Enterprise CRM: do you need it?

Enterprise CRM: do you need it?

April 29, 2021

Valerie Nechay

Statista’s Enterprise Software Report 2020 says that the enterprise CRM software revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 13.08% between 2021 and 2025, resulting in a market volume of $108,585.25 million by 2025. Meanwhile, the concept of enterprise CRM raises a lot of questions. How is it different from a CRM without an ‘enterprise’ tag? Is it solely for large enterprises, with SMBs being forever out of the picture? Is it just a way to set a high price? 

Enterprise CRMs are indeed designed for larger companies to serve their robust needs and offer almost unlimited possibilities in terms of storage, capacity, and functionality. It doesn’t mean, though, that enterprise CRMs are not accessible to SMBs. Such platforms usually have a low entry level and require more resources only in response to a company’s growing needs, which may result in heavy customizations and sophisticated automation scenarios. 

Overall, differences between various CRM types are somewhat blurry (although we can name such types as operational, analytical and collaborative CRM), with all of them offering the same key services:

  • Technological enablement and access to data for sales, marketing and service teams
  • Customer success tools
  • Data consolidation
  • Analytics

What matters most is the amount of data, number of assets, and scalability plans of your company. If it is large yet satisfied with a small-scale CRM, it doesn’t mean you need to adopt an enterprise edition nonetheless. What you need to do is keep your eyes open for the signs that you need one. What are they? Here’s the list.

Top signs you need an enterprise CRM

Being human means being extra-capable of adapting to almost everything. It means that businesses and employees can get accustomed to working with even the most inconvenient toolset. For this reason, it’s important to do a regular audit of your tools and their efficiency and check whether they can continue to support your business development plans or you see all the following signs you should adopt an enterprise CRM.

1. You can’t get value from data

You have many data sources but lack a standardized procedure for data retrieval, storage, synchronization and interpretation, which makes you act on fragmented and inconsistent data. Meanwhile, your employees can’t locate necessary information and use data they have to get insights, build forecasts, make informed business decisions, or provide personalized customer experiences. 

You understand that you need a data analytics strategy and a solution that will connect all your data sources, take care of data transformation and interpretation, generate custom reports, and let your employees access data of high quality whenever they need it.

2. You lack interdepartmental collaboration

Each department, from sales to finances, sits on their own data and doesn't coordinate efforts with other departments, which results in a short-sighted picture of customers and company operations. Consequently, different teams have to act on incomplete data and keep on missing opportunities, while customers get frustrated with inconsistent experiences when reaching out via various channels. You understand you need a single source of truth for all the teams.

3. Your business is growing rapidly

Your business is expanding while you see that your tech stack doesn’t let you scale at expected rates, since your automation level is low and your apps can’t boast smooth integration. You feel you need to adopt a platform that will grow in sync with your business growth, fitting as much data and as many customers and employees as you need.

4. Your teams’ productivity is decreasing

As your business and customer base are growing, you’re getting more leads, support tickets, and records to enter. Your sales, marketing and service teams feel overwhelmed with the workload and spend a significant share of their day on manual and repetitive tasks. At the same time, a growing number of customers from different time zones require round-the-clock assistance and consistent experiences across channels. Under these circumstances, you need to hire more people or automate workflows and data entry to free employees from time-consuming tasks and reduce errors and missed opportunities.

5. You don’t know your customers

You have many points of contact, like email, chat, phone, social media, messengers, and more, but you have difficulty to categorize and analyze data accumulated from these channels and learn who your customers are, what channels they prefer, and how to personalize their experience channel-wise based on their past interactions. 

Customers, in their turn, get frustrated when they get ping-ponged between channels while having to repeat themselves. They feel their loyalty isn’t appreciated and switch to your competitors without much hesitation. You realize you need to tackle a growing number of complaints and target different customer groups with different tactics to increase customer retention rates.

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Enterprise customer relationship management: overcoming challenges 

Big systems almost always imply big challenges. While enterprise CRMs promise efficient coordination of sales, marketing and service activities coupled with opportunities for higher productivity, they also require a significant investment.

High cost and lengthy implementation

While almost any cloud-based enterprise CRM, also known as hosted CRM, requires nothing but registration to start with, it asks for much more to get it going at a large scale. You need to choose the right platform, get everyone’s buy-in, involve your IT team or hire technical experts to migrate your data, customize the new system, integrate third-party sources, develop apps and custom connectors, build workflows and ML models, organize training to increase adoption rates, provide ongoing maintenance, you name it. Each milestone may entail additional costs and turn into a project of its own. At the same time, all of these activities don’t guarantee you will get the results you expected, particularly in the short term. 

How to deal with it

Hasty implementation is the major reason for rework that entails additional costs and time. Try not to get into this trap and hire CRM consultants to audit your current tech stack, estimate time and resources needed for CRM implementation, and compare investments with a potential ROI you expect. Take time to work out a CRM strategy, treating each implementation stage as a separate mini-project, with its own objectives, team, budget, timeframes, and success metrics. This way, you’ll be able to get a realistic evaluation of your project in terms of time and money, prioritize features for implementation, and find more opportunities to minimize expenses. 

