First 6 steps to choose the right CRM for your business
Investing in the right CRM solution will help maximize your profits, cut your operating costs, and boost IT efficiencies, but with many options available, what selection criteria should you use to make the right decision for your company? Knowing that not all CRM solutions are equal, it becomes a matter of serious thought to choose the right one.
In what follows is a step-by-step evaluation process to help you zero in on the right CRM. Take a look –
1. Define your purpose
Before you dive in, it’s important to understand why your business requires a CRM. A well planned CRM strategy coupled with the right technology can prove to be very powerful – only if you know what precise goals you want to achieve through it.
- Do you want to produce powerful sales and business insights that will make your business more profitable?
- Do you want to scale your operation to make it more productive?
- Do you want to centralize your business and make it more organized?
- Do you want an organized history of your contacts, leads, accounts and deals?
Write down the goals to keep you grounded throughout the selection process. Remember you will be able to evaluate the CRM options better if you are clear about your end goals.
2. Time frame
How soon do you want or need to have your CRM up and running? Remember there’s no point investing in a CRM that you have to wait nearly a year to use? Do ask the CRM vendor how long they expect the implementation to take.
Your job isn’t done when the CRM is working; it’s only complete when your team is actually using it. So do take into account factors such as busy seasons and other company events that may get in the way of a timely implementation and adoption.
With so much money invested in CRM, it’s important to address an alarming concern that can hinder your CRM strategy– a low adoption rate. Look for a CRM solution that encourages user adoption. In the words of a CRM strategist – ‘’Find a CRM partner who minimizes friction so your team can easily use it.’’
2 factors to ensure higher user adoption:
Too much time should not be put into feeding the data into the CRM. Remember you do not want to turn your top salespeople into typists. Henceforth, try and choose a CRM that has easy and quick data import/export feature.
No one wants to work with a confusing CRM with too many unnecessary fields. CRMs help produce profits, not by virtue of their existence, but because they smoothen the sales cycle. They track the tasks and data relevant to closing deals. Consequently, look for the CRM with a great UX that helps you customize the software according to your business requirement.
A CRM that works when you’re sitting at your desk might not necessarily work in the field, or on a plane. Worried? Well, mobility is a key-driver in overall CRM value to make sure the experience is seamless from desktop to mobile. As a result, try and look for the solution that meets your team’s needs, irrespective of their geographical location
Questions worth considering:
- Is the experience in desktop and mobile smooth?
- Does the CRM offer mobile applications for Android and Windows?
- Does the CRM automatically sync to ensure information is up to date all the time?
5. Integration with other tools
What are the key tools or programs you need the CRM to work with? Select a CRM that integrates with the tools your company already uses. This will help you manage your entire business from a single interface, without having to juggle with multiple browsers.
Factors to consider:
- What email/FAX marketing tools does the CRM integrate with?
- Does it have an online meeting and video conferencing software like GoToMeeting?
- Does it offer integrations with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
- What about document storage like Box?
6. Annual Cost of the CRM
Now that we’ve established that you do in fact have good reason to invest in a CRM, we’re cutting right to the chase. It’s important to know if you can actually afford the CRM services you’re evaluating.
Annual Cost = Number of Users x Cost per Month
Figure out how many people in your company will be using the CRM, and then visit the company website you’re evaluating to figure out their subscription fee per month.
Cloud based CRM systems are ideal because they typically don’t require a development fee up front. As a result, you can pay on a per month basis and can easily monitor your cash flow. Many large and small businesses use cloud CRM applications due to benefits such as easy administration, mobility, collaboration, automatic upgrades, patch management and compatibility.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub