Choosing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for your business can feel pretty overwhelming. With so many options to choose from, each with a different array of tools and features, how can you possibly identify the right one for your business?
We’re here to help! When selecting a new CRM for your business, there are certain things to consider when creating your pros and cons lists for each CRM. If you’re ready to choose a CRM for your business, here are 8 things to consider as you dive into the many CRM options out there. After reading this article, you’ll feel prepared to start your CRM search and knowledgeable on how to identify which one fits your needs.
1. Identify Your Goals
It is important that you understand what problem you are trying to solve with a CRM. Put the following goals in order of importance to your business to determine which CRM tool will be the most effective:
- Track Leads and Lead Activity
- Track Customer Base
- Track Opportunities and Closing Rates
- Offer Connectivity Between Teams
- Manage Relationships
- Generate Customized Reporting
- Organize Business Operations
- Increase Profitability
- Increase Productivity
2. Understand the Implementation
This component is key. Any time you are changing or introducing new software, there is going to be a period of implementation. In some cases, you may need an outside consultant or a staff person who is heading up the deployment. In either case, there is going to be a period of training and testing where the system bugs will be worked out and best practices will be established.
So even if there are no external implementation costs, there are still costs associated with educating your team on the system and uploading your data into the new platform. Implementation can incur substantial costs and will take time away from your teams’ current obligations, so do not underestimate the impact of implementation.
3. Prepare For User Adoption
No matter which system you choose, there will be members of your team who resist the change. In some cases, your sales team may feel threatened. This is a common complaint among salespeople, as they believe that by giving up their customers’ contact information, they are putting their positions at risk.
The key here is to put your salespeople at ease and acknowledge that they are not at risk for losing or sharing their customers with others, since they own the personal relationship with the client. Involving your sales team in your CRM selection process to get their buy in and keeping them involved all the way through the process helps associates feel less threatened by a new system.
Pro Tip: The more ownership your employees have in the selection of a new tool, the more likely they are to adopt it and help their colleagues adopt it as well.
4. Understand Product Mobility
Mobility is key in today’s world. Your sales team will most likely be mobile and will use a plethora of devices, from phones to tablets to laptops, to access your new CRM system. Look for a tool that can be accessed using a variety of web-enabled devices. Remember that most sales people are early adopters of technology, so you will want a platform that will be updated regularly and remain current with new technology.
5. Layout Your Processes
CRM tools are created with a multitude of business processes in mind. Everyone’s processes are different. That is not a bad thing; this is what differentiates you from your competitors. It is important that your CRM is flexible enough to handle your processes. Likewise, you want a CRM that will grow with your business and adapt to your changing processes without having to be replaced.
6. Review Compatibility With Current Software
While compatibility with multiple systems is becoming less of an issue as more and more applications are connected through APIs, you still want to check to ensure that the CRM system you choose can interface with other applications you already have in place. If you need help connecting all of your systems through APIs, look for a third-party platform that can integrate your systems to streamline your data organization.
Learn More: What is an API?
7. Dig Into the Product Demo
Make sure that you get to access a product demonstration and, most importantly, that you use the demo. Try to break the demo. This is your chance to really test the system and see its strengths and weaknesses for your business’s needs. Too many times, people will request a product demo only to give it a brief glance before assuming it will work. Taking a little extra time at this point will save you time in the long run.
8. Ask About Reporting Capabilities
While all the functionality of a CRM is nice, it is the product’s reporting capabilities that can really help you surpass your competition. The ability to customize reports based on your unique data will showcase your wins, losses, and opportunities for improvement. You may think your processes are effective, but your data may show you otherwise. Ensuring your sales team is not afraid to input correct customer data becomes very powerful in determining the proper products, services, pricing, and delivery requirements for your business.
Read Next: 7 Things to Consider Before Buying Software
Choosing the correct CRM for your business is an important and sometimes lengthy process. The considerations above can help guide your decision making as you start your CRM research. You want to make sure you choose the best system for your business model, as the right CRM software will be instrumental in the growth of your company.