10 Things to Consider When Choosing a CRM

How to choose a CRM system

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Choosing the right CRM requires aligning the features and packages of the software to your business requirements and business. Modern technology has come a long way since the Rolodex and the all-mighty black book. Today’s growing businesses manage customer relations and data in a number of ways. With the multitude of Customer Relationship Management — or CRM — solutions available, finding the one that works best for your growing business, customer service, sales team, customer service department, and marketing team can be a challenge.

As a business owner, manager, or person responsible for implementing a new CRM, the choice can quickly become complicated. To save time and help make the decision easier, we have come up with ten key considerations that will help you with choosing CRM software:

  1. Identify your needs when choosing the right CRM software
  2. Can the CRM solution grow along with you?
  3. Accessibility: Web-based, cloud-based, or on-premise?
  4. Consider your hardware
  5. Integration with your current scheme
  6. Importing/Exporting data
  7. How easy is it to learn?
  8. Vendor reputation/strength
  9. Be aware of the costs
  10. Is support included in the contract?

 

1. Identify your needs when choosing the right CRM software

The most important things to map out before committing to a CRM software are the needs and expectations of your business and your sales team. Evaluate what management tools and programs you are currently using and how they are used, is it:

List the pros and cons of your present system, and focus on the areas you would like to change or improve.

There’s a wide range of solutions on the market but, the RIGHT CRM should complement your existing system. Keep in mind that any major changes to the current scheme will have a direct impact on your team and can mean more time spent on learning the new system.

Investing in the most comprehensive and sophisticated CRM platforms available may seem like the best choice. However, in the long run, complicated and elaborate schemes can be more of a hassle than an asset.

The key to a smooth transition lies in finding the right fit. Stay as streamlined as possible and don’t pay extra for superfluous elements. Taking the time to evaluate your existing system will help you to make a smart, cost-effective investment and will help your business grow to get the most out of the new CRM tools.

2. Can the CRM solution grow along with you?

Expansion and growth are integral to a successful business — the CRM that you choose needs to have similar characteristics.

Finding a system that has the flexibility and capability to grow alongside your customer database and business means that the investment you’ll be making in the present is one that works for the future as well.

Having employees go through the process of implementing a new CRM once your business outgrows its present system is an unnecessary hassle for your sales process that can be avoided by implementing the proper program in the first place.

3. Accessibility: Web-based, cloud-based, or on-premise?

Today’s mobile technology allows us to always be on the go. While on-premise solutions come with their fair share of advantages, a web-based system allows for connectivity regardless of the location.

Having the ability to access data from anywhere means that work doesn’t have to be confined to the office. The added flexibility of a cloud-based CRM becomes invaluable when working from home or on the move.

4. Consider your hardware

A CRM that would require a major renovation of the tech department is unrealistic for many businesses, so take into consideration how much you’re willing to spend on implementing a new system.

Is mobile technology a big part of your current organization, and does your team have all of the physical accessories needed for a mobile CRM?

Half the battle when picking a CRM is purchasing the program itself — the other half is actually integrating the new program into the framework of your business.

5. Integration with your current scheme

CRM solutions are all about managing your customer information and data. A business employing a modern CRM for the first time probably has relevant material that they are looking to import into the new system. Be it spreadsheets, business cards, or contact information, a CRM that supports the smooth transfer of these files is critical to its successful implementation.

Similarly, the ease at which you can export files carries equal importance. Having the ability to export files into common formats like Excel or .CSV is an essential trait that your new CRM should have. Being able to quickly and easily access and generate files means less time spent staring at a screen and more time spent interacting with your customers or sharing data between team members.

6. Importing/Exporting data

CRM solutions are all about managing your customer information and data. A business employing a modern CRM for the first time probably has relevant material that they are looking to import into the new system. Be it spreadsheets, business cards, or contact information, a CRM that supports the smooth transfer of these files is critical to its successful implementation.

Similarly, the ease at which you can export files carries equal importance. Having the ability to export files into common formats like Excel or.CSV is an essential trait that your new CRM should have. Being able to quickly and easily access and generate files means less time spent staring at a screen and more time spent interacting with your customers or sharing data between team members.

7. How easy is it to learn?

Even the most intuitive and straightforward programs can take a bit of getting used to. How long will it take to learn about the CRM system? Is there training available at a reasonable cost? Many useful features of CRM systems go unused because these elements appear complex or were not properly showcased.

Having a team that is able to take advantage of all the different key components of your CRM system means that you’ll be getting the most value for your money.

8. Vendor reputation/strength

While reputation isn’t everything, it certainly counts for a lot. Though it is usually safe to assume that a popular CRM company with a large customer base is one that works well, don’t be afraid to ask around. Contacting businesses that have employed the CRM that you’re interested in can be an invaluable resource in helping to choose the best system for you.

Having access to reviews from current and past customers will show the CRM from all angles. While you will surely come across both positive and negative reviews, it is essential to keep the bigger picture in mind: have businesses similar to yours found success using a particular CRM? Does the company offering the CRM have many high-ranking customers?

Successful companies use successful CRMs. Companies, like Salesforce, even offer free demos to help showcase their products. Buying a CRM is a significant investment for any business, so make sure it is a well-researched decision.

9. Be aware of the costs

For any business, cost and budgeting are a big part of the picture. CRMs can require big investments of time and money, so it’s important to know exactly what you’ll be signing up for. Finding a balance between cost and function can be one of the most challenging aspects of shopping for a CRM.

While some CRMs may seem inexpensive and offer a free trial up front, it’s important to keep in mind what the costs of running and implementing the new system will be. Things like updating hardware, hiring additional staff, training costs, and the time spent getting used to the new system are aspects that must be taken into account when calculating the overall cost. Knowing what to expect from your new system is essential.

10. Is support included in the contract?

As with any technology, it’s important to have someone to turn to when things go amiss. Make sure to investigate the level of support offered by your CRM solution and how much extra support would cost. Some CRM solutions seem deceptively inexpensive until the road gets rough, and the business requires support outside what is included in their contract.

It may be more cost-effective to purchase your CRM through a company like Big Bang since customer and program support is a fundamental part of our package. It’s important to be prepared for whatever is thrown your way — or to have someone on your side, that is.

The right CRM can have a positive impact on your relationship with customers, specifically with:

  • Understanding customers profiles
  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer journey
  • Customer data management
  • Customer relationship building

With the right CRM, for example, from the moment a potential customer (or existing) contacts you maximize your chances of doing a proper follow-up by transferring the request to the right business sectors

The need for a marketing department

It is very important to consider the marketing department when choosing your CRM. Your CRM can help support your marketing efforts and marketing processes.

Your marketing campaign processes should be simple to manage. The right CRM will be able to offer third-party integrations through an easy-to-understand user interface.

*In some cases, custom integrations are required for specific solutions.

Have any questions or looking to learn more? We can help. At Big Bang, we implement, customize, administer, and support best-in-class web-based solutions needed to automate and integrate your business processes. Contact us today to find out how to select a CRM and how Big Bang can help your company achieve its business goals!

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