There are so many CRM systems out there that it can be difficult to know which one is the best for your business. In this article, we will discuss how you can find the right CRM for you and your company.
The first step is to think about what features you need in a CRM system. Do you need customer support? Do you want something that integrates with other tools like project management software or email marketing? How much do these extra features cost? What's their return on investment potential if they're not free? Are there any integrations with apps on mobile devices or social media sites that would benefit your workflow? All of these factors should influence which CRM system is most appropriate for your business needs.
How to Choose a CRM System
Customer relationships are essential to the success of any company. However, keeping track of each customer's information can prove cumbersome for even the most organized companies and downright chaotic for the rest. If you're searching for a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you've probably hit the point where spreadsheets of customer data – phone numbers, email addresses, and previous correspondence – have become unorganized and inefficient.
CRMs keep track of all of your customer information and streamline the sales process. Many companies also offer supplemental software for marketing and customer service teams. Trying to make sense of the different price tiers, subscription services, features, and third-party add-ons can be almost as stressful as opening yet another spreadsheet. So we're here to help. Below, we'll outline what a CRM system is, how much CRM systems cost, and everything else you need to know to decide which CRM is right for your company.
Step 1: Identify your needs
To find the right customer relationship management (CRM) software, identify your business needs and consider your daily activities and sales processes. Highlight important steps and types of customer interactions.
Start by listing out problems within your business that you want to solve to determine which CRM features are helpful. Then, consult every team, including your sales and customer service teams, about their experiences with customer data and customer relationships to understand how a CRM can make their work more efficient and help improve sales.
A CRM system can help your business become more successful, but you need to be clear about your business goals.
Step 2: Check CRM features and tools
A CRM software should include contact management, marketing automation, and lead tracking for monitoring marketing campaigns and sales activities. When comparing CRM companies, consider the available features and how data-driven and customer-centric each one is. Then, find out if it will save you money by integrating with your existing task management systems, marketing automation solution providers, and other third-party software-as-a-service platforms that can enhance the CRM's functionality and customization. Also, check if the CRM’s tools and features can grow with your company or if you can upgrade to a more advanced version, should your business needs change in the future.
Also, consider how these upgrades will fit into your budget. Knowing how much to pay for upgrades and the per month per user base cost will determine if a CRM software is within your budget.
To promote customer relationships and sales from the field, your team members need to access customer information, monitor the sales pipeline, and perform end-to-end operations without the aid of a desktop computer. For on-the-go sales, consider a potential CRM software’s mobile-friendliness.
Step 3: Test drive the CRM
Before choosing a CRM, ask for a live demo session, where an agent shows you how the CRM operates and answers your questions about the CRM system.
Opt for a free trial to test drive the CRM platform’s functionality and user experience. This trial period enables your sales team and other team members to examine the CRM’s user-friendliness and effectiveness in tasks such as extracting customer information from social media and reporting customer interactions.
Before buying a CRM or opting for a free version, ensure your team members approve of its features and user experience.
What Is CRM Software?
A customer relationship management (CRM) system enables businesses to manage their relationships with current customers and sales prospects. CRM software uses a data-driven approach to help employees track leads and valuable client information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and previous interactions in one centralized location. This software includes various tools that can do everything from automating emails to generating real-time dashboards that show information on business performance and other insights generated with artificial intelligence. The exact offerings of each CRM software vary.
Most companies sell CRM systems as software-as-a-service (SaaS). The CRM service hosts the software on a centrally located server, and you pay to access the software on a subscription basis. Subscriptions are typically charged per-user, per-month basis, though the actual contract may last a full year. (Discounts are sometimes available for extended subscriptions.)
Many CRM plans have different tiers, so large businesses can pay for enterprise-level CRM tools, while small businesses can access free versions with fewer features. In addition, some CRM companies offer a full suite of supplemental software that is available via subscription, such as tools to train employees or promote team collaboration. The advantage is that you can purchase all your software in one place and simplify sharing data across teams while making sure that all of the tools work together. The downside is that this also locks businesses into a single digital ecosystem.
6 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a CRM
Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software houses its customers' most important part of any business. Your customers are, your relationships with them, and who you should approach in the future are all defined and catalogued in your CRM. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this software is the heart and soul of your business.
The data agrees with this perspective as well. 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM in some form, up from 54% in 2015. 2018 was a landmark year for this software category – the CRM market surpassed database software to become the largest software market by revenues. In fact, overall global revenue from the CRM market is expected to increase from $36 billion in 2018 to $80 billion in 2025.
Despite its importance, businesses frequently make mistakes when selecting and deploying their CRM software. They either choose something that is underpowered to handle their needs. Or they pick a tool that asks too much of their salespeople in terms of data entry and thus, goes abandoned.
Avoiding these mistakes when choosing and using CRM software is crucial if you want to get the most out of it for your business.
Not Integrating CRM with Your Project Management System
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with any CRM deployment is keeping it completely isolated from your project management system. This is particularly true for service-focused B2B businesses where projects and customers are intrinsically connected.
