Guide to the best CRM solution and the features to look out for

Guide to the best CRM solution and the features to look out for

What is the best CRM solution for your business? No matter the size of your enterprise, companies focusing on customer relationship management are boosting sales. So, don’t get left behind. Your small business can benefit too by fuelling growth and freeing up time to sell to customers.

What you will learn in this article

  • How CRM can help your business
  • The top 4 questions you be asking before selecting a CRM solution
  • The top 8 features to look for
  • Your next move
  • Getting started with CRM

How CRM can boost your business

CRMs are being used in several different ways. However, most commonly, they are used to:

  • Grow revenue
  • Improve business processes
  • Better manage sales pipelines
  • Speed up deals being closed
  • Boosting sales performance
  • Converting more leads into paying customers
  • Automating business processes 
  • Improving customer experience

The questions to ask when CRM shopping

Being clued up on the right questions to ask will go a long way in ensuring you pick the right CRM provider. Here are the top 4 questions you must ask…and the answers you want to hear.

Is the platform user-friendly and intuitive?

Compared to spreadsheets and jotting down Post-It notes, any CRM is going to appear complicated. However, much time and energy have been spent trying to make these platforms as easy to use as possible.

Ultimately, you want the right mix of user-friendliness and features. In addition, you don’t want staff faced with a steep learning curve to get the hang of the CRM system. You don’t need to listen solely to a salesperson, of course. You can see for yourself how intuitive a system is with a free trial.

What is the level of customer support?

Running into a problem can cost money if it’s not resolved promptly. Check what customer support level is on offer. Ideally, you also want the option of live chat and phone support rather than just email alone. Check the company’s reputation for customer service on review sites.

What level of customization is available?

Every CRM system should offer a high level of customization to fit your business and your sales processes. Creating custom pipelines and fields is pretty standard, but check about which parts of your unique workflow you can automate.

What kind of reporting is available?

Reports and metrics are essential to see the ‘big picture.’ Draft a list of your must-have report metrics you need to track, then check this list against the CRM provider’s offer. You should be able to run reports efficiently and add them to your dashboard to keep track in real-time.

The top 8 features you need in a CRM

The CRM you select should be capable of the following nine functions:

  1. Sales pipeline visualization – The CRM system should provide a comprehensive overview of all your deals, which stage they are at, and when it’s time to close them.
  2. Communication tracking – You should be able to track in detail every customer contact across all your channels. And be in control of your scheduling.
  3. Automation – Automating time-consuming back-office tasks will allow you to free up staff time for other more profitable tasks.
  4. Insights and reports –  The ability to dive deep into your customized metrics for your business and measure performance against goals.
  5. Privacy and security – Don’t cut corners with business data. You want to have transparency on how and when your customer intelligence is being used.
  6. Mobile apps and integration – Confirm that the CRM is mobile-friendly and will integrate with all your existing apps and platforms that you use.
  7. Lead generation – The CRM system should have powerful tools to help you generate, track and manage new leads.
  8. GDPR compliant – Check that the CRM system is fully compliant with the EU’s GDPR privacy rules and other market-specific regulations with which you need to comply.

Your next move

Before drawing up a shortlist of CRM providers, there are a few steps to take first. These are:

  • Collect the evidence to support your CRM solution needs
  • Identify the essential CRM features your business will need
  • Double-check which tools the CRM can integrate with
  • Prepare a cost-benefit analysis
  • Develop an implementation roadmap
  • Rally internal support
  • Get buy-in from senior management, staff, and stakeholders

Getting started with CRM

Going down the CRM path is not nearly so daunting as it may seem at the outset. The golden rules are:

  • Have your business processes clearly defined and standardized
  • Know what problems you need to solve with CRM
  • Know what you want to achieve
  • Have company-wide buy-in from the outset

If you get these four right, you are well on your way to succeeding in your CRM implementation.


Small businesses can get just as much benefit from CRM as their much larger competitors. For small businesses, arguably the most feasible way into CRM is via a cloud-based CRM solution. These systems are based entirely online and, due to economies of scale, are surprisingly inexpensive. Not only are CRMs relatively affordable, but they are also easy to implement, and all the technical inputs are taken care of by the CRM provider. Contact us today to get the low down on making CRM a success for your small business.

Jul 03, 2022

Team Samdock

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