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Explore the challenges faced while utilizing Salesforce or any CRM for customer success. Discover solutions to overcome common struggles.
Customer Success is one of the most important key drivers of the long-term success and sustainability of a business across industries. Businesses require being proactive in ensuring that their customer achieves their desired result and fully realize the value of products and services for which they have made a payment. This is crucial for attaining long-term customer loyalty.
An effective Customer Success Strategy is built on the foundation of an efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Salesforce. The tool has gained popularity due to its ability to-
With these capabilities, CRM tools like Salesforce a business can easily hold its client base and gain ensured growth. While being an important tool for the growth and success of businesses across industries these tools also pose a few challenges to the user. In this write-up, let us explore the struggles of a business using Salesforce or other similar CRM tools for managing their customer success because for any serious business CRM alone is not enough!
Before we start discussing why CRM alone is not sufficient for a B2B SaaS business, we need to have a clear understanding of CRM and its function.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a powerful business tool as well as an approach that revolves around creating and preserving deep relationships with customers. As a technology, CRM is a centralized platform that collects, organizes, and manages customer data, interactions, and insights. This enables the business to know and understand its customers at a deeper level.
Talking about the primary function, Customer Relationship Management tools are designed for enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction levels. A CRM tool like Salesforce achieves this feat of customer engagement and satisfaction by facilitating –
Now, that we know what a CRM is and also understand its primary function let us discuss its importance briefly before proceeding on to the challenges.
A CRM system functions as a central repository for customer data. The system captures and collects all important data relating to customers in one place. The data includes contact details, preferences, purchase history, support tickets, interactions with various touch points like websites and social media, and much more. This centrally collected data allows the CRM team to have a holistic view of all the customers individually and collectively. Without having this data it won’t be possible for any business to take many important decisions regarding customer success such as personalized campaigns and interactions.
CRM tools like Salesforce are very good at tracking customer interactions. In today’s time, customers have got multiple options like phone calls, website chat systems, emails, and multiple social media platforms. It would humanly be impossible to track interactions with a customer through various touchpoints. CRM tools are very good at tracking all those interactions and bunching them together so that there’s no leak in the information about customer interaction. This collective history of interaction empowers the customer success team to understand customers’ needs, pains, and desires and plan further courses of action.
You must know any set of data is meaningless and useless unless it is analyzed. No effective plan of action can be formulated simply based on data without proper analysis. CRM tools are equipped with very powerful functions of analysis and reporting. The analysis reports produced by CRM tools help the customer success team understand the meaning of the collected data and how can it be utilized. The analysis report of the tool provides valuable insights into customer behavior, trends, customer satisfaction level, etc. This allows the business to gauge the effectiveness of its customer success strategies.
The entire process of customer success includes many boring and repetitive tasks. CRM system allows the automation of such repetitive tasks so that the human workforce is free to use their creativity in planning something better. Without automation, the entire process of customer success can be very time-consuming, ineffective, and draining for the customer success team. Automation of the workflow allows customer success managers to optimize their productivity and the effectiveness of their strategy without having to deal with unproductive repetitive tasks.
CRM systems have the features of providing alerts and notifications as soon as a significant event arrives or a change in customer behavior is noted. This empowers the customer success team to take prompt action and provide assistance to customers as and when required. As the team is nudged to get on its feet as soon as the customer shows any signs of dissatisfaction or disengagement the rate of churn can be significantly reduced.
Businesses that do not have a proper CRM system in place normally have sales, marketing, and support teams working in silos. Every department keeps on working for customer satisfaction at their individual level without any coordination. This non-coordination affects the customers as well; they may get different answers from different departments and sometimes no department adheres to the request or need of the customer. A CRM system is a very good tool that breaks the silos and empowers different departments to work together for a unified goal – customer success.
As discussed above, Salesforce and other CRM tools are not designed for customer success management, and they are very helpful in the process. But, like any other tools and application, they have certain inherent limitations. Let us discuss the struggles of using Salesforce or other CRM tools for customer success.
CRM tools provide a huge bundle of functionalities relating to the collection and management of customer data and then further utilizing it for personalizing customer interaction. The more the functionality of a tool the more complex it becomes. And, this is very true for CRM tools.
The extensive range of features provided by the tool makes it complex and tough to interact with. The whole process can be challenging, especially for businesses that do not have a dedicated CRM team. Configuration as well as integration of CRM with the existing business process may require hiring a CRM expert.
We already know that CRM tools collect customer data from all sources to help businesses formulate targeted business approaches for different types of customers. This process of collecting data is important but it can also cause
Almost every business today, share multiple touch points with their customer including website, emails, phone calls, and social media. The huge amount of data collected through all these sources can become overwhelming in no time. If a company does not have a clear data management strategy managing and utilizing the data can become very challenging. Collecting data from multiple sources can also result in data duplication affecting the strategies based upon it.
One of the greatest challenges for any new-age tools and technologies, including CRM, is employee skepticism. If employees are not taken on board while including CRM in business strategy or if they are not trained well for using it then the tool can remain underutilized.
Many employees see CRM as an additional burden and unless they are convinced otherwise they may choose to not use the CRM tool. It will be a waste of resources for any business that fails to effectively leverage the benefit of CRM tools because of the skepticism of employees.
A CRM system does not only fail because employees do not connect with it; many a time it fails because it can’t integrate with other tools and systems already operational in the business. Important business operation tools like marketing automation, analytics platform or support ticketing, etc. must integrate well with the CRM tool for it to function perfectly for the business.
A failure in the compatibility of CRM tools with other important business tools can lead to data discrepancies. This will directly hamper the performance of CRM and the business can fail to deliver personalized and timely customer experiences.
Another really big challenge of a CRM tool is the limitations in the options of customization. Every business is unique and has a unique set of customers. So, each business needs to customize its customer management as per its unique requirement. But, some CRM tools may be limited in their customization options causing practical difficulties for businesses.
Though most CRM tools provide customization options there are constraints in the form of additional charges, technical difficulties, and complex processes. So, it is important for businesses to consider their need for customization while picking up a CRM tool for them in the first place.
By now you must have understood that CRM is a very important system for a business. But, it also has some major challenges. So, how do we overcome those challenges?
As we said earlier, CRM alone is not sufficient.
So, what else do you need?
The most efficient way to overcome the challenges of a CRM system is to integrate it with Customer Success (CS) platform. This integration of the two tools greatly enhances an organization’s customer-centric efforts and takes the customer success strategy to new heights. Using CRM and CS platforms in tandem enhances customer success performance in the following ways –
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools come with many advantages for customer success but they also bring some challenges for the business. However, it must be noted that these challenges do not make CRM tools like Salesforce any less valuable. Businesses can ensure their long-term customer success by choosing the right CRM tool and integrating it with the appropriate CS platform. Clubbing these two tools together helps businesses overcome the challenges posed by CRM systems and enhance the overall customer success approach of the business.32
By utilizing the strengths of both tools together, businesses can attain their sustainable growth goals, reduce churning rate and build a reputation of being a customer-centric business.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published July 17, 2023, Updated August 18, 2023
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