5 CRM Best Practices for Better Seat Management

Is your CRM getting out of budget? In this post, we share 5 CRM best practices that will help you improve seat management and reduce tool redundancy.

December 20, 2022


Your CRM is your sales team’s operational hub. It centralizes customer data and allows reps to keep track of leads, deals, and pipeline health. Plus, if implemented correctly, your CRM can also boost productivity across your marketing & customer success teams. 

However, during this economic downturn, you may be tempted to reduce your CRM costs. But wait! You’ll want to read this before you make any decisions that could hurt your ability to serve your customers. 

In this post, we’ll dive into how to manage your CRM cost-effectively while giving your sales team all the tools they need to succeed.

We’ll cover:

  • What’s a CRM strategy and why you should have one
  • Why CRM seat management can be problematic
  • 5 best practices for better seat management

Ready? Let’s get started!

It All Begins with a Solid CRM Strategy

CRMs are essential for building a high-performing sales team. Without a CRM, lead data gets lost, deals become cold, and your team can’t coordinate their work.

Additionally, some CRMs include great features that help sales teams to:

  • Qualify and prioritize opportunities
  • Automate outreach

However, if you’re not getting value out of your current CRM, the solution may not be to give up on CRMs altogether. You just need a strategy. 

What Is a CRM Strategy?

A CRM strategy is a business plan that covers:

  • What your team needs out of your CRM
  • Who will have access to the CRM and how
  • How your CRM will fit into your sales & marketing workflow

Having a good CRM strategy results in:

  • Knowing which CRM features are essential to you and your team
  • Understanding what concrete value a CRM provides for you
  • Efficient seat management

Make Sure Your CRM Works for You

Before revising your seat management, make sure you understand what role your CRM plays in your strategy. Evaluate whether your team’s needs are being met. For instance, if you need to centralize customer communications across dozens of channels, and your CRM doesn’t integrate with most of them, you may end up feeling like you’re overpaying for a kanban.

CRM Seat Management Challenges

CRM seat management can be challenging for growing startups. But why?

That’s because most startups struggle to:

  • Manage CRM access and deal ownership as their team changes
  • Decide who should have access to the CRM and why
  • Get their sales team fully onboard with their CRM

Let’s dig deeper.

Your Sales Team Will Change: How Will You Manage It?

Whether you're preparing to expand your sales efforts next year or to reduce your team, your CRM seat count will be affected.

Are you ready to manage those changes? Here are a few relevant questions you should ask yourself (and your team):

  • Do you have a streamlined process for onboarding and offboarding your users? 
  • Have you considered the costs of onboarding and training each new team member? 
  • How long will it take for a sales representative to access the deals and contacts of a recently offboarded colleague? What should happen during this transition?

Preventing Tool Redundancy

As your tech stack grows, it's very common to discover redundant tools. Or, in other words, tools that serve similar or sometimes the exact same purpose.

Tool redundancy has two clear downsides:

  • You're paying for the same thing twice
  • It prevents your team from having consistent and easily trackable processes

In some cases, your CRM may include features that make some of your other tools redundant. For instance, let's say you use Hunter for email validation and bulk mailing, and you also use Copper as your CRM. And your Copper plan includes a bulk mailing feature. In that case, what should you do?

If it's the same team using both tools, we’d recommend you:

  • Compare both tools’ bulk mailing features
  • Consider which tool you prefer
  • Evaluate potential integrations and how they'd affect your workflow
  • Consider downgrading one of your subscriptions

But in some cases, CRMs are so full-featured that they include functionalities for marketing or other areas of your business. In those cases, you may find that you're paying for CRM seats for your marketing team, so they can enjoy your CRM's marketing features - but they're paying for another, better tool at the same time. .

Adoption Is Always Complicated

Is your sales team actually using your CRM? If the answer is “no”, you’re not alone. According to stats compiled by CRM.org:

  • 50% of sales managers report that CRMs are difficult to implement
  • Less than 40% of companies have full-scale CRM adoption

In most cases, this lack of team buy-in is the consequence of:

  • Choosing a CRM with a steep learning curve
  • Not offering proper training to your team
  • Choosing a CRM that lacks the features your team actually needs

5 CRM Best Practices for Better Seat Management

In this section, we’ll share 5 best practices you should implement to improve your seat management.