High-profile technical expertise

Even if you have an in-house IT team, it may be not enough for enterprise CRM implementation. Developers who have no prior experience with a certain CRM platform may struggle with implementing the system in a cost- and time-efficient manner. What’s more, you may need specific expertise such as of data scientists, for example. 

How to deal with it

Hire developers with specific expertise or collaborate with a CRM implementation partner who has a portfolio of similar projects and a strong team of qualified professionals. 

Data migration

Data migration is a quintessential part of any enterprise CRM implementation project. When you move between the systems with different architectures, it may involve migration of the storages, databases, apps, or all at once when moving from a legacy system to the cloud. It requires specialized technologies, big data governance, and a project framework of its own. Otherwise, a reckless approach to this endeavor may result in grave data losses, security gaps, and performance blockages. 

How to deal with it

Similar to CRM implementation, you need to develop a data migration strategy to streamline the migration process and ensure that you transfer valuable data of high quality only. The strategy usually consists of the following stages:

A data migration strategy

A steep learning curve

Enterprise CRM systems can be overwhelming for employees in terms of UI, features, and the required level of tech-savviness. If they feel they can’t use the new system in an efficient way, they can sabotage adoption by reverting to the old tools, failing to enter necessary data, or treating it as the necessary evil that doesn’t assist them in any way. 

How to deal with it

Engage future CRM users right from the planning stage to understand what workflows and tools they need. Let them test the features in a sandbox so that the system would feel familiar once deployed. Develop role-based training courses that feature real-life scenarios, assign CRM ambassadors in each team to encourage adoption and show how the system can be useful, and hire an admin who can provide ongoing help during the adoption and beyond. Consider running refresher training sessions when you see that some of your employees have knowledge gaps that affect their productivity.

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Why Salesforce is an enterprise CRM of choice

Today Salesforce is almost synonymous with a cloud-based enterprise CRM, though the vendor promotes solutions for SMBs as well. In 2020, Salesforce was positioned by Gartner as a leader on the three Magic Quadrants: for CRM Customer Engagement Center (for the 12th consecutive year), Field Service Management, and Sales Force Automation (for the 14th consecutive year), while IDC ranked it CRM #1 in its Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker:

Salesforce as CRM #1

A platform for growth

With Salesforce’s ability to accommodate an ever-growing number of users and features, it can be called a CRM platform that was designed to be scaled. Additionally, it can be integrated with hundreds of business apps via its own marketplace. It also has specialized tools that help boost the growth of sales, marketing and service teams—all via a single and secure platform. 

A platform for customer success

Salesforce was founded on a simple yet powerful principle—to help businesses serve customer-centric experiences. As a result, the platform provides an ecosystem of products (from sales automation software to customer experience technologies) built around customer success. 

  • Marketing tools streamline lead scoring and help nurture leads with relevant content and engage customers with tailored offers.
  • Sales tools help support customers along the entire buying journey and provide them with consistent experiences across multiple touchpoints. It’s possible to streamline sales processes by automating proposal and quote generation and make use of AI to spot opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
  • Service tools help provide personalized and consistent customer service, making it round-the-clock with the help of self-service tools and AI-powered chatbots.

Salesforce CRM serves as a single source of truth, allowing a shared access to customer records for all the teams, which helps them stay on the same page when it comes to customer-facing tasks.

A mobile-first CRM

Besides desktop access, Salesforce implementation provides users with a mobile app that allows accessing all of the Salesforce features, be it for closing deals, communicating with customers, tracking marketing metrics, or collaborating with colleagues. It’s a great solution for field workers—they get smart dashboards featuring important features only, along with personalized navigation and a possibility to interact with the app by voice. 

Salesforce’s mobile CRM

Accessible analytics

Salesforce lets every employee interact with data and access analytics powered by Salesforce Einstein AI. They can connect internal and external sources to see a bigger picture and navigate insights and trends, also being able to predict outcomes.

Continuous innovation

When you choose Salesforce, you can be sure that you will continuously enjoy cutting-edge technologies and innovations delivered with regular seasonal upgrades three times a year. Besides constant enhancements of its Einstein AI, the vendor is able to react to sudden changes, as it did when the world moved to an all-digital, work-from-anywhere mode. During the pandemic outbreak, the company managed to deliver a completely new product, Work.com, to help companies navigate the complexity of remote work and return to the office safely.

So is enterprise CRM right for you?

CRMs have proven their outstanding value for customer-facing businesses. Does it apply to enterprise CRMs as well? You can’t adopt one without substantial investments, but at the same time, it’s the best bet for large organizations if they plan to grow, nurture a data-driven culture, adopt innovative concepts like data storytelling, and achieve customer-centricity.