Would you say that your customer relationship management system caters to all your marketing efforts and sales teams' needs? Of course not - why would anyone ask such a ridiculous question?
Perhaps a better question is, "Do you think CRMs are still relevant today?"
It's quite a controversial question, especially considering how integral CRMs remain for maintaining business relationships and customer interactions.
Many digital-first companies will answer this question with a hard and definitive no. We didn’t sign the Segment-led "CRM is Not Enough" declaration, but we can’t help but empathize with the pledges.
CRMs are not designed with PLG companies in mind, yet so many businesses in the B2B environment heavily rely on them.
But what about your boots on the ground sales reps?
If you’ve been struggling with your preferred CRM system for some time, you should know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
You probably have a laundry list of complaints about CRM. We've outlined the most pertinent CRM sins related to customer data management silos and how to deal with them.
Slow steaming with CRM
This is the disconnect caused by data silos.
The sales process is no longer sequential, and the average sales rep juggles many roles while keeping their old, tired CRM chugging along.
The forgotten team members
You have a collection of solid marketing campaigns running in tandem with your sales teams. Your end-users have been identified, and your CS teams keep their busy fingers on the pulse.
But how much of your sales and marketing teams' successes can be derived from their CRM?
Building strong customer relationships and maintaining customer loyalty involves micromanaging with multiple tools.
Take HubSpot, for example. Putting an effective PLG strategy together with the flagship CRM requires a HubSpot user to weld around ten separate sub-products.
You also need revenue data from services like Stripe or Chargebee and in-app event tracking through a tool like Segment.
You’ve probably seen several guides on how CRMs can boost your revenue efficiency. Wouldn’t it be better if you could truly understand your income model and make tailored improvements?
Stripe’s Revenue Recognition service automatically develops in-depth reports on your operations and financial health. This section also handles your Stripe integrations, providing you with revenue data from all your streams.
The traditional CRM arsenal doesn’t cover sensitive sources like time-series data.
Ryan Nutley, the Director of Sales Engineering of Datadog, recommends using a database like Cassandra for a start. You must also look at ingestion streams with an event streaming platform like Kafka.
Those exhaustingly filled gaps
Soon you find yourself testing methods to create streams and topics to digest your ocean of data.
This piecemeal approach sails close to the wind if your tech stack isn’t connected to your CRM.
An SDR juggles instruments to make sense of the different data currents.
A CS team struggles to establish proper personalized customer communication. These specialized agents will not know which clients need attention.
Before you know it, your head of sales is raising the alarm - you’re mired in data silos.
Safe and efficient selling is only possible with the right signals.
The corporate-led mutiny against CRM
If you’ve been experiencing a mounting frustration with CRMs, you’re not alone. Peter Reinhardt, Segment’s former CEO and co-founder, began a movement against the CRM industry.
Reinhardt and his like-minded rebels are disillusioned with CRMs, regarding them as outdated dinosaurs of the Rolodex era unfit for the digital age’s complexity and endless flood of data.
A hankering for simpler times
Reinhardt’s declaration outlines a nostalgic need for easier customer relationships. He misses the days when people would be personally and warmly greeted by professionals that knew their needs.
Salespeople were once more than capable of recording and acting on every important customer detail using their CRM. Those days are long gone, and the modern CRM process is impersonal and inadequate.
The progressively mounting swell of data capsized CRMs in the digital age, even if many platforms tried to swim against the current.
In 2018 Salesforce broke its acquisition cost record in a $6.5 billion MuleSoft purchase. The CRM giant hoped to improve its functionality incorporation through MuleSoft’s integration services.
Despite having poured billions of dollars into plugging holes with acquisitions, CRMs are still out of their depth with modern selling. Many teams have noticed these flaws and have taken control of their data.
The natural response to CRMs’ shortcomings was the data warehouse. A seemingly limitless digital storage space where engineers can happily load CRM data in sensible ways.
Expanding your data holds doesn’t necessarily shorten your customer journey.
The users’ voyage beyond a sale
Landing a sale is like smashing a bottle of champagne on the bow of a newly launched ship. It’s a ceremonially uplifting moment, but it also marks the beginning of a lengthy and often tricky customer lifecycle.
One of the biggest priorities for a sales director is risk assessment and its proper management. Knowing where you stand with a customer usually takes several meetings’ worth of collaboration.
You need to fastidiously log every pain point that the customer has and keep your CS teams hot. It takes months before you have an accurately fleshed-out understanding of a customer’s journey.
Finally, your team members can collaborate on solutions to pain points. Your sales engineers will decide if your desktop tools are a good tech stack fit and whether their moving parts can appropriately remedy customer pain.
You can’t sell to a customer that isn’t using the previously purchased product.
At this stage, your renewal agents have jumped in. The SaaS customer lifecycle keeps evolving, and many salespeople sometimes feel like customer service representatives.
The market gap created by overengineered CRMs
The mismanagement of customer use data directly impacts a team’s understanding of their projected growth. You can’t track drawdowns like huge tool purchases that aren’t being used.
You will also struggle to understand when you’re misselling products or missing key negotiation points.
Achieving a high level of success scrutiny leads to the overengineering of a CRM. Filing hundreds of staggered leads throughout the lifecycle requires an expensive automation class.
Sales directors scan the SaaS industry for software tools that manage the many moving parts of the lifecycle as a company scales. There are valuable insights between each contact record or custom field.
There’s also a disconnect between your CRM and your data warehouse.
How not to use data warehouses
According to Grant Greeff, the CRO at SearchKings, data engineers might not serve your team as expected.
Sure, your engineers can derive value from your data warehouse. They can elicit and analyze the trends and patterns so long as they enjoy proper instruction.
