Some estimates reckon there are over 1000 CRM solutions on the market today. But how do small businesses select the right one? And why do you need one? For a better overview, here are 10 hot tips on how to find the best CRM for your small business.
What you will learn in this article
- Why small businesses need a CRM solution
- The factors influencing your choice
- 10 hot tips for selecting a CRM provider
- How to benefit more from your CRM system
- How to get started with CRM
Why small businesses need CRM
As a small business entrepreneur, you could be a little skeptical about CRM. But here are some great examples of what CRM features can do
- Capture lead info easily
- Automatically input lead data from social media
- Centralize your contact management on one platform
- Engage quickly with customers with built-in communication tools
- Manage deals via a visual sales pipeline
- Optimize processes and make data-based sales forecasts
The factors influencing your choice of CRM
Several factors come into play. But the very first step in selecting a CRM supplier is to draw up clearly defined business goals. Once you have this draft, you can then begin looking at CRM solutions. But not all CRM solutions are the same, it should be noted. The type most suitable for small businesses is a cloud-based CRM system.
10 hot tips on asking the right CRM solution questions
Cloud or on-site?
For small businesses, there’s only one winner here, and it’s cloud-based CRM. The main advantages are:
- Ease of deployment
- User-friendliness and being accessible anywhere
- Maintenance-free as the provider hosts it
In contrast, on-site solutions are:
- Hosted locally and need IT staff to run and maintain
- It takes longer to implement
Is it a SMARKETING solution?
Ensure any CRM solution allows you to align sales and marketing fully. Ideally, the CRM solution should provide you with automation for both sales and marketing. By unifying both, you create a single source of truth for all your customer data. CRM gets sales and marketing to work together rather than in isolation using different tools in blinkered data silos.
Does it use AI?
Artificial Intelligence is a powerful ally to help you and your teams work faster and smarter. Ensure there are built-in AI tools to automate lead generation, lead qualification, and generate actionable insights. For example, AI can score prospects allowing your sales team to concentrate on those most likely to convert.
Is it user-friendly?
CRM implementation hinges on user adoption, so the CRM must be easy to use and intuitive. Your users should not be presented with a learning curve that matches the Matterhorn. It should also be easy to configure to your unique business needs. A free trial will help you and your team decide if a CRM solution is a good fit.
Is it customizable?
Your business is unique, so be certain that any CRM software is fully customizable to fulfill your needs. You should be able to customize the system to be a perfect match for your sales and other business processes. It should also integrate well with your website and the various apps and platforms you currently use.
How easy is it to capture and engage leads?
Capturing prospects, as you know, is essential. But what’s more meaningful is how you go about it. And how much time that involves. Delve into how the system captures prospects and how you can then engage them. Look for email automation, built-in communication tools, and the ability to harvest publicly available customer data from social media.
Will the CRM system grow alongside your business?
As a small business, you need to be confident your CRM system can keep pace with your growth. Therefore, always choose a CRM that will scale up with your business needs. With cloud-based CRM solutions, this involves merely changing your subscription tier to suit your changed circumstances. This is much preferable to finding you have to transfer data and adopt an entirely new CRM system.
Is the CRM system mobile-friendly?
Make sure the CRM system is accessible from mobile devices. This is handy for when you are out of the office, particularly if you have staff on the move most of the time. Most CRM systems have free mobile app downloads. First, however, confirm that the app has the same functionality as the desktop version.
What security protects the CRM?
You are entrusting your customer data to a third party, so you want to be sure it’s going to be safe. Look for end-to-end encryption, a virtual private cloud, malware and spam protection, and GDPR compliance if you are based in, or sell into, the European Union.
Is it affordable?
Budget and upfront costs can often be a deal-breaker for small businesses. It’s for this reason that cloud-based CRM solutions are the best option for small companies. Cloud solutions are charged per user. But be sure to confirm if there are hidden charges that you need to factor into your running costs.
How to get started with CRM
By now, you can see why a cloud-based CRM solution is the best option for small businesses. So the next question is, what are you waiting for? Given the Return on Investment, there’s no such thing as jumping too early. Indeed, most small businesses will be left wondering why they didn’t go for CRM a lot sooner. The next step is drawing up your shortlist of vendors and trying out a few with free trials.
Choosing the perfect CRM vendor for your small business is not as daunting as you may envisage. Contact us today. We are the small business cloud CRM specialists and will get you on the right path to CRM success.