The Essential Shift From Legacy to Modern CRM Systems

crm systems
Outdated CRM systems will hinder business growth and the quality of customer experiences. The move toward modern CRM platforms that emphasize long-term relationship building and streamlined prospect conversion is crucial in today's business climate.

In general, CRM is for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with existing and prospective customers. Its goal is to improve relationships by helping a business stay connected to its customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

However, not all customer relationship management platforms are created equal, and many businesses that use them do not know the difference between legacy and modern CRM.

Legacy or traditional CRM software focuses on nurturing existing customer relationships. It can include technology aging over 25 years old, preventing companies from growing and creating optimal customer experiences.

Modern or automated CRM focuses on retaining existing customers, converting prospects easily, and building long-term relationships with them.

Insightly created the Modern CRM Checklist to help companies identify key capabilities missing from their existing software that is needed to stay competitive. Its May 16 release follows a recent Insightly survey that found that 79% of companies are dissatisfied with their current CRM software.

The Insightly checklist helps companies asses their software platforms and understand how CRM software should evolve with customers’ changing needs. Firms can use it to measure their needs for features, including mobile access, implementation, customization, cost, security, and more.

Businesses today must meet high-demanding customer expectations to remain competitive. This goal requires a seamless, personalized experience, which is impossible with legacy CRMs, according to Insightly.

“Many companies are still using outdated CRM systems and are overpaying for them, yet still not getting what they need. This hinders their ability to drive growth or to provide superior customer experiences,” said Insightly CEO Anthony Smith.

8 Features for Better CRM

Smith noted that for companies to address customer needs adequately, their CRM platforms should incorporate all eight of these features:

  • Predictable and low cost: Legacy CRMs have high initial fees and many hidden costs, which can lead to companies spending five times more than the software itself.
  • Scalable and flexible: Legacy CRMs are limited in their scope as business size and needs change. Modern CRMs do the opposite with platforms that are flexible and scalable.
  • Customization options at a low cost: No one CRM fits all anymore. A modern CRM has options to customize that are simple and included in the initial fee without requiring costly add-ons or time-consuming additional training.
  • Mobile access: Having on-the-go access to CRM is critical. Employees must be able to pull up their pipeline from anywhere at the State of Marketing Automation Trend report anytime.
  • Easy implementation regardless of location or department: Today’s faster business pace leaves little time for yesteryear’s complicated, time-consuming CRM software training. Remote working makes in-person training non-viable. A modern CRM takes only four-to-eight weeks to implement. Legacy CRMs, on the other hand, take up to six-to-12 months.
  • Easy integration with other daily tools: Old CRMs require exported data to other internal business tools. A modern CRM should integrate easily with your other business tools.
  • Additional applications available: Modern CRMs have add-on options such as marketing automation or customer service applications with low or no-code integrations. These applications are all part of a unified platform and shared database, so information flows freely among teams.
  • Security as a top priority: A main difference between legacy and modern CRMs is the security feature. When legacy CRMs were created, this was not much of an issue. Retrofitting older systems is difficult. Modern CRMs use features such as SOC 2 Type II certification, two-factor authentication, encryption of data in transit and at rest, HIPAA and GDPR compliance, and EU-U.S. Privacy Shield to keep data secure and protect customers.

State of Marketing Automation Report Highlights

A big takeaway from Insightly’s 2023 State of Marketing Survey is how an overwhelming majority of marketers (88%) surveyed said they currently do not fully automate their customer journey. Only 12% do, according to Insightly CMO Chip House.

“So very few professionals have it all done, and most of us are still working towards that goal. The message here is that most folks have it as a work in progress, which is OK. Just getting started on automating your journeys is key,” he told CRM Buyer.

Also, email marketing is still a top priority for users of marketing automation platforms. Marketers spend time and dollars on those campaigns, followed by social media, content marketing, and paid ads.

Automation allows marketers to gauge the success of each delivery method and campaign with actionable insights that would otherwise be unavailable or would be siloed and harder to analyze, he added.

Marketing Automation Budgets Rising

In light of the current global economy, House finds it interesting that only 9% of respondents said that their budget for marketing automation would be decreasing. Twice as many, 21%, noted it as being the same. An overwhelming 70% reported increases in their marketing automation budgets for 2023.

“This shows the power that marketing automation gives marketers, helping them do more with less, which is more vital than ever right now,” said House.

Insightly’s CMO was also surprised that only 27% of marketers surveyed reported that their marketing automation platform makes it easy to build effective customer journeys. Those journeys — also known as workflows, drip, or nurture campaigns — should be the core of any marketing automation platform.

House noted that leading platforms provide drag-and-drop journey-building capabilities and complex if/then abilities to optimize even complicated customer journeys.

Automation Tools Key To Growing Pipelines

The economy still causes a strain on many businesses as layoffs and consumers tighten their spending habits. Thus, according to House, marketing automation tools are critical to staying ahead of the competition, staying in touch with customers, and ultimately driving leads to generate revenue.

“We have seen firsthand how clients who implemented marketing automation have improved their customer journeys by creating a strong pipeline and communications flow. Some of our customers report a two-or-three-times increase in revenues after launching CRM and marketing automation together,” he observed.

This lets marketers easily share relevant information with customers, generate increased revenue, create brand loyalty, and give the key statistics necessary for tracking the success of campaigns. House said that companies of all sizes benefit by implementing strategic marketing tools that fit their needs.

Beyond that, automated CRM creates a seamless roadmap for sales and marketing teams to work together to convert more leads into deals. All information and data can be stored in one place, allowing any team member to know the key facts about a customer instantly.

“Not only does this save time and create efficiencies, but it allows teams to identify where their energy should be focused easily,” he added.

Modern CRM Creates Marketing Advantages

Marketers often are on small teams and must find ways to eliminate tasks and projects requiring a lot of manual input, and this is where automation comes into play.

“Automating these customer journeys and processes allows marketers to plan strategically and build high-quality campaigns that generate results, reduce human error, and effectively use data to customize a customer’s experience,” said House.

The bottom line is that marketing automation gives marketers the ability to do more with less, and it promotes increased revenue and cost savings.

As the world relies more on AI, ChatGPT, and other tools that make our lives more efficient, it makes perfect sense that companies not only want to do the same, House suggested.

They recognize the need for automation to stay competitive and relevant to their audiences. The more data companies have on their customers, the better they can utilize it for insightful decision-making that leads to faster growth.

Don’t Neglect Email, Either

Good ol’ email marketing is still a powerful tool and the most popular feature in a marketing automation platform by far, House asserted. We sometimes count out email by paying attention to newer tactics like social media, SEO, and SMS.

“But in reality, email gives marketers a huge bang for the buck. As marketing automation platforms continue to provide even more sophisticated email features and comprehensive metrics, I expect the power of email marketing to continue to grow,” he concluded.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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