CRM Audit: 6 warning signs that your CRM might be failing

A quick audit of your current CRM system can highlight some tell-tale signs that your CRM system is not performing as it should. If your system is not being used correctly then sales revenues may drop and overall customer satisfaction will fall. To highlight any potential issues, ask yourself these six questions:

1. Do senior management use the CRM system?

If senior management are not getting the information they require directly from the CRM system then you may be heading for problems. Once data is created outside of the system (e.g. in a spreadsheet) then there is a danger that other users will start to maintain their data outside of the system. There is also a knock-on effect, in that users who are resistant to using the system have an excuse not to use the system e.g. “If the MD doesn’t use it, then why should I use it?”. It is important that senior managers lead by example.

2. Does your CRM have high user adoption?

What percentage of users regularly use the system? To find out, your CRM should allow you to report on activity levels by users (e.g. history items recorded this month). Alternatively, if you have a large number of users, then your vendor may be able to supply you with the last login dates for each user. This will give you an immediate view of problem users who have ceased to use the product. You should speak to those users to try and identify and resolve any issues. An added bonus of this process is that you could reduce your annual licensing requirements and therefore save some money if some licences are no longer required.

3. Is useful data being recorded in the CRM system?

Log in to the system and pick a number of sales leads or support tickets at random from various users. Review the data and notes that have been recorded. In particular, look at leads that have been closed off as ‘Junk’ or ‘No Opportunity’, these are often the first records to be closed off without any details being recorded. Similarly, for support tickets, check those that have been closed off as ‘User Error’ or ‘No Fault Found’, sometimes this can indicate a lack of effort to identify the problem or just resistance to maintaining proper records.

4. Are the correct fields being used?

Following on from the previous item, you should check records to see if data is being kept in the correct fields. You may find spurious notes in the wrong fields, typically because the user wasn’t sure where else to record the information. This can cause problems with your reports giving you incorrect results and may also cause problems when you export data to other systems. If you do find any issues, it may be necessary to customise the screens and migrate the data into the correct fields. Your CRM vendor should be able to help you with this.

5. Are win rates are falling?

If your sales team stop using the CRM on a daily basis then there is a danger that some sales leads will not be followed up and opportunities to generate sales revenue will be missed. Compare closure rates, month on month, to see if the average percentage of leads won is declining. If so, review the dead leads to see if useful records are being kept. Gaps in the activity timeline or a number of leads being closed off in quick succession could indicate that little attempt has been made to manage and progress the leads through the CRM.

6. Are fix times falling?

If your support team stop using the CRM on a daily basis then there is a danger that service levels will fall and customer satisfaction will drop. Compare the average time to fix an incident, month on month, to see if the tickets are taking longer to be resolved. If so, it may be worth reviewing the closed tickets to see whether records are being kept in prompt and diligent fashion. If you spot large gaps in the timeline of a ticket or if tickets are being closed off with no resolution recorded then this needs to be addressed.


There are a variety reasons why CRM projects fail and a quick CRM audit may highlight some of the symptoms. If you spot any issues then you should act quickly to address them before they become ingrained in the day-to-day working practices.

Date: 18th June 2013

Author: Duncan Gillingwater

Posted in CRM