Avoiding CRM Pitfalls

Although recent reports show that CRM software product purchases have increased by 13.7%, data also indicates that 47% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations. Given that CRM is designed to help streamline processes so your exhibition sales team can build stronger relationships that will improve the bottom line, you want to make sure that you’re in the 53% of successful CRM projects.

But, CRM software doesn’t just impact sales. A good package allows anyone on your team to access relevant client information in order to provide a seamless event experience – sales, marketing, show and conference managers, finance and accounting, all the way up to the executive level.

Weighing options

There are so many CRM packages available that it can be difficult to identify which one is right for your organization. Among the reasons cited for not utilizing CRM software is that users have to retrofit existing processes to the software, making it difficult to use. For show organizers in particular, the issues with general purpose CRM that’s designed to sell products, the definition of “event” is an appointment – literally a 15-minute phone call with a prospect is an event.

CRM that’s purpose-built for exhibitions and events understands that an event has a start and end date and time. It understands that there are tens, if not hundreds of “sub-events” such as sessions, social functions, appointments, etc. It allows you to assign a customer or opportunity to a booth, and assign that booth to a floor plan. In order to get this level of complexity into CRM platforms not designed specifically for your industry requires extensive, often costly and time consuming, customization.

Research indicates that, “As many as 85% of companies that buy CRM software to automate sales efforts don’t pick the right tools because they fail to define business objectives…” In order to select the right tools, buyers are encouraged to delve deeply into the needs of employees at all levels who may use the software. This discovery process will help you create an RFP, so you can ask various software providers the right questions in order to get the right fit.

Evaluating suppliers

Once you’ve figured out what data you need to capture in order to better serve customers and woo prospects, you’ll want to make sure your software provider can consistently meet your needs.

Important questions to ask are:

  • How many other clients from my industry do you have currently?
  • What do they typically spend on software customizations?
  • How long do those customizations typically take and how much do they cost?
  • When will someone familiar with my software be available to help if issues arise?
  • Do you offer user conferences or other ongoing training relating specifically to peers in my industry?

CRM software that’s purpose-built for a specific industry is typically built with best practices from that industry in mind. While general purpose CRM software is well-suited for products that follow a traditional sales funnel, they often require costly and time consuming customizations to be “event aware.”

For more information, download our white paper titled Why “One-Size-Fits-All CRM” Doesn’t Work for Event Organizers.

Have questions about general purpose vs. CRM purpose-built for exhibitions and events? Contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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