A good CRM platform is a must-have for any growing business. There comes a time when spreadsheets and disparate systems become a hindrance rather than an asset to find lead or customer data or navigating among sales opportunities. At that point, pretty much the only viable way forward is investing in a CRM platform.
No matter how big or small of a company it is, the right CRM platform can help the organization stay competitive, allowing you to:
- Keep track and store interactions with existing and new customers
- Stay in control of sales and marketing efforts
- Maintain strong relationships to retain existing customers
- Increase product and services sales
- Improve communications between different departments
- Identify and act upon lead opportunities
However, choosing the right CRM for your business is anything but easy.
The challenge of choosing CRM
The challenge of choosing a CRM platform lies not only in the fact that there are numerous solutions and technologies available to choose from. You also have to consider other factors such as:
- Deployment and integration options
- Customization capabilities
- Business value
But even more important, evaluate your own needs. Then match them to the functionality offered, your budget, and decide on what functionalities you require and what you can manage without.
6 things to consider to choose the best CRM platform for your needs
Before anything else, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are our most inefficient processes and what do we want to achieve with the CRM system?
- What operational processes and workflows do we currently lack and want/need to add?
- Who in our company is going to use the CRM platform?
- How many users do we need?
- What other software do we want to integrate with the CRM system?
- What is our budget?
After you’ve answered them and know WHY you need a CRM, the next step is to narrow down what you want in a CRM. Consider the following factors:
1. Cloud vs. On-premise
Do you prefer the reliability of an on-premise solution or the flexibility and ease of access cloud CRM solution?
2. Identify what features and functionality you need
Every business is unique in terms of its processes, customers, and growth dynamics. Committing to a set of standard, basic, or inflexible functions is simply not wise. Your best option is a scalable, flexible CRM platform that can be customized according to your needs.
3. Ensure 3rd-party integrations
Remember, you’re not buying a CRM as yet another system in your collection. You’re buying it to streamline your business operations. Ensure that the CRM platform can easily integrate with other 3rd-party applications you already have.
4. Request a demo
Most of us wouldn’t buy a car before test driving it to see how it feels. Take the same approach when buying a CRM platform. Never take a CRM system at face value, it’s always recommended to test it out before committing to anything.
5. Check if customization and training are available
A CRM platform is next to useless if not properly configured or if your staff isn’t trained in how to use its features. Ask if they offer customization and training to make sure you can make the most out of the CRM platform.
6. Pay close attention to the user experience
Does the CRM platform help you? Is it intuitive to use? Or is there something that bothers you or slows you down? A CRM system is only as good as its users. Ask for a demo, let your different departments try it out and gather feedback. See if it’s possible for the CRM provider to adjust it according to your needs.
And there you have it, how to choose the best CRM platform for your business. Hopefully this short guide will guide you in your search for a CRM system that’s able to boost and streamline your marketing, sales, and service departments processes.