For example, a salesperson at a digital agency needs to know what kind of resources are currently available to sell to a potential client. If the project data is isolated from him, he won’t be able to offer an accurate quote. The result is an unhappy client and overcommitted resources.
Bringing your CRM and PM systems within the same fold rectifies several problems, such as:
- Salespeople get a better insight into the availability of different resources based on the current status of ongoing projects.
- Project managers can plan their resources better based on the deals currently in the sales pipeline.
- Management and HR can hire better depending on the forecasted demand for different resources.
Try using a CRM that works with your project management system. By integrating all your systems, you will bring much-needed clarity to all parts of your organization.
Not Taking End-User Needs into Account
Too often, businesses pick a CRM that looks good on paper and impresses management with its features and capabilities. What they fail they take into account is the needs of the end-users. The specific end-user might vary from business to business, but usually, they are salespeople, marketing folks, customer support, and anyone else who needs to keep track of relationships (such as HR reps).
End-user needs often vary greatly from those of management. For example, management might prioritize pricing, on-premise performance, and even the reputation of the vendor. On the other hand, end-users might focus on ease of use and how well the software integrates with their existing suite of tools.
The solution to this problem is to consider end-user needs at every step of the CRM selection process. You can do this by:
- Choosing a single point of contact (SPOC) from each department to streamline communication and understand end-user needs.
- Involve end-users from the very start of the software selection process.
- Focus on the features that end-users use, not the ones that merely sound good. Ask end-users how they go about their work daily. Prioritize features that would streamline these daily tasks.
Not Using a Mobile-Friendly CRM
The CRM market has changed drastically over the last decade. In 2008, only 12% of businesses used a cloud-based SaaS CRM. In 2018, this number had increased to a whopping 87%.
A phenomenon related to this shift is the multi-device usage pattern of end-users today. For example, data shows that 81% of CRM users access the software from multiple devices – smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Given this change, choosing a CRM that doesn’t work on smartphones is a massive mistake. Not only will it affect your productivity, but it will also discourage users from adopting the software. After all, if a salesperson can’t access his prospect list while he is on the go, he can’t benefit from the CRM.
The solution to this problem is to choose mobile CRM software. Look for something that keeps all data in the cloud and gives you access from multiple devices.
Not Choosing a Scalable CRM
Businesses often pick CRMs that have all the features and pricing they currently need. On paper, this makes sense – why would you pay more for software that you don’t need now?
This thinking fails to take two things into account:
- The business’ growth and the change in needs that accompanies it.
- The tremendous cost of switching from one CRM to another.
The affordable CRM solution that’s “just right” for you today might turn out to be too limited and slow two years from now. At that point, you would have no choice but to shift to a new, more powerful CRM.
However, given the vast amount of data every CRM system deals with, this switch can be incredibly difficult. CRMs frequently store their data in custom fields that don’t easily integrate with other systems. As a result, you might have to manually port data from one system to another – a painful, time-consuming process.
Thus, when you’re choosing a CRM software, buy something that works not just for your current needs but for your future requirements as well.
Not Picking a Small-Enough CRM
If buying a CRM that doesn’t scale with your growth is a mistake, so is the opposite one – choosing a CRM that’s too complex and unwieldy for your needs.
This mistake frequently occurs when the person choosing a CRM overestimates the company’s growth plans. The buyer might account for, say, a 10% annual growth rate. But the management might have a completely different strategy chalked out. The result is a CRM that’s too expensive and too feature-rich for actual users.
To rectify this mistake, you need to have an honest dialogue with management about your growth plans. Ask your management questions such as:
- How much does the management expect to invest in the business in the coming years?
- Does the company plan to raise any outside funding? If yes, how does it plan to spend that money?
- What is the expected investment in different areas of the company in the coming few years? If new resources are being hired, how will they use the CRM?
- Where do you see the business 1, 3, and 5 years from now?
Essentially, your goal should be to match your CRM selection with your growth trajectory. Otherwise, you might end up with a system that’s either too simple or too complex for your needs.
Not Choosing a Social CRM
A “social CRM” integrates social media into the CRM. Thus, apart from the customer’s name, email, phone number and location details, you would also know what they last tweeted, their LinkedIn profile information, and what they’re currently posting on Instagram.
Social CRM opens up a whole new channel of customer engagement. It makes social selling drastically easier, letting salespeople interact with customers on channels they prefer. For example, armed with a social CRM, a salesperson can monitor a customer’s Twitter for mentions of the company’s product and jump in with an offer at the right time. This creates a far more intuitive customer experience than picking up the phone or sending an email.
Frequently Asked Questions
To understand how CRM and marketing automation work together, you must first understand their differences. CRM is mostly used as a sales tool, whereas marketing automation is a lead generation and nurturing tool. As such, using them together allows you to: Build a relationship before sending a lead to sales.
The problems: CRM consistently has low adoption rates, wastes sales reps' time and still manages to have inaccurate information after all that time investment. The solution: Automation. Use software that automatically captures and logs CRM data while sales reps go about their daily selling activities.
Marketing activates, such as campaigns, expos and newsletters as a sample create awareness. Its crucial mixing together (CRM) customer relationship management and (MAS) marketing automation systems.