By Grace Lau
Choosing the right CRM software for business can feel like a pretty overwhelming task. With technology advancing at break-neck speed and with a multitude of options to choose from, how can you possibly choose the right one for your business?
Every business owner knows that a quality CRM system can drive enormous business growth, whether you are working from home or on-site. From centralizing customer data to providing live updates, CRM software for business offers a variety of invaluable features and applications. And, of course, with the arrival of CRM mobile apps, managing business processes has never been more convenient. It’s no surprise, then, that businesses of all sizes are turning to CRM systems to help them reach ever higher levels of success.
But here’s the problem…
Many company owners are unaware that choosing CRM software for business can be risky territory if you do not plan meticulously beforehand. If you do not sketch out a proper road map, your implementation strategy is less likely to work out and you risk losing money on your investment
Nobody intentionally makes the wrong decision for their business; mistakes are usually due to a lack of adequate knowledge. That’s why we are here to help. We have put together eight things you need to consider when choosing CRM software for business.
So, without further ado…
1. Identify your needs
You know that every business needs CRM software, but do you know why your business needs it? Instead of “jumping on the bandwagon” and investing in CRM software because “everyone else is doing it”, look at the specific things you want your CRM to do for your business.
A good idea is to write down the problems you would like your CRM to solve (such as improving customer analytics or creating a hunt group to ensure your business never misses a call) and then define the features you would like in your CRM. Has a specific issue sparked the need for it? Is there a recurring problem you’re seeking to alleviate? Are your competitors able to provide a service that you are not?
Highlighting your business problems will better enable you to achieve a successful CRM implementation and you will be better prepared to choose the most suitable software to meet your needs.
2. Get everyone involved
Implementing CRM software for business is a major change for any organization. Therefore, it’s essential to get everyone involved in the transition.
No matter how good the CRM is, it will be essentially useless without the right people using it. Involving your top management teams is likely to improve the credibility of your CRM systems, making it easier for your employees to comply.
Also, staff who are going to use the CRM should have a say in its selection. The more ownership your employees have in the selection of your CRM system, the more likely they are to adopt it and encourage their workmates to adopt it as well.
3. Set a budget
Quite often, the failure of CRM implementation can be attributed to a lack of proper budgeting on the part of the business. Implementing CRM software for business will substantially impact the performance of your organization, so you should carefully invest time and resources in outlining your budget.
Bear in mind that every CRM vendor is going to try and convince you that their system is right for you and that every penny over budget you spend is going to be worth it. From monthly to yearly subscriptions, software vendors are likely to present you with a variety of attractive solutions to entice you into parting with your cash.
The truth is, every CRM has its strengths and weaknesses. When searching for vendors, you should aim to find a solution that suits your budget without requiring you to compromise on the functionality of the CRM. The bottom line is that you’ll need to decide which CRM works best for your business, instead of allowing a vendor to determine your fate.
4. Determine product mobility
How we work has changed drastically over the past few years and there’s no getting away from the fact that mobility is key in today’s world. Whether you work on-site, remotely, or you run a hybrid organization, your revenue team will use a plethora of devices, phones to tablets to laptops, to access your new CRM system.
When looking for CRM software for business, make sure you check that it can be accessed using a variety of web-enabled devices. The range of manufacturers and service providers available means that there is a lot of variation to think about and plan for. You should also check that your chosen platform will be updated regularly and will remain compatible with new technology such as the best conference call services.
In short, the more mobile-friendly your CRM software is, the better it will serve your staff and business. For example, Copper CRM is a good option and this SmallBusiness HQ detail review guide on Copper CRM can help you get complete information about this CRM.
5. Check for workflows/approvals
Project management is a crucial aspect of any CRM. Many high-quality CRM systems come with built-in workflows and checkmark-style approvals that help with organization and task management. However, the degree to which these management tools can be customized can vary from software to software, so if you require a specific workflow step or approval process, check that this is achievable with the application you choose.
You should also ask about an automation software test to ensure the CRM meets your strict requirements.
6. Ask for a product demo
What would you do if you were considering using IP fax in your business? You’d ask for a demo! What about a new app or call-handling system? Again, you would ask for a demo! (You can see where we are going with this!)
The fact is, everything looks good on paper, but that’s not enough. Once you’ve shortlisted the best options, call the vendors and ask for a presentation that demonstrates the features and functionality of the CRM software.
This is your opportunity to really test and try out the CRM system and see how its strengths accommodate your business needs. Quite often, people request a CRM demo only to give it a brief overview before assuming it will work. Go the extra mile; take a little extra time at this point and we guarantee you will have saved yourself time and hassle in the long run.
It’s also a good idea to ask the vendor about the deployment methods and the time it will take to set up the CRM system. You should also find out about the training and support services available. After all, the sooner your employees are armed with the skill set needed to use the CRM system, the better!
7. Check for customization capabilities
When choosing CRM software for business, there’s one issue you will have to face up to–even the best, most out of this world, out-of-the-box solution will never be robust enough to connect with every department of your business. For you to get a 360-degree customer view, your CRM will need to be integrated with any third-party apps you use, such as social media, online web portals, accounting, and e-commerce. Before “signing on the dotted line” for that all-singing, all-dancing CRM software, make sure you check that its functionality can be easily extended through integrations and customizations.
8. Clear up any ambiguity
As a business owner, you are probably aware that hasty decisions tend to backfire. When investing in CRM software for your business, you should be free of even the most minute speck of doubt that the choice you are making is the right choice for you and your business. If not, you need to go back to the drawing board.
While you’ll be eager to reap the benefits of a CRM system as soon as possible, you should hold off making your final decision until you are fully convinced of how specific software can help you to achieve your business goals and objectives.
It’s your business
So there you have them–eight super important things you should consider when choosing CRM software for your business. Implementing a CRM system in your organization can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make for your company. The more you research and plan to find a CRM that suits your requirements, the more you can use its features to help you achieve your business needs.
Remember: it’s your business, and making the right choice is important to its success. Ask questions, take the time to research, and be ruthless with your decision making.
About the Author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration with powerful features such as Dialpad call forwarding. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.