Customer marketers are faced with a unique challenge in that they must help retain existing customers for upsell/cross sell initiatives, while leveraging happy customers to create new ones. Doing that successfully requires a robust view of the customer’s data in order to message most relevantly and protect key relationships. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Especially if you’re working at a company that has customer data in multiple instances of the customer relationship management system, like Salesforce.com.

There are a number of reasons why a company may have acquired countless sales and marketing technologies, such as experiencing a merger or acquisition, having different sales processes for unique products, having different departments using CRM software for different purposes, or simply having siloed legacy purchases.

A customer relationship management system can cohesively bridge departments, data, and business goals. There are also challenges and risks associated with increasing the number of sales and marketing technologies under one roof if you want to achieve a customer-centric business operation.

3 Major Challenges of Having Multiple CRM’s

Disparate customer data

With multiple customer relationship management systems, there is a lack of visibility into a single view of the customer data. This is important at two levels: management and the individual contributor. Management is looking for an aggregate view of the business. The individual contributor, such as a salesperson, is focusing on the time to customer experience. For example, a company has two separate instances of sales CRMs, such as Salesforce.com. Two sales representatives contact the same customer with potentially different outcomes. This causes confusion on the customer’s part and the customer experience, in general, suffers.

CRMs don’t talk to each other

Migrating data becomes complicated when systems just don’t speak the same language. Usually a CRM and API-enabled software can talk to each other, which is great. Individual CRM instances cannot talk to each other. As a result, marketing teams trying to solve for ‘customer- centricity’ and sales teams wanting ‘faster and greater customer success and reference evidence’ are stuck with only a partial picture. The real challenge here is that the data is not working together holistically.

CRMs seen more as an IT initiative than a business definition

The metric of a CRM system is its credibility and decisions are made based on its customer data. As such, a CRM strategy is more about defining the business processes than executing an IT initiative. Although an IT strategy is essential when dealing with multiple systems, if the business processes aren’t defined by the business, then a technology strategy of is out of sync.

The multiple CRM phenomenon is causing companies to question relying on applications only associated with particular CRM platforms. You need to question the data storage and processes of how you are managing the data”, explains Alfred Diez, VP of Customer Success at Certify, Inc. “This can lead companies to have multiple instances of a customer success tool, for example.”

The impact on revenue, time-to-market, costs, data and security integrity, reporting, and compliance weigh heavily when managing numerous sales and marketing technologies. Considering the challenges and risks, a hybrid approach between the CRM and your Customer Advocacy Platform can help make sense of all that customer data. Learn about it in RO’s newest ebook “The Multiple CRM Scenario: Making Sense of All That Data”, and download your copy now!

Nichole Auston
Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation
Nichole Auston is the Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.
Top