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, notably with management software. 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, customer application 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, the Big Bang team came up with twelve key considerations that will help you with choosing CRM software:
- Identify your needs when choosing the right CRM software
- Can the CRM solution grow along with you?
- Accessibility: Web-based, cloud-based, or on-premise?
- Consider your hardware
- Integration with your current scheme
- Importing/Exporting data
- How easy is it to learn?
- Vendor reputation/strength
- Be aware of the costs
- Is support included in the contract?
- Is the CRM solution GDPR compliant?
- Is the security of my data guaranteed by the CRM?
1. Identify your needs when choosing the right CRM software
The most important things before committing to a CRM software is to map out 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:
- Lead management
- Marketing automation
- Sales pipeline
- Customer data
- Customer experience
- Email tracking
- Social media management
- Contact management
List the pros and cons of your present system, and focus on the areas you would like to change or improve, and estimate your customization needs.
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 devices and technology allow 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 location.
Having access to customer 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.
You will then have access to your management tool everywhere by choosing a CRM offering a mobile version with a simple interface. Rather than a simple detail, this requirement should be part of the initial out-of-box specifications.
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.
Image: A checklist to help you align the CRM features with your business requirements.
5. Integration with your current scheme
Implementing a new system is rarely a smooth process. That’s why it’s crucial to find a CRM that accommodates or enhances your existing structure. It is essential to choose a software solution that allows for an easy CRM implementation process. Many companies run their operations using several different applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Sage accounting software and Google applications.
Is the new CRM able to integrate these programs into their system? Change is a challenge for everyone. Choosing a CRM that can accommodate as many existing processes as possible will ensure a smooth, seamless and easy transition for your team.
6. Importing/Exporting data
CRM solutions are all about managing your customer information and database. 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. That’s why the user interface is also an extremely important point to take into account.
Having a team that is able to take advantage of all the different key components of your CRM system, no matter your industry, 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, offer free product demos to help showcase their products, or can even provide you with a customer list to contact to ask for their opinion on their CRM. Buying a CRM is a significant investment for any business, so make sure it is a well-researched decision. This will avoid unpleasant surprises once you are in the process.
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 upfront 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 CRM 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
11. Is the CRM solution GDPR compliant?
Make sure you select a GDPR-ready CRM system. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a European Union law that governs how personal data is collected, stored and used by businesses. It requires organizations to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that take place in EU member states. It also gives individuals greater control over their personal data. The GDPR encompasses anti-spam laws and the requirement to offer unsubscribing to newsletters, among others.
When choosing your CRM, you need to check if it is compliant with this regulation – if you want to do business in Europe or already have an established European customer base. The GDPR applies to companies:
- With offices and employees operating in the European Union
- Providing goods and services in the region
- Collecting IP addresses of European residents using cookies
- Compiling personal data of individuals in the EU on behalf of their customers
Failure to comply with this EU law can result in legal action, and non-compliance penalties equivalent to 4% of an organization’s revenue, up to a maximum of €20 million, according to a report by Deloitte.
12. Is the security of my data guaranteed by the CRM?
The CRM software you choose for your company must also guarantee the protection of your customers’ confidential data and comply with the security requirements of the laws of the countries and regions in which you do business. A good example of data protection is the two-factor authentication (2FA) method when it comes to accessing your account, or your confidential information. There are several things to consider to ensure data security, such as the frequency of updates, which means that the cybersecurity criteria are up-to-date.
In addition, your CRM should be transparent about where your customers’ personal data is stored. If a customer does not want their personal information to be accessible in the United States, for example, the CRM system should give them the option to opt-out of this transfer.
Finally, it is important that your CRM of choice allows customers to retrieve their data if needed, knowing that it will be transmitted securely.
Ask for a personalized product demo
Once you have reviewed these elements and analyzed the factors mentioned above, the last logical step is to see for yourself if the software meets your company’s needs. An excellent way to discover the interface and multiple functionalities of a CRM, including contact management, project management, inventory management, sales management, and customer relationship management, is to request a product demo from your consulting firm, like Big Bang.
A live product demo will allow you to familiarize yourself with the platform, the user interfaces and see how easy user adoption will be for your employees. Make a list of questions beforehand and make sure that the CRM features presented are aligned with your business processes.
To help you choose the best CRM system for your business, we’ve compiled a list :
Salesforce SalesCloud CRM
Salesforce Sales Cloud is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that provides businesses with tools to manage customer data, track sales and marketing activities, and automate workflow processes.
The platform includes modules for contact and lead management, account management, opportunity management, and sales forecasting. It also provides analytics and reporting capabilities, as well as the ability to integrate with other systems and apps. Sales Cloud is primarily used by sales teams and sales reps to manage their interactions with customers and track their sales pipeline.
Additionally, the software allows customizing and automating the sales process, tracking communication, forecast and reporting. It also works with different third-party integration apps and services.
- Boost Sales Productivity: Sell from anywhere, anytime with an AI-powered CRM system. Increase sales productivity by more than 44%.
