Choosing the right CRM software for your company is like picking out the ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner. You need the features and the functionality to work for not just you but for your whole team.
Contacts, tasks, sales, marketing management, and customer experience- these are only a small part of the myriad of things to consider when choosing the right CRM platform.
Before we pick the right CRM for you, let’s first understand what CRM is.
What is CRM Software?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology that manages all the relationships and interactions of contacts within a business. The goal is simple: strengthen relationships between your company and your customers in a way that is organized, optimized, and automated.
Roles of CRM Software
- To improve lead generation
- To increase the efficiency of cross-selling and upselling
- To avoid mundane tasks and errors
- To report on tracking and analysis
- To build customer relationships
- Multi-channel marketing
- Social branding
- Data-driven marketing
It can be a difficult task to choose the right CRM for your company. Although CRM works toward the same goal, each one is unique in forms of features, prices, and customization properties. That’s a lot of information to go through! So, we’ve established a five-step method to narrow down the CRM search.
Narrow Down your CRM Search in 8 Steps
Specify your business goals
Whether you’re looking to completely give your company’s structure a makeover or simply improve your sales pipeline, prioritization is key. When it comes to a list of goals, some say, “do the easiest thing first.” We say, “do the most important thing first.”
Once you identify the goals of your company, you can then structure your business plan and use a CRM that works for you. CRM should always work for you, not the other way around. That’s why there are so many solutions on the market because they each have something unique about them.
For example, if you’re looking to focus on your sales pipeline, Pipedrive is your answer. If you’re looking for a super easy interface with seriously skilled automation, HubSpot is king. Maybe you want all the bells and whistles to a CRM, meaning the more features, the better. If so, ACT! CRM is what you’re looking for.
Identify top issues
If you’re looking for a CRM to fit your company’s structure, you must identify the issues you’re having. In doing so, you can find a CRM that is known for resolving all of your most pressing issues. Below are some examples of the top reasons why companies choose to change their CRM. If any of them seem familiar to you, then organization and streamlined communication are just two of so many functions of CRM.
Common Issues of CRM
- Difficulty in finding customer data
- Poor client communication
- Inability to create or retain loyal customers
- The long or extended sales cycle
- Difficulty in managing agent schedules
- Poor visibility into agent performance
Understand the 3 Types of CRM
By understanding the 3 different types of CRM solutions, you’ll understand the foundation of each one. Each type of CRM serves a certain purpose, so this is a great way to narrow down your search.
Operational CRM is a framework for customer support. This form of CRM stands to take care of customer needs and connects through sales, marketing, and service departments.
Analytical CRM uses advanced techniques for customer data analysis to predict and anticipate customer behavior. Techniques include pattern recognition and data collection to process and analyze customer data. This type of CRM provides in-depth insight into purchasing habits and trends, yielding the ability to create specific, targeted offers.
Collaborative CRM is just as it sounds- it’s CRM in the form of marketing, sales, and service departments sharing information in one place. This information focuses on customer interaction and can be shared with all departments. It’s also known as the exchange of critical customer information with both internal and external stakeholders to create more forthright campaigns and promotions.
Compare CRM features with your business requirements
Typically, this is the part that requires extra time. A feature palette is what defines the uniqueness of a CRM solution.
Lead management and sales
CRM is capable of cultivating opportunities in the sales pipeline, from lead generation to deals closed. Several CRMs allow users to generate and store quotes for purchases and monitor invoices.
Most CRM applications including email templates, digital marketing systems, SMS messaging, and simple project management software with built-in marketing tools.
Some CRMs have built-in e-commerce features, while others allow easy integration of e-commerce, either through accessing the API or by the use of a third-party application. It just depends on which one you want to go with. Built-in is easier, but may not have the applications you want. API/third-party application takes a bit longer but is tailored to your needs.
Reports and dashboards
Most CRM software provides certain monitoring tools and many higher-end devices feature interactive live dashboards. For example, HubSpot’s dashboard is easy to analyze, customizable, and gives you a full view of what goals you’re measuring.
Workflows and approvals
Project management is an essential feature of any CRM. Most high-quality CRMs have built-in workflows and approvals in the checkmark-style that assist with the management and coordination of tasks.
Have a discussion with your sales team
The person in charge of sales is also the person who plays the role of the decision-maker. As a sales team will be using CRM the most, it might be good to tell your team about possible software changes. Get their opinion on the current CRM, likes, dislikes, and ask how their work ethic would improve with a new CRM.
Adopting a CRM must be unanimous and supported by all team members in order for data to be organized and accurate. So, not only would you get the best CRM solution for your needs, but your team can have a happy consensus and improve their customer relationships.
Read the reviews
When researching new CRMs, be sure to check G2 Crowd, Capterra, or BestVendor.
G2Crowd provides comparisons from real people with real experiences. For example, if you’re trying to compare HubSpot CRM with other CRM systems, you can see what users have to say about each of them, compare functionality, and so on. Most importantly, you’ll be able to find out about usability and customer support; essentially, the things that are most important to you.
How much does CRM software cost? It’s a vital question. It depends on the subscription service and methods of delivery, but cloud-based CRMs have become very affordable.
The cost of software is a key consideration for SMBs. So many start with free CRM software to help start their business and then move to paid subscriptions as operations increase.
Get a consultation
When you get to speak with the vendor’s customer service or sales staff, ask them about the things you didn’t find or perhaps didn’t like in your research. Tell them about your unique needs, how you want your data structured, and ask for specific examples on how the CRM will accommodate all the above.
The Final Thought
CRM software is instrumental in your company’s development and customer retention. We learned that one size never fits all, and finding the right CRM for your business takes research.
However, by going through these steps, you can narrow down your search ten-fold and look for the features that match your goals and resolve your issues. Using this information to find the perfect CRM, Check out our article on The Best Free CRMs of 2020.