Because there are so many CRM systems currently available, it can take time to determine the most suitable for your company. In this article, we will discuss the various methods that can be used to find a suitable CRM for both you and your company. Consider first what aspects of a customer relationship management system are most important to your business. For example, do you require assistance with customer support? Do you need something that can communicate with other programmes, such as software for managing projects or programmes for email marketing? How much does it cost to get these additional features? If they cost money, what kind of return can you expect on your investment in them? Could your workflow be improved by integrating with apps that run on mobile devices or with social media websites? Your company’s needs should be considered when selecting the CRM system that is best suited to meet those needs.
How to Choose a CRM System
Relationships with customers are crucial to the growth and prosperity of any business. However, keeping track of the information for each customer can be difficult even for the most well-organized businesses, and it can be an absolute nightmare for those that aren’t. For example, suppose you are looking for a customer relationship management (CRM) system. In that case, you have reached a point where spreadsheets of customer data, including phone numbers, email addresses, and previous correspondence, need to be more organized and efficient. CRMs record all your information about your customers and make the sales process more efficient. Many businesses also provide additional software for the teams that handle marketing and customer service. However, opening another spreadsheet can be almost as stressful as trying to make sense of the various price tiers, subscription services, features, and available third-party add-ons. As a result, we are here to assist you. In the following paragraphs, we will explain what a customer relationship management system is, how much money CRM systems cost, and everything else you need to know to select the ideal CRM for your business.
Step 1: Identify your needs
Determine the needs of your company as well as your typical activities and sales procedures before beginning your search for the appropriate customer relationship management (CRM) software. Bring attention to the most important steps and different types of interactions with customers. To begin determining which CRM features will be helpful, you should first list the problems within your company that you want to solve. The next step is to consult every team, including your sales and customer service teams, about their experiences with customer data and customer relationships to understand better how a customer relationship management system can make their work more efficient and help improve sales. Implementing a CRM system may facilitate your company’s growth and success; however, prioritizing your organization’s objectives is essential.
Step 2: Check CRM features and tools
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform must incorporate contact management, marketing automation, and lead tracking to monitor marketing campaigns and sales activities effectively. When comparing CRM providers, it is important to consider the features offered by each company and how data-driven and customer-focused they are. Next, 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. After that, find out if it will save you money by integrating it with your existing task management systems. Finally, check to see if the CRM’s tools and features can scale with your business and if you can upgrade to a more sophisticated version if your company’s requirements evolve in the near or distant future. Additionally, think about how these enhancements will affect your financial plan. For example, determining whether or not a customer relationship management (CRM) programme is within your financial means will require you to learn the cost of upgrades and the cost of the user base per month. Your team members must be able to access customer information, monitor the sales pipeline, and perform end-to-end operations without the assistance of a desktop computer to be successful in fostering customer relationships and making sales while they are out in the field. Consider the mobile-friendliness of any potential CRM software if you conduct sales on the go.
Step 3: Test drive the CRM
Request a live demo session before deciding on a customer relationship management (CRM) system. During this session, an agent will demonstrate how the CRM works and answer any questions about the CRM software. You can evaluate the CRM platform’s functionality and user experience by signing up for a free trial. During this trial period, your sales team and other team members will be able to evaluate the user-friendliness of the CRM and its efficiency in performing tasks such as obtaining information about customers from social media and reporting on interactions with customers. Please ensure your team members are satisfied with the CRM’s features and user experience before deciding whether to pay for it or use the free version.
What Is CRM Software?