These tips will help you understand how your team uses your CRM and shave off any unnecessary costs.

We recommend you:

  • Decide which of your teams need CRM seats
  • Get one seat per sales representative
  • Monitor usage consistently 
  • Find out which CRM features your team is actually using
  • Calculate your CAC and assess if CRM costs are really significant

Let’s take a closer look!

Decide Who Needs a Paid Seat (and Who Doesn’t)

Your CRM may not be just for your sales team. At some companies, customer service, marketing, and even accounting teams collaborate through a CRM.

But you don’t have to onboard your entire company to your CRM. For example, chances are that your customer support team already has its own system for connecting with customers and managing tickets, such as ZenDesk or Intercom.

So, getting Salesforce seats for that team may muddle their workflow instead of helping them. In these types of cases, it’s best to integrate the tools your team is already using, so your CRM can gather that data. But buying more CRM seats may not make a difference.

On the other hand, if you’re using a CRM such as Hubspot, which also includes email and social media marketing features, you’ll have to decide whether they’re right for your marketing team. Maybe they already have the tools they need, and you just have to integrate them with your CRM.

Chat with your customer support and marketing teams. Together, assess the impact that a CRM would have on their day-to-day work. Would it be a must, a nice-to-have, or a nuisance?

Get One Seat per Sales Representative

Especially if your sales team’s small, it may be tempting to have representatives sharing a seat. But allowing multiple people to share a single seat can lead to confusion as to who is responsible for what data and what tasks.

Sharing seats also creates a situation where team members are competing to access the same information and resources. This may lead to lost opportunities and unclear processes.

Furthermore, sharing seats will make it difficult to monitor performance and activity on shared accounts. This way, the performance of your individual sales representatives will become harder to track.

Monitor Usage

CRM adoption is notably complicated. So, it's key to monitor if your sales representatives are actually using your CRM.

There are many ways to do it. One is by simply asking them. Stay connected with your sales team (or its leaders), and ask about CRM adoption. Let them know that the CRM should make their lives simpler and remain open to feedback.

Having full visibility into who should be using your CRM is also great for monitoring adoption. With Cledara, you can easily visualize how many CRM seats you currently have. Reach out to those team members and inquire about whether the platform's working for them. 

If there are team members who haven't taken advantage of your CRM yet, you can:

  • Survey them and look for common barriers to adoption
  • Connect with management and plan some training
  • Reassess whether the CRM has the features the team needs

If the inactive seats belong to members of your marketing or customer support teams, consider whether they need CRM seats in the first place.

Calculate your CAC & Compare CRM Costs to Other Spending

You may be reviewing your CRM spending because you fear that it’s significantly contributing to your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). According to a 2014 Nucleus study, CRMs have an average ROI of $8.71 per dollar spent. Additionally, using a CRM has a positive impact on conversion rates and costs:

  • Using a CRM reduces sales labor costs by 40%
  • Teams using a CRM are 65% more likely to hit sales quotas than teams that don’t

So, cutting CRM spending isn't something to be taken lightly. If you think your sales budget will get out of control, it's time to recalculate your CAC. Maybe your CRM spending isn't as high as you think, and there are other costs you can cut. 

Find out Which CRM Features Your Team’s Actually Using

Aside from reducing your CRM seats, you may want to consider replacing your current CRM with something simpler.

Some CRMs aspire to centralize many business processes, not just sales. This often results in interfaces that are hard for sales teams to navigate. A confusing interface with too many bells and whistles may turn using your CRM into a stressful experience. And these “all-in-1” tools are usually more expensive than their minimalistic counterparts. 

Are your salespeople using most of the features your CRM has to offer? If not, it may be time to either:

  • Offer your team some extra training 
  • Downgrade to a simpler (and more cost-effective) option

Streamline your CRM Seat Management with Cledara

In this post, we shared some CRM best practices that will help you optimize your spending. Your CRM can make your sales process more transparent and trackable, and empower your team to close more deals. But, without a solid strategy, your CRM can become a very expensive and complex thing that nobody really uses.

Do you know how many CRM seats your team’s currently paying for? Are there any redundant tools in your sales stack? 

With Cledara, you can:

  • Visualize all your software subscriptions
  • Monitor software spending
  • Manage your team’s access to the tools they need

All that and more, from a single platform! Help your teams make the most of their software! Book a demo and discover Cledara today.

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