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”.
Decision makingBusinesses leaders have to make tough decisions, and choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, is among the toughest. As a business leader, you’ve realised that a CRM can enhance your ability to gather and manage leads; streamline and speed-up your sales process; track and analyse your team’s performance; manage all your communications, across multiple platforms; and, all while fully mobile. But, which CRM is best for you?
Not just another toolRemember, 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 questionsTo begin, you need to understand the problems you want to resolve, plus to analyse 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 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.
How to choose the right CRM softwareWhich system? – Firstly, you now know that you have a choice between a CRM on-premises system, and a cloud-based (SaaS) system.
The hardware-based 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.
Ignore the fluffThere 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.
Trust your own expertsIf you want to know how to choose 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 organisation – 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 are 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.