When choosing a CRM, consider not only the features offered. It's also important to consider how easily the system interfaces with the tools you already use, or what customer support the CRM vendor offers. Read on to find out what to look for when choosing a CRM.
The best CRM system
In general, CRM makes the job of reaching out to potential customers, closing new deals and building client relationships easier. It frees salespeople from paperwork and gives managers visibility into orders and business results. The best CRM is the one that best suits your needs and meets your expectations. Before you start wondering how to choose the best CRM, ask yourself, how will a CRM help me?
1. Map out the processes that the CRM system should facilitate
In order for a CRM system to improve and streamline your business processes, you first need to know how you have them set up. Go through your key processes in sales, but also in marketing or customer service. Get an overview of what works and what could be worked on.
The following questions will help you:
- What do the processes look like and what are the steps?
- Could anything be done more efficiently? Are they unnecessarily long, are you repeating them over and over again?
- What problems do you need to solve?
- Are you focusing on getting new leads, making appointments, closing new business and retaining customers?
- How do you envision your processes working and how will CRM improve them? How does CRM help you and what will you achieve with it?
Answer all questions honestly and get the opinions of salespeople and other colleagues concerned with CRM processes and implementation. For example, if you want to select the best CRM software for the entire company, consider whether the CRM will support the processes of all the teams that will be working with it.
When you know the difficulties that salespeople and other colleagues face, you can better select a CRM that will help them.
It will also greatly help you in your selection if you briefly define the goals you want to achieve with CRM, for example:
- getting more new clients,
- clarification of business data,
- increase conversion,
- simplifying and digitizing the work of traders
- or better targeting of marketing campaigns.
2. Clarify the requirements for the technical solution
You have two options for how CRM can work in your company:
You can have the CRM software installed on your own server. In addition to the server, you need sufficient data storage, security and experienced IT staff. This variant most often concerns large companies that have CRM as part of their ERP system.
The second and more common option is a cloud-based CRM that runs on the provider's servers. All data is also stored securely in it. You can access the CRM system via the internet from anywhere - even outside the office, from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You pay monthly fees and possibly additional costs for updates or feature extensions. System maintenance is taken care of by the provider, so you have it worry-free.
So when deciding on the best CRM software, consider both your company's technical capabilities and your ideas about how you want to work with the CRM system.
3. Think about the features you want
Most CRM systems basically offer the same thing. You can find contact management, keeping track of leads and what stage of the business process you are in for which business case in every CRM. If that's enough for you, you don't need to compare other additional functions at length that you won't even use.
Rather, focus on the gaps your processes suffer from that you uncovered in step one. Ask whether the CRM system's features will help you solve these problems, how it will support your key processes, and whether it will be easy to work with. Look for this information on the CRM website, but also ask the CRM vendor about it.
Customer records are part of every CRM. We have described in a separate article which data about clients is worth recording.
Also think about which tools you already use and which you need to integrate into your CRM system. CRM systems typically integrate with accounting and billing systems, mailing tools, calendars, e-commerce and warehouse software, or project management tools.
4. Find out how customer support works and try everything
Another important criterion when choosing a CRM is the customer support offered by the CRM provider. Think about whether you need employee training, a seminar or would appreciate video tutorials. And of course, make sure the supplier offers them.
You can also recognize a high-quality CRM by its simple interface, in which the sales team can quickly find their way around. Therefore, download the demo version and try working in CRM for yourself. For example, check the clarity of the calendar or the speed of creating a new client in the directory.
5. Consider your budget for CRM
After reading the previous points, you probably already have a clearer idea of what you expect from a CRM system. What remains is to choose a suitable solution and the last, no less important question, namely the question of finances.
Remember that the price of a CRM depends on the features as well as how many people will use the system or how much data you will store in it. Again, you can come back to which features you actually need, will use, and which will streamline your business processes. Also consider whether the CRM will actually be useful to all colleagues. Cloud CRMs in particular are most often charged by the number of users (licenses).
Also check every potential candidate for your future CRM for hidden fees. Most often they are:
- paid functions – some CRMs charge extra for specific functions,
- data limits – for example, a limited number of documents or contacts,
- fees for integrations with other tools,
- data import fees – for example if you are switching from another system,
- additional fees for better customer support.
6. View industry references
Once you have selected several suppliers, review their references. Search among them for companies that are in a similar field and similar in size to yours. They probably have similar needs, and if they're happy with the CRM, there's a better chance you'll be, too.
CRM vendors should also make it clear on the website which industries their tool is best suited for. They mostly have industry solutions pages on their website, where they specifically describe the benefits of the tool for real estate agents, financial advisors, small businesses, and the like. For example, they look like this.