Customer relationship management systems (CRMs) store information about your most valuable assets – your customers. These systems also enable business processes to engage your customers. Having multiple CRMs becomes a thorn in the side of many companies as they try to shift to a more customer-centric business operation.

Typically leveraged by sales and marketing teams, CRMs help to centralize the management of leads and improve customer relationships with the ultimate objective of driving sales growth and customer retention. These systems simplify, secure and scale your customer engagement.

So why would a company acquire numerous systems?

M&A Trends 2018

Globalization and the accelerated adoption of SaaS and cloud-based companies have contributed to an increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions (M & A) of technology applications and services. According to Deloitte, corporate and private equity executives foresee an acceleration of merger and acquisition activity in 2018, both in the number of deals and the size of the transactions.

In the first quarter of 2018, we have already witnessed Salesforce with a definitive agreement to acquire MuleSoft. Oracle is expanding its automation capabilities on its Platform as a Service offerings from databases to a range of areas including security. This comes with the announcement of their intention to buy Zenedge, a security startup.

It is rare to find that strategic fit between two companies. And it is even rarer to find two companies using identical systems and applications. This is especially true when there are multiple systems running 10 applications or more.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents predict deal size will hold steady or increase in the year ahead. Compared to their smaller counterparts, large firms (+$1 billion in revenue) are more confident they will engage in bigger  deals. – Deloitte

Different Sales and Support Processes for Unique Products

Your division may have been part of an M&A and its product is outside the core product set. This makes your product and its sales and support processes unique.  Your product may address a different business challenge within a prospect’s organization and the conversation and decision-making process is just different, causing you to adapt. You don’t want to slow down business yet you are making every effort to address a target customer’s needs.

Different Departments Use CRM Software for Different Purposes

There are key elements of CRM software used for different purposes. They can be summed up as Marketing Automation, Sales Automation, and Operations. Marketing automation is used to record the campaign details, customer responses and analysis performed as part of the campaign. The sales automation functionality of CRM software allows the sales teams to record each contact with customers, the details of the contact and if follow up is required. Operations uses CRM software to tracking billings, contracts and commissions.

For example, sales and marketing departments use CRM software for managing data about customers and prospects. Yet Human Resources uses their CRM instance on the payroll side to calculate commissions for the employees of the sales department.

Internal Siloed Legacy Purchases

As a company grows, sometimes too, does the number of technologies they acquire to solve a single issue. Siloed departments purchase siloed solutions. These CRMs live on because there has been an investment made in them. Completely eliminating the technology just seems like a waste when it still addresses a need. When all is well, no one complains. When times are tough and budgets are tight, management looks to consolidate in an effort to reduce costs. Marketing teams can get stuck trying to figure out how to leverage disparate data to do what they need to do which is to activate customers in the marketplace effectively.

What to Do to Solve the Issue

Regardless of how or why your company has multiple instances of a CRM, as a customer marketer, it’s your job to make the best use of the data existing in those systems. It’s your job to help protect customer relationships, build advocacy databases, activate the voice of the customer in the marketplace and support growth initiatives within the customer base. Having a dedicated customer reference management software is a necessary step to take in the ‘multiple CRM’ situation. But how do you then get it to work correctly when some customer data lives in this instance of the CRM, and some lives over there?

Learn more about the risks with this scenario, as well as the beneficial solutions available to you. HINT: it’s an answer not as crazy as you’d think! Read the full eBook about it now, and get this epidemic problem solved at your company.

Making Sense of All that Data: Addressing the Multiple CRM Scenario

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.
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