CRM, it will return the greatest value and take you closer to your targets within a shorter timeframe.
  5. Integrate – join the dots in your business and don’t treat the CRM as a standalone system – it’s a part of the whole story.

Make these points a priority for your CRM and make it work really hard for you.

*Salesforce research of CRM users