“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” – Albert Einstein

We’ve recently picked up on a CPA industry meme that CRM systems need to be small and simple, and that enterprise class CRM systems are too complex and don’t belong in the average CPA firm.  But at the risk of being cliché, in our experience, “it’s not that simple”.  Templeton Solutions has been delivering CRM solutions to CPAs and professional services firms since 1998.  We’ve seen a lot of success across our clients, with the most successful clients having two characteristics in common:  1) they knew what they were trying to accomplish and 2) they started their CRM initiative with a small, achievable scope.  Those not so successful had nothing to do with the class of their software.

With the availability of enterprise class software in the cloud, such as our CRM for Professionals™ in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online cloud, why would you not want to have access to enterprise capabilities when you need them?  Advanced capabilities drive adoption and improve client engagement.

Here are 8 great reasons you might want to reconsider a “Simple” CRM system:

1.)           Industry:  Is your Simple CRM designed and pre-configured for a business that sells a service, versus a product?  A product-oriented CRM in a CPA firm is not simple – it’s confusing and hurts adoption.  Many firms wind up re-implementing because they initially bought and customized a ‘vanilla’ CRM and it does not fully meet their needs (or it’s too expensive to get there).

2.)           Grow with your firm:  Does the architecture of your Simple CRM allow you to easily automate processes such as Applicant Tracking from website query, to interview scheduling to hiring?  How about Tax Workflow and due date tracking at no additional cost?  Industry specific solutions such as CRM for Professionals are regularly enhanced to address the evolving needs of CPAs and the professional service industry.

3.)           Data Analytics:  Does your Simple CRM allow for dashboards that show Segmented Top Clients by office location, affiliate, practice areas, billings?  Highlights cross-sell opportunities?

4.)           Referrals and Firm Connections™:  Does your Simple CRM track multiple referrals scenarios – i.e. is your referral a banker at Bank of America or is it Bank of America?  How do we know this referral? Have we served on a board with the primary decision maker?  Do multiple partners have relationships at the same account?

5.)           Mobile:  Does your Simple CRM allow you research a prospect or client, leave a meeting, speak into your phone and automatically update your CRM with an activity for your staff?  Mobile enablement is a real adoption driver.

6.)           Marketing Automation:  Does your Simple CRM offer pre-built integration with today’s leading marketing automation systems – Act-On, Constant Contact, HubSpot, Eloqua, MailChimp and Marketo,?  How does Simple CRM deliver and track the right content to the right client at the right time?

7.)           Voice of the Client:  Does your Simple CRM have built-in surveys that can be automatically sent to your client when work is completed and spot trends over time?

8.)           Social & Profiling:  Does your Simple CRM have a built in corporate data research service with 30,000+ data sources and built in sync of company and contact profiles, at no additional cost?

In summary, don’t let your quest for Simple set yourself up for failure and limit the value that CRM systems deliver to your professional services firm.  Spend more time on defining your objectives (and how to measure success!) and look for software solutions such as CRM for Professionals™ that are aligned with your industry and goals.