CRM today plays a critical role in business success for companies large and small. But before taking the plunge, it’s vital – especially for small businesses – to map out what you need from a CRM solution and the size of your budget. . It pays to be cautious as wonderful as CRM is; bear in mind it’s an important investment in the future for your company. Start small and grow your CRM in line with your business. This CRM article will show you the most important key points on how to select the perfect CRM system for your small business.
What you will learn in this article
- Why you need a CRM system
- The benefits of CRM
- Things to consider before buying a CRM solution
- What questions to ask yourself first
- The eight key points to consider when choosing a CRM
Do small companies need CRM?
One sure red flag that indicates it’s time for a CRM system is when you find your customer information is scattered across dozens of spreadsheets. Another is finding yourself pinballing from one document to another and from one system to another to find customer or lead data. Worse still having to hunt down last week’s Post-It note. No matter the scale of your company, there comes a time when CRM is all but unavoidable.
What are the benefits you get from CRM?
If you wish to stay in the race in today’s highly competitive business world, CRM is undeniably the way forward. But what are the chief benefits? Here are some of the compelling benefits you can obtain:
- Keeping track of all your customer interactions
- Managing your marketing and sales efforts
- Maintaining solid relationships with your existing customers
- Finding and retaining new customers
- Selling more services and product
- Improving communication between your marketing and sales teams
Before choosing the right CRM vendor
Ensuring you go with the right provider is no mean task. There are so many considerations to juggle before you decide. And that’s after you have filtered your way through the various technologies and solutions that are available. There tends to be one crucial missing element in this blizzard of information and sales pitches – your business needs. Given the benefits of a CRM system, it’s easy to be swayed while not correctly addressing your company’s needs.
Indeed, this is usually the number one mistake made by small businesses. They are focused on evaluating the vendors and testing out various functionality without concentrating on their business needs and priorities. Evaluating your needs before you start contacting CRM vendors is the wisest move. If you have these drafted out, it makes the CRM selection process much easier and less stressful. You can then match your needs to the functionality of the CRM solutions on offer.
Before considering any CRM vendor, you should have clear answers to the following:
- What are your most inefficient business processes that CRM is supposed to improve?
- Which operational processes and workflows are lacking and need to be added?
- How many CRM seats do you need?
- What other software needs to integrate with a CRM system?
- What’s the budget?
8 key points to consider when choosing a CRM solution
Cloud vs. on-site
There are pros and cons to each. However, for small businesses unlikely to have the necessary skill sets in-house, a cloud-based CRM solution is the best option without question. The only downside is that everything is done online, so you need a robust internet connection to access your data.
Features and functionality
Every business is unique. Ensure the CRM solution you choose is flexible and can grow with your business. The best solutions are scalable and easy to upgrade as your business needs change. Be clear which features and functionality you immediately need, or you run the risk of paying for whistles and bells you don’t need.
Double-check that the CRM solution you are going to select integrates with the apps you already use. This includes all your back-end software like HR, your website, online forms, billing, e-commerce, marketing, etc.
Get a demo and ask for a free trial
Never rely on a marketing blurb. Always insist you get a live demo with a sales rep to walk you through the platform. This allows you to ask business-specific questions and decide on whether you want a free trial. If you wish to continue to a free trial, this gives you the chance to ‘play’ with the CRM solution and find out if it is a good fit for your business.
Choose an industry-specific CRM
If you can find a CRM that’s geared to your particular industry, great! Ask the vendor if they have existing customers in your niche and local partners to provide support.
Customization and training
Enquire about the costs involved in configuring your CRM system. Check, too, on training, preferably personalized rather than generic online learning.
How user-friendly and intuitive is the CRM solution. No one wants a clunky system users will hate with a vengeance.
If you are based in Europe or selling into the EU, you should confirm that the CRM system is compatible with GDPR, Europe’s privacy laws. A fully compatible system will massively reduce the risk of falling foul of the law.
CRM is today the number one investment for businesses wishing to tame their customer and contact information. And extract more business opportunities out of this mission-critical data. Deciding on a vendor is a tricky proposition when there are so many variables and factors in play. Your best bet is to contact our very own customer support. We promise we are a lovely bunch, and you will get a CRM solution that’s right for your business.