Choosing A CRM: The Guide

When attempting to choose the right CRM for your business, you first need to recognise the concerns you’re trying to solve.

Peter Drucker – regarded as being ‘The founder of modern management’ – once said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision”.

Choosing the right CRM

Businesses leaders have to make tough decisions, and choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, is among the toughest. Probably the most difficult is to choose the right CRM for small business owner as they have to find a perfect balance between affordable but yet powerful product. 

As a business leader, you’ve realized that a CRM can enhance your ability to gather and manage leads; streamline and speed-up your sales process; track and analyze your team’s performance; manage all your communications across multiple platforms; and, all while fully mobile.

But, which CRM is best for you?


Things to consider when choosing a CRM

Remember, your CRM software is not just another business tool. It should be fully aligned with managing your complete sales process. Any weakness in the link can sever the whole business chain.

When approaching the decision, business leaders are faced with where to start.

Online searches usually offer the first glimpses into what’s available. This can be followed by recommendations, review websites, and business forums. There is even the option of choosing free CRM software. But there is one very important factor to remember.

  • There is no single generic solution when choosing your CRM software. Every business is different, and every problem a business is faced with, requires a unique solution.

Start with questions & assess your business needs

To begin, you need to understand the problems you want to resolve, plus to analyze and map your full sales process thoroughly. You also need to picture your sales process far into the future, as your business grows. You will need to ask many questions of yourself, your team, and your vision for the future.

When contemplating the subject of how to choose a CRM software, you need to have answered each of those questions in depth. The CRM software you choose should be flexible in addressing any concerns and managing the solutions, to your complete satisfaction.

How easily will your existing CRM process transit to a new means of doing things? How easily will it be to migrate your existing contact lists, information, and past communications records?

Budget is another concern you need to consider, the more money you spend doesn’t necessarily equate with a better CRM software solution.

How will your employees react to the new CRM sales software? Will they resist, and even if they don’t resist, will they have difficulty in onboarding the new software. Will there be technical issues which need to be addressed? Is the CRM supplier reputable? Do they offer quality customer care and onboarding assistance?

The more questions you ask – and answer – the closer you will come to choosing CRM software specifically for your needs, aligned with your sales process.

Evaluate Features and Functionality

Navigating the complex labyrinth of CRM decisions can feel daunting, but it is pivotal to meticulously assess the features and functionality before anchoring your choice. With a large amount of CRM software and features to choose from, it is pertinent to ensure you are assessing CRM features and functionality against your business needs. Features such as communication management, lead management and pipeline management will often be common across most CRMs, however more in-depth features such as lead scoring, sales insights and reports, custom dashboards and integrated dialling and SMS may be harder to find. Furthermore, usability factors may contribute to your decision criteria and should be considered alongside your employees and intended users. This could include ease-of-use and user-adoption, customer support and onboarding offered. As such, it is good practice to have a list of your essential features and additional decision criteria prior to commencing your research and evaluation.

How to choose a CRM software that is right for your business

Which system? – Firstly, you now know that you have a choice between a CRM on-premises system, and a cloud-based (SaaS) system.

The on-premise option:

  • Needs to be physically installed on-site, which requires technical know-how – either supplied or sourced.
  • Offers you a lot of control over the system
  • It is more difficult to make it fully mobile
  • Should you experience technical problems you will need to employ, or hire, the right technicians.

The cloud-based (or SaaS) online option:

  • Requires no installation.
  • It is enabled remotely and automatically.
  • All technical issues and upgrades are conducted remotely by the CRM company.
  • It is fully mobile – operating on tablets, smartphones, or home PCs.
  • Is it the ideal solution for companies with sales teams constantly on the move.
  • It allows your salespeople to have constant access to all information, communications, and updates for accounts which they are involved in. 

Reading reviews

Reviews can be a great source of information. Taking advice from those that have been there, and done that. But, how do you know the reviews are for real? Can you trust what you read? Along with truthful reviews, there are a lot of reviews and news stories out there, which are fake and designed to mislead. Be sure of your sources before you swallow the bait. 

One way of ensuring confidence in reviews is by going to respected industry news media and outlets. Outlets like Capterra, Business News Daily, GetApp, SoftwareAdvice, and others, who all offer insightful and unbiased reviews. 

Get advice from the experts themselves

The best source to field your questions on how to choose a CRM software solutions are the producers of the top products on the market. A well-sourced search will produce the names, and details of these suppliers. 

Top companies like Teamgate provide customer experience experts who are there to offer you a consultative solution to your queries. With expert product knowledge, they are equipped to assess all aspects of a company’s needs, pain points, financial concerns, and fears. They can also offer free trials and one-on-one demonstrations. Teamgate offers a consultative service, focusing directly on your needs, rather than a hard-sell attitude. 

Ignore the fluff

There are many ‘fancy looking’ CRM software options on the market, promising a lot, but delivering little. When choosing CRM software, a low price, together with a host of fancy features may grab your attention, but, beware. It is unlikely that this CRM will address your particular needs, and may even cost you dearly in the long-run.

Incorporate and trust your own team throughout the process

If you want to know how to choose a CRM software, which addresses your particular sales process, it’s a good idea to get your own salespeople involved. Plus, nobody likes surprises which may change their whole work practice – even one which improves productivity.

Consult with all areas of your organization – sales, marketing, customer service, etc. – and get their input. Their thoughts on improvements and pain-points can aid your final decision, plus they get a chance to experience the new CRM software via trials, etc. in advance of onboarding.

The more information you have, the better equipped you are to make the right decision.

Be sure before jumping

  • First of all, ask yourself, do you really need a CRM?
  • Explore your own needs thoroughly – with both eyes fixed firmly on scalability, and the future.
  • It may sound like a no-brainer, but, research, research, research!
  • Get the best advice from the top CRM suppliers.
  • Ask the business experts – forums, established media, consultants.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues.
  • Know your budget and your expected ROI.
  • Be sure your staff is ready and willing to become engaged in the learning and onboarding process. If they’re not engaged, whichever CRM you choose will be a waste of time.
  • Take trials and online demonstrations.
  • Ensure the sales CRM you choose aligns with your sales process.

And if you’re still in doubt, let’s have a chat during a Teamgate Online Demo.

TOP TIP – When planning to choose a CRM for your company a good idea is to implement a CRM onboarding plan, which closely matches your vision for the company. Nominate one person, a CRM champion, to take control of the whole project, and act as a central collection point for all information and queries. One person with all the knowledge is far better than half a dozen with fragments of knowledge. 

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Abe Dearmer

Abe has a vast experience running multiple SaaS companies and is an expert on all things Sales, Marketing and SEO.

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