3 Common CRM Problems That Hold You Back [+ How to Fix Them]

Just having a CRM is not enough. Your sales team needs a CRM that supports them with the right data in the right place. It needs to be easy to access during their normal sales workflow, with all the information they need to pitch prospects and close deals. Unfortunately, not every CRM can rise to the challenge. Here are three common problems with small-business CRMs that could be holding you back.

1. Wrong Data

Bad data is worse than no data. That might seem counterintuitive. Wouldn’t knowing something about your prospects be better than knowing nothing about them? 

The major danger of bad information is that it can lead you to make the wrong decisions. Incorrect or inaccurate data can give the dangerous impression that you understand your market, when in fact you have no idea what’s happening. Bad data can cause you to invest in ineffective marketing, wasting time and money while your true prospects go unaddressed. 

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How to Fix Your Data

  • Imagine you could capture data by magic: What data would you want? Take that blue-sky list and see how that data can be collected in your CRM.
  • Look at your data collection and lead creation policies. What are they missing? Are you overemphasizing the wrong parts of the process while burying others?
  • Make sure your data is maintained in your database after addition, to ensure leads are kept up-to-date.
  • What data is your team adding to records, and why? Does that process still make sense in the context of your new plans?

2. Bad Formatting

All the right data in the world isn’t worth much if it’s trapped inside badly formatted CRM data. For example, if your prospects don’t have correctly formatted email addresses, you won’t be able to send them email messages through Mail Merge or any other Zoho App.

Poor formatting is also a sign that your team isn’t invested in using your CRM. Either your formatting rules are too complicated and tedious, or your team doesn’t see the value of using the CRM in the first place. If your team doesn’t buy into the CRM, it can’t improve their productivity, or grant the business-changing insights a properly-designed, comprehensive CRM can provide. 

How to Fix Bad Formatting

  • If your formatting errors are consistent, you can use an automated script to fix the mistakes as a batch.
  • For inconsistent errors, you might need a human review process. Often, a combination of scripted editing and human review is the best way to fix widespread invalid data
  • If data appears in the wrong fields, you can copy from one field to another within your CRM.

3. User Unfriendly

If your CRM is hard to use, you’ll be fighting against it every step of the way. While Zoho CRM can transform your business, a lower-quality CRM can easily become an obstacle instead of an assistant. Where a good CRM supercharges your team during prospecting, marketing, and customer support, a poor CRM does the exact opposite, sapping their energy and motivation. Imagine trying to boil water with a cigarette lighter, and you’ll get the idea. 

How to Fix User Unfriendliness:

  • Ask your staff what they dislike about the CRM: they should be all too happy to complain.
  • Based on issues elevated by your team, can your CRM be reorganized to make it easier to use? Can configurations or internal processes be modified to remove the stumbling blocks holding your team back?
  • If your CRM isn’t adequate for your needs, you’ll want to start exploring additional options. Zoho CRM is fast, powerful, and deeply customizable, making it the best CRM currently available.


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Lucas Sant'Anna


With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.