A customer relationship management system, also known as a CRM, allows businesses to manage their relationships with existing and potential new clients. A data-driven approach is used by CRM software to help employees keep track of leads and valuable client information in a centralized location. This information can include phone numbers, email addresses, and a history of interactions with the client. This software contains various tools capable of performing a wide range of functions, from the automation of emails to the generation of real-time dashboards that show information on the performance of a business as well as other insights generated with artificial intelligence. The specific features that are provided by each CRM software are different. Most businesses offer customer relationship management systems as software as a service (SaaS). The customer relationship management service stores the software on a server that is located in a centralized location, and you pay a recurring fee to gain access to the software. Although the actual contract may range from three months to a full year, subscriptions are typically billed on a per-user and per-month basis. (If you choose to subscribe for a longer time, you may be eligible for a discount.) There are many different tiers of CRM plans, which means that large businesses can pay for enterprise-level CRM tools while small businesses can access free versions with fewer features. Depending on the CRM plan, an organization’s needs can be met. In addition, some companies specializing in CRM provide customers access to an entire suite of supplementary software that can be purchased on a subscription basis. These may include applications designed to facilitate employee education or group work. The benefit is that you can purchase all of your software from a single location, simplifying the process of sharing data between teams and ensuring that all tools are compatible. This disadvantage is that it ties companies down to a single digital ecosystem.
6 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a CRM
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software stores the most vital information about your company’s most valuable asset: its customers. Your CRM will define who your customers are, your relationships with them, and who you should approach in the future. It will also catalogue all of this information. It isn’t an overstatement to say that this piece of software is the driving force behind your company’s success. The evidence supports this interpretation, which is consistent with the data. CRM is used in some form by 91% of companies with more than 11 employees, which is an increase from 54% in 2015. This software category reached a major milestone in 2018 when the customer relationship management (CRM) market surpassed the database software market to become the largest software market based on revenues. It is anticipated that the total global revenue generated by the CRM market will increase from $36 billion in 2018 to $80 billion in 2025. Despite the significance of the process, businesses frequently need to improve in selecting CRM software and its deployment. They either settle for something that is insufficiently powerful to meet their requirements. Either that, or they choose a tool that requires an excessive amount of data entry from their salespeople and, as a result, it is abandoned. If you want your company to get the most out of the customer relationship management software you select and use, you must avoid these common pitfalls.
Not Integrating CRM with Your Project Management System
If you want to avoid making one of the most significant errors possible with any CRM deployment, you should keep it completely separate from your project management system. It is especially true for service-oriented B2B companies, where the relationships between projects and customers are inextricably intertwined. For instance, a salesperson at a digital agency needs to be aware of the types of resources currently available to sell those resources to a prospective customer. If he has access to the project’s data, he can provide an accurate estimate. The result is an unsatisfied customer and resources stretched too thin.
Bringing your customer relationship management and project management systems under the same roof solves some problems, including the following:
- The current status of ongoing projects provides salespeople with a better understanding of the availability of a variety of resources, and this understanding is based on the context of the sales process.
- The deals currently in the sales pipeline can help project managers better plan their use of the available resources.
- Management and human resources can do a better job of hiring candidates when they consider the anticipated demand for various resources.
You should use a CRM compatible with the system you use to manage projects. By integrating all of your systems, you will bring the much-required clarity to all aspects of your organisation.
Not Taking End-User Needs into Account
Companies frequently opt for a customer relationship management system (CRM) because it looks good on paper and impresses management with its features and capabilities. What they need to take into account, however, is the requirements of the people who will be using the product. The particular end-user may vary from company to company. Still, in most cases, they are individuals responsible for sales and marketing, as well as those who provide customer support and maintain a record of relationships (such as HR reps). The requirements of management and those of end-users frequently diverge significantly. For instance, management might place a higher priority on pricing than on the performance of the product on-site or even the vendor’s reputation. On the other hand, end-users may place more importance on the simplicity of the software’s operation and how well it integrates with the other tools in their toolkit.
The solution to this issue is to consider the requirements of the end users at each stage of the CRM selection process. It can be accomplished by:
- Identifying a single point of contact (SPOC) within each department to facilitate communication and better comprehend the requirements of end users.
- End-users should be consulted from the very beginning of the process of selecting software.
- Instead of focusing on appealing features, you should prioritise those that end-users find useful. First, inquire about end-users regarding the daily activities that comprise their work. Then, emphasise features that would make these routine activities easier.