- Increase Lead Conversion: Close deals faster and sell smarter by having all the information you need in a single source. Increase lead conversion by more than 43%.
- Improve Overall Performance: Sales teams are more in sync, and the information they need is up-to-date and easily accessible. Offer customers what they need, when they need it.
- Better Communication: Connect your entire mobile devices, especially valuable for field technicians, on a unified platform.
- Capture Sales Quicker: Grow your accounts faster, rapidly find new customers, and close deals more quickly, from anywhere.
- Maximize Revenue: With the help of this CRM software, you will be turning leads into sales in no time. Close more deals faster and collaborate instantly on what matters. Increase revenue by more than 37%.
- Retain Satisfied Customers: Offer an omni-channel user experience that lends to faster, more responsive service across every channel and on any device, resulting in increased customer retention and satisfaction.
- Adapt Quickly: Flexible platform helping you keep service operations as efficient as possible as business needs inevitably change.
Oracle Netsuite CRM
The CRM module in NetSuite includes advanced features such as contact and lead management, account management, sales forecasting, marketing automation, and customer service and support. The software provides a unified view of all customer interactions and data, enabling businesses to gain insights and make data-driven decisions.
NetSuite’s CRM also provides businesses with the ability to automate and streamline processes, including lead management, campaign management, and customer support. Additionally, it allows integration with other systems, such as e-commerce platforms, and provides real-time visibility across the entire business operations.
- A 360-degree of your customer profile, activity, and interactions elevates productivity across all your teams.
- Spike sales performance through accurate forecasting, upsell, and commission management.
- Seamless integrations with your Oracle NetSuite ERP power sales performance management, order management, and partner management.
- View all customer interactions and transactions in one easily accessible place including global sales, marketing, services, and partner organizations.
- Real-time result tracking allows for continual fine-tuning of your campaigns to maximize ROI.
- Gain real-time visibility and insight into campaign performance and ROI with robust analytics.
HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform that provides businesses with a range of tools to manage their customer interactions and data. The platform includes modules for contact and company management, deal management, and an activity timeline.
HubSpot CRM also includes a range of sales and marketing tools, such as email tracking, lead nurturing, and marketing analytics. Additionally, it can be integrated with other software, such as email marketing and marketing automation tools, website visitor tracking, and forms and chatbots.
HubSpot’s CRM also includes a range of customizable reports and dashboards that allow businesses to track performance and gain insights into customer behavior and sales. Overall, Hubspot CRM is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, providing them a simple and easy-to-use CRM to manage their customer interactions, leads, and sales.
- Always know where a relationship left off: A clean timeline stores every interaction with a lead, including calls, emails, meetings, and notes. You’ll see everything about a lead in one place.
- Up-to-the-minute view of entire sales funnel: Manage your pipeline with total visibility. Sort deals won and lost, scheduled appointments, contract status, and track performance – all in one single view.
- Instantly log sales activity: Whether customer interactions occur through email, across social media, or on a call – all are captured automatically and synced with Gmail or Outlook.
- Actionable intel in record time: Clean visual dashboards allow for easy sorting of deals by name, owner, amount, or state with customizable filters.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
The CRM module in Dynamics 365 includes advanced features such as contact and lead management, account management, sales forecasting, marketing automation, and customer service and support. It provides businesses with the ability to automate and streamline processes, including lead management, campaign management, and customer support.
Dynamics 365 also includes powerful analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing businesses to gain insights and make data-driven decisions. The software allows for flexible deployment options, including on-premises and cloud-based deployment. It also includes integration with other Microsoft products such as Office 365, Power BI, and Azure, as well as the ability to connect to other external systems.
Dynamics 365 provides a holistic view of customer interactions, allowing businesses to effectively manage their sales, marketing and customer service activities.
- Access to intuitive dashboards: Employees will have a deeper insight on the customer journey. Dynamics 365 CRM will empower your team to make insightful business decisions and rely on accurate, real-time metrics for support.
- Cut costs and increase profitability: Insight on operational inefficiencies and robust planning capabilities. With Microsoft cloud, you’ll be able to simplify deployment across your infrastructure, thus reducing operational cost.
- Foster deeper customer relationships: Build a trusting, ongoing relationship with data-driven tools and dashboards. With Dynamics 365 CRM, you’ll be able to rely on a single, strong solution where everything important to developing, improving, and retaining your customer relationships is stored
- Boost productivity: Increase cross-functional collaboration and streamline repetitive tasks. Instead of spending time going back and forth with customers, simplify processes and collaborate with customers via a secure portal.
Selecting a cloud solution is never easy for business owners, and it takes a lot of time and resources to make the right choice. Now that you are equipped with the best practices for selecting your new CRM software, we are confident that your steps will be more efficient and that the results of your research will be beneficial to your business growth.
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 sales processes. Contact us today to find out how to select a CRM and how Big Bang can help your company achieve its business objectives! We will be happy to assist you in your digital transformation journey.