In the lifecycle of every business, there comes a point where you need to take the leap and invest in business enabling technologies. But when is the right time?

Too often, we’re happy to invest in hiring another person – after all business is booming – but baulk at the cost of systems and processes to do things better and more efficiently with the people you already have.

Businesses who are looking to invest in a CRM for the first time, have one thing in common – they’re growing and feeling some pains and strains as a result.

In the end, the old adage rings true – what got you here, won’t get you there.

Here are some signs that it might to time to take the leap and get a CRM.

1. You’re suffering growing pains

When you’re starting out in business, you just make do. You find inventive ways to do things that work for the time being. But as you grow, the temporary fixes start to break under the pressure and that introduces risk into your business.

Maybe something has already gone spectacularly wrong, and you realise that you’re getting too big for cobbled together solutions.

2. You don’t have consistency in the way you work

Left to their own devices, your staff will find different ways of doing the same thing. For every sales legend who builds his own password-protected sales pipeline spreadsheet, there’s another who swears by post-it notes.

That’s where CRM comes into its own – taking your best practice process and applying it consistently, so you have full visibility of activity and pipeline. You need to know who your superstars are, and who’s taking an easy ride.

3. Spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore

Don’t feel guilty about your spreadsheet addiction. It’s common because it works … for a while.

For sure, we’ve seen some impressive Excel workarounds in our time, but they don’t scale well.  Excel is a great calculator, but it doesn’t win any awards as a database.

If your business has a spreadsheet addiction, you’re probably already feeling the pains of sharing, updating, reporting, corruption, broken formulas and data loss. Not to mention a lack of a single source of truth about your customers when you need it.

4. You’re losing track 

When you had a few staff and a trickle of customers, you used to know what everyone was working on and where it was at. But as your team grows, and your customer list gets longer you are struggling to keep up with who is doing what for whom. What’s more, all of your customer history is stored in your collective memory, and that can walk out the door any moment.

Often it’s your customers that suffer, getting poor service or being forgotten. CRM helps you to keep a track of your customers and prospects and the activities you need to do to service their needs. What’s more, it does it in an automated way, so nothing or no-one gets the accidental brush-off.

5. You don’t have oversight 

Without a system of tracking, you don’t have system of reporting. And without reports you can’t see what’s behind you, let alone what’s ahead. You’re flying blind.

With a CRM, you can easily and diligently track your sales pipeline and know when you need more staff or product before the deluge hits. You might not know this, but you can use CRM to track and manage any type of process in your business, not just sales. Imagine being able to pin-point bottle necks in your delivery process and direct resources to the right areas. Extend your solution even further to manage orders – even integrate with your finance system. It’s all possible and you can bite it off, bit by bit.

If you’ve been nodding your head while reading this, it’s time to get started on your CRM journey.