Not Using a Mobile-Friendly CRM
For the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in the CRM market. In 2008, a cloud-based SaaS customer relationship management system was utilised by only 12% of businesses. By 2018, this percentage had skyrocketed to an astounding 87%. The trend of end users today to use multiple devices at the same time is one phenomenon that is connected to this shift. For instance, research has shown that 81 per cent of CRM users access the software from more than one device at a time. These devices include laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Because of this shift, opting for a customer relationship management system (CRM) incompatible with mobile devices is a terrible idea. Not only will it impact your productivity level, but it will also make users less likely to adopt the software. After all, a salesperson who cannot access his prospect list while travelling cannot benefit from the customer relationship management system (CRM). The selection of mobile CRM software constitutes the answer to this predicament. Look for a solution that stores all your information in the cloud and enables you to access it from various devices.
Not Choosing a Scalable CRM
Most of the time, companies go with CRMs that offer all of the features and pricing tiers they require. It makes sense when you write it; after all, why would you pay more for software you don’t need right now?
This line of thinking fails to take into account two important factors:
- The company’s expansion and the accompanying shift in its requirements for personnel and resources.
- The enormous financial burden associated with switching from one CRM to another.
The low-cost CRM solution that seems “just right” for your business right now may, in two years, prove too limiting and slow to meet your needs. At that point, you would be forced to switch to a new customer relationship management system that is more powerful. On the other hand, this switch can be extraordinarily challenging due to the massive amounts of data handled by each CRM system. In addition, CRMs store their data in custom fields the majority of the time, which makes integration with other systems more difficult. Consequently, you might find yourself in the uncomfortable and time-consuming position of manually porting data from one system to another. When searching for customer relationship management software, you should look for something that can cater to your current requirements and those that may arise.
Not Picking a Small-Enough CRM
If purchasing a customer relationship management system (CRM) that does not scale with your growth is a mistake, selecting a CRM that is too complicated and difficult to use for your requirements is also a mistake. This error frequently happens when the person selecting a CRM has an unrealistically optimistic view of the company’s expansion plans. The buyer may be responsible for 10% of the annual growth rate. However, the management may have a completely different strategy in mind for the company. The end product is a customer relationship management system that is unaffordable to users due to its extensive feature set.
It would help if you had an open and honest conversation with management about the expansion strategies you have in mind to correct this error. For example, ask your management questions such as:
- How much money does the management anticipate investing in the company for the next few years?
- Does the company have any plans to seek funding from outside sources? If so, what are its plans for the utilisation of that capital?
- What kinds of investments can we anticipate being made in the company’s various divisions over the next few years? How will the newly hired personnel utilise the customer relationship management system?
- In one, three, and five years from now, where do you see the company being?
Your primary objective should be to select a CRM compatible with your company’s anticipated expansion rate. Take this step to avoid settling for a solution that is either too straightforward or too involved for your requirements.
Not Choosing a Social CRM
A “social CRM” is a customer relationship management system incorporating social media. Therefore, in addition to the customer’s name, email address, phone number, and location information, you would also be aware of what they most recently tweeted, the information in their LinkedIn profile, and what they post on Instagram. The use of social CRM enables the opening of an entirely new channel for customer engagement. It makes social selling significantly simpler by enabling salespeople to interact with customers on the channels that are most convenient for those customers. Suppose a salesperson is equipped with a social CRM, for instance. In that case, they can monitor a customer’s Twitter account for mentions of the company’s product and then respond with an offer at the appropriate moment. This results in a much more natural and straightforward experience for the customer than picking up the phone or sending an email.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CRM a sales or marketing?
Before you can get a handle on how CRM and marketing automation interacts with one another, you need to be familiar with their functions. For example, while customer relationship management is primarily used as a sales tool, marketing automation generates and nurtures those leads. Because of this, utilising both of them together enables you to build a relationship with a lead before passing them on to sales.
What are the problems with CRM?
The problems include that CRM has consistently low adoption rates, wastes the time of sales reps, and still needs accurate information after all that time investment. The answer: the use of automated systems. Utilize software that automatically captures and logs CRM data while sales reps go about their normal selling activities.
What are CRM and MAS?
For example, awareness can be raised through various marketing activities such as campaigns, expos, and newsletters. Therefore, integrating customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems (MAS) is essential.