Many sales directors don’t have the technical knowledge to guide their engineers or determine your needed data types.
Simplify your data warehouse usage
The main point of having a data warehouse is to find actionable data, which is challenging without the right technical know-how.
You’ll generally know what you want from your data warehouse but don’t know how to get it. A service like Breyta provides commercial teams with the same functionality as a data engineer-maintained data warehouse.
Breyta handles the data management and structuring processes traditionally conducted by data engineers and scientists. We deliver all the power of a data warehouse to you in an empowering and accessible way.
You’ll also skip the overhead and maintenance associated with data warehouses.
We want non-technical commercial teams to be independent and trim to the point that data warehouses become redundant.
The daily management and implementation of so much data is an unsustainable undertaking, regardless of your technical level.
This mass of data inspires some analysts to limit their periscope’s reach to avoid data silos. Cross-searching and establishing a relationship between activity levels and opportunities is notoriously difficult with the average CRM.
Third-party help with cold outbound sales
The average enterprise or commercial-level outbound sales process can’t be handled by your CRM alone.
Suppose you manage a B2B sales team that targets large corporations. In that case, you and your team are probably energetically outbound-focused.
Dealing with hundreds if not thousands of accounts requires a fair amount of data enrichment with a tool like Clearbit.
Your VP of Sales will want your data decks scrubbed clean, tiered, and updated. This process requires you to plow through reams of email domains, product leads, and old contacts and then upload the juiciest accounts.
Next, it’s Intercom’s turn to generate your lead list and usher in your power users. You know how much effort goes into prospecting if you're an AE, even with a satisfying account territory.
CS spends a large portion of their workday reaching out to your end-users, establishing how their users are faring with the product. This level of attention guarantees a success rate of about 10% on a good day.
Many sales teams wish they could automate lead scoring to establish their most active and committed users.
Intercom data provides your “low-hanging fruit leads,” as Nutley calls them. You might have found a high activity level, but this usage frequency doesn’t correlate with meaningful gains.
You might still struggle to establish whether they’re using your product meaningfully or not or whether they’re an intern or a CIO.
At this stage, all hands are on deck outlining ICPs, especially if you have a partial appreciation for your business or have just started.
Why CRMs don’t work for PLG
Have you ever tried to engineer a CRM for PLG purposes? Apologies if that question caused you a headache.
A CRM doesn’t register PLG-related opportunities like free trial registrations and onboardings. The entire concept of a “First Call” is different from a PLG strategy, given that it’s not your initial customer touchpoint.
PLG data is often miscommunicated between SDRs or CROs and their AEs.
CRMs and their customer service environments are geared toward pre-sale strategies. The traditional playbook generally starts with a first call and ends with signing an MSA.
Your CRM might notify you when a processed customer order has confirmed a renewal, but you won’t have the product usage data needed to understand customer health ratings.
Your CS team will also miss out on upsell opportunities. This is incredibly valuable sales data you can't ignore.
The rise of the PLG CRM
It’s no surprise that PLG teams have jumped ship to PLG CRMs. These platforms provide users with a comprehensive customer journey.
PLG CRMs switch gears from sales journeys to product usage. Product usage data is the chronometer that pinpoints how and where your customers fit into your product.
Many of your customers might not have purchased your product. PLG CRMs act as an advanced sonar for these product-qualified leads (PQLs) - blips that ordinary CRMs miss.
Gone are the days of sales teams manually loading fields. PLG CRMs automatically update your reporting tools and provide your RevOps with a spy ship’s coverage of your funnel.
You’ll know which customers are struggling with your product and close to churning before deploying your CS experts.
It’s now easier to tell if your customers are meeting your defined product usage milestones and preemptively deal with such deficits.
The consolidated customer solution
Let’s focus on a vital determinant of customer satisfaction that will regiment your often fragmented data. One of the most incredible sales productivity boosters is properly regimented and consolidated data.
You can easily file your CRM data into Breyta and integrate custom objects and data points from contact management services like Segment and Intercom. The point is to break the ice on cumbersome data silos and create comprehensive profiles for your current road with customers.
Establishing your customer health scoring is essential for customer-centric businesses and your overall business strategy. Realistic customer profiles increase sales effectiveness and optimize CS efficiency.
Streamline your data sources
We’re weary of this CRM data disconnect and maintain that a single view of the customer is essential for efficient selling. Data silos are roadblocks in your customer’s journey, and we’re steering clear of them.
Ryan Nutley and his team structured their data to avoid miscommunication.
It’s only too easy for a salesperson’s coms to clash with their sales engineer’s notes if your team isn’t streamlined.
While Nutley and co. have mastered Salesforce, the CRM doesn’t cover all their technical needs. Keeping up with processes like customer escalations and tickets requires services that Salesforce does not provide.
We’re passionate about data and customers, so we focus strongly on data and account enrichment.
Breyta allows you to identify your champions. Once you’ve integrated your CRM and third-party enrichment apps with the Breyta app, we’ll help you identify your ICPs.
The customer fit score helps identify your most appropriately matched users, while the user engagement score shows which users rely on your product the most.
The aggregation of these scores produces what we call a signal list, which is a highly enriched collection of qualified leads.
Fair products and following users
Despite Gartner’s predicted CRM growth of 13.7% CAGR in 2022, many users aren’t synchronized with their customers. It is increasingly difficult to plot the user journey using traditional CRM services.
According to Tiffani Bova, Salesforce’s Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist, 59% of customers maintain that personalized engagement is key to maintaining loyalty.
Customer satisfaction is the current vital sales metric, one assured by users getting the most out of your services.