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10 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a CRM System: Lagging Indicators

In "10 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a CRM System - Leading Indicators",

we discussed signs that you're outgrowing your current processing system and should start considering a CRM.

"Lagging Indicators" show that you've already outgrown your processes and are probably losing money because you're not keeping up with your current clients and prospects. Opportunities are slipping away and decisions are slow and not fully informed.

10 Signs You're Past-Due for CRM

Lagging Indicator 1:
You can’t easily see which of your employees are communicating with prospects and customers

Too much time and effort are wasted to get that 360-degree holistic view of key accounts - past conversations, past sales, current issues, future opportunities. Because contact notes are incomplete, you can’t trust the accuracy of communications.

Internally, you can gain a better understanding and your staff can be more efficient if you had a fully integrated and capable CRM system with these capabilities.

Externally, your customers will get a better experience. Imagine how it looks to customers when they get calls from different people at your business, none of whom know anything about the conversation they just had an hour ago with someone else on your team.

Your employees are supposed to coordinate customer contact by themselves somehow, but if you haven’t given them a tool to do that, your new sales prospects and long-time customers will both experience your business as disorganized and less than professional. Not the image you want, for sure.

A well-used CRM prevents the need for customers to repeat their story


Account timeline of historical conversations in bpm'online

Account activity timeline-bpmonline CRM

Lagging Indicator 2:  Information is scattered in multiple systems and disjointed operational processes. There must be a better way to do things.

Organizational expansion is a sign that you’ve grown from a startup or small business into a bona-fide medium-sized business. That’s great news, but it also means some growing pains. Say you’ve acquired a similar business. The sales team might now have access to an impressive CRM system that addresses the challenges they’ve been facing. And yet processes must be created and refined and the team trained to get the full advantage of it.

There is a better way. Bpm’online is one of the best solutions out there because it layers business process management on top of CRM with an interface that doesn’t require an IT expert to tailor to a business’s unique needs. With it, sales opportunities move faster and integrate efficiently with all aspects of customers’ buying process.


Lagging Indicator 3: Accounting is controlling the Sales system and process —and holding it back.

Your accounting system may even have grown into a full ERP system. But it is still accounting first, sales second, marketing third. Accounting/ERP systems are not designed to handle lead tracking and qualification, conversion of leads to account/contacts, integrated contact marketing, social media integration, sales opportunity management, forecasting, and all the related CRM business analytics.

Sales, marketing and continued business development depend on a CRM system that communicates seamlessly with the accounting system.


Lagging Indicator 4: Your sales team complains that the marketing team is screwing up sales by sending customers inappropriate, poorly timed promotional messages. They see your business contacts getting confused and frustrated.

It's not a good moment when a customer who's been in a dispute with you for a month gets a promotional email from your marketing team. Your marketing team could, with information in your CRM, weed out these types of situations.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know which interested prospects are ready for a phone call and follow-up conversation? Using segmented contact lists from a good CRM like bpm’online, marketing can help determine who is ready and when.

Lead analytics - bpm'online

Marketing analitics.png

Lagging Indicator 5: Competitors are winning.

CRM has been around for a while now. Technology advancements are continually improving its capabilities. Because your competitors have kept up with new strategies and are using CRM to its fullest, they are better prepared to connect quicker with potential sales opportunities and respond better to questions from the prospects. They actively communicate with prospects on social media.

Don’t forget, you’re competing for employees, too. When businesses provide platforms such as bpm’online that help sales reps be successful, sales reps feel valued, enjoy their work, and are more engaged and loyal.


Lagging Indicator 6: You're completely blind to potential revenue your team is about to close.  All you see is whether contracts get signed. 

Forecasting revenue is critical for your long-term planning. If you don't have a good view into all the work you have pending right now, how can you make good decisions about your business moving forward? 

Lagging KPIs (Key performance indicators) are helpful, but you really need leading KPIs. You at least need to be tracking the number of open opportunities, your closing ratio at each stage of the sales funnel, and the expected value of your pipeline. Bpm’online routinely provides these insights.

Sales pipeline -stage conversion rate


Invoice payment dynamics bpmonline


Lagging Indicator 7: Excel is sucking energy, and software skills are misplaced.

If you built a macro in Excel to keep track of your prospect data, which then needs to be enabled when the spreadsheet is opened, you've already wasted a ton of time. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. (A macro is a program you can set up to add data, format it, or move it around--if you know how to write the code correctly.)

But remember: Excel is a quickly outgrown flat-file system that’s not easily shareable with multiple users.

You’d be better off to invest in a CRM that’s a shareable, relational database.  It will be less stressful and save time and energy for everyone

Shared insights across bpm'online CRM from lead, to opportunity, to order and to service views

BPMonline Funnel capabilities.png


Lagging Indicator 8: You notice that no one in your company has communicated with your top clients for over 90 days or even 6 months.

Yikes. When it comes to retaining customers, distance does not make the heart grow fonder. They don’t have to do business with you again, and if they feel taken for granted, they won’t want to. A successful CRM strategy will manage the process of regular communication to nurture a continuous, meaningful, even memorable, positive experience with your brand.  



Lagging Indicator 9: You analyzed sales opportunities too late and find that the Northwest Sales Team is 34 percent below sales goals.

In this hypothetical, the effect will be a loss of $2 million in sales and the need to lay off five employees soon. If you had a CRM with a sales management dashboard, this information would have been obviously quicker, and you would have been able to plan and act to turn it around.


Lagging Indicator 10:Your business lost 18 percent of existing customers in the past year.

You need to figure out when the ball was dropped or who missed commitments, but it’s taking forever. And the huge unanswered question is: What were the actual real reasons these customers left?


Without a CRM, it takes too long to find the answers. With a CRM, analysis is at your fingertips sooner rather than later


Conclusion: CRM tools are powerful, but they're also personal.  Not everyone will suffer from all 10 leading and lagging symptoms. But if you recognize even one or two of them, it might be time to start doing CRM for real.

You deserve a system that works for you, not the other way around. One that will help you accelerate your transformation from good to great.

Contact us today to discuss what you need to get your business to the success you envision


Call:  (269)-445-3001  or email Dick@SuccessWithCRM.com 


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