Implementing a customer relationship management system is a mission-critical decision for any small companies. So, you want to be sure you’re picking the best CRM for your business. Your entire organization is riding on the success of your CRM selection. Get it right, and you set off a company-wide transformation in cutting costs, saving time, and even boosting staff morale.
What you will learn in this article
- What to weigh up when picking a CRM solution that’s right for you
- Defining your research criteria
- 4 great moves when choosing a CRM system
- Why cloud-based CRM is best for small business
- Getting started with CRM
What to consider when CRM shopping
Choosing the best CRM solution for your business is easier than you may think. Here we look at four vital questions you need to answer.
- Determine your problems – The first step is defining what problems you need to solve and what you wish to achieve with a CRM system. Next, pinpoint and analyze shortcomings in sales and marketing and how these impact the rest of your business operation.
- Ensure the CRM system can grow with your business – As well as planning for the present, you should also have an eye on the future. On-site CRM is notorious for being difficult and expensive to scale upward. All small businesses are different. However, with a cloud-based CRM, you can start small and expand as required without changing the system.
- Take a holistic view – CRM is much more than just sales and marketing. There are opportunities to improve other business areas by having one central platform for working and sharing information. For example, getting your customer service team onto the CRM system vastly improves the customer experience from end-to-end. But ultimately, your entire organization stands to gain by developing a more customer-focused approach. Unlike standalone options, a CRM system that integrates across your company helps you to link the actionable insights to marketing, sales, customer service, and beyond.
- Decide on on-site or cloud CRM – For a small business, the most practical answer is the latter, cloud CRM. An on-site solution involves hosting the CRM on your servers and having IT personnel run and maintain the system.
Defining your research criteria
Based on your answers to the above, you now figure out your requirements thus:
- Must-haves: What is essential? The ability to scale up?*
- Should haves: Important, but not deal breakers. For example, mobile functionality is a plus but not essential for every company.
- Nice to haves: Features that would be handy but not crucial to have from the outset. You can always add these later.
*The basic functionality in the must-haves include:
- Contact management – This is a central store of contact details accessible to the whole sales team.
- Opportunity management – Pipeline tracking to ensure there are no avoidable hold-ups.
- Reporting – The ability to gain insights and make informed data-driven business decisions.
- Sales management – The ability to boss your entire sales efforts across the board.
4 great moves you need to make when choosing a CRM system
The next step is to drill deeper into your shortlist of possible CRM candidates. Here are four killer moves to make.
Reviews by experts and analysts – Trawl the internet for pros and cons. But be careful and only pay heed to recognized authorities, like Gartner Group, etc.
CRM reviews – Several respected review sites focus on business software. The reviews are written by users with first-hand experience of the systems. The larger review sites, by definition, have the most reviews. So the volume of ratings and reviews should give you some level of assurance as to their honesty and value. Put more weight on the star ratings than the latest vocal outpourings. A CRM solution with only a few reviews should make you wary.
CRM case studies – These are a great way to gauge if a CRM system will be suitable for your business. Try to find a case study involving a similar company to yours. And then check out the problem being addressed and how the CRM solution solved it.
Always opt for the free trial – These place you under no obligation and are the best method of determining how straightforward and intuitive the CRM system is to use. Combine this free trial with expert advice to arrive at your final selection.
Why cloud-based CRM is best for small companies
Most small businesses opt for cloud CRM as it is:
- easier to implement
- does not require dedicated IT staff or in-house servers
Furthermore, opting for a cloud-based solution means that you have:
- built-in backups and disaster recovery
- low capital investment costs
- cross-platform compatibility
- mobility as it is web-based
- Typically, a cloud-based CRM solution is intuitive and user-friendly. It will also work on smartphones and tablets whenever you are out of the office and have an internet connection available.
And if you have a mix of PCs and Macs, a cloud CRM works on both.
Getting started with CRM
There’s no need to fear the unknown. Indeed, you can try out CRM before you buy with a free trial. You typically have 14 days to evaluate the CRM provider’s system. After that, you should have enough time to decide whether you like the cut of their jib. And whether CRM is right for your small business.
As mentioned previously, you can reduce the size of the field by concentrating on cloud CRM providers. A CRM demo account will prove to be the best test drive you have taken in a long time.
Choosing the right CRM system for your small business needn’t be the complex and risk-filled nightmare that keeps you awake at night. Using this guide, you can be confident that you will find a CRM solution that’s the perfect fit. Contact us for advice. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small business. We’ll even offer a free trial to see what we can do for you and your company.