CRM software is a viable, and somewhat logical choice, for companies that want to build better relations with customers, increase customer conversion, retention and loyalty. At the same time, this software solution will improve efficiency in marketing, sales and service departments while taking a huge workload off your staff, thus freeing up their time.
When you are choosing the best CRM software for your business, it’s important to pay attention to several things. If you don’t, you will be entering a risky investment, the one that can easily turn into a useless piece of software that nobody uses. Here are the six steps to choose the best one for your business.
Define your Business Goals
This is the most important step when looking for a new business software, and CRM tools are no exception. Why is this? Well, the CRM solutions found on the market are quite different from one another, and while some may have specific features, others will not. And your business goals, needs and requirements will help you build the optimal CRM feature wishlist.
For instance, if your operation lacks effective collaboration, then you will look for a CRM solution with top-notch collaboration features. The other common goals for businesses interested investing in CRM are tracking leads, customers base and opportunities, relationship management, advanced analytics and reporting, business process optimization, increased ROI and productivity.
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On-Premises or In the Cloud
CRM solutions come in two basic forms. They are either installed on your corporate computers, also known as on-remises, or they are hosted on the software vendor’s servers, known as cloud-based CRM tools. Each of these options has its own pros and cons, but the latest trends do point us in the direction of cloud-based solutions.
Why? Because the implementation period of these solutions is significantly shorter than the one of on-premises tools. Besides, with cloud-based tools you won’t have to invest a single buck into your IT infrastructure, nor will you have to worry about data security, software patching and updates.
The worst thing that you can do after purchasing the software is to let your employees study it on their own. These tools have grown into quite sophisticated solutions with features that people without previous experience with CRM tools or technical knowledge can’t use to the fullest. If you take a shortcut here, your ROI metrics will crumble.
So what should you do? Organize training for your staff. Some organizations can experience resistance because of this radical change – some of the sales reps and sales managers might feel threatened, as they are about to share all their client information and make it available to anyone.
To avoid this, just explain how the software works. Once they find out about user privilege rights and that they will still be the “owners” of their client data, they will become more cooperative and willing to learn. Go with them through each feature and make sure they understand the basic functionality of all of them. Organize further training to extend their knowledge, and continue to do so until everyone is completely onboard with the new solution.
If the vendor releases a new feature, make sure to find out how to use it in your organization and address it in a brief training session.
Check the Customization Capabilities
This is very important step because business processes are what makes companies unique, and without a solution that can be customized to reflect your business logic, you won’t be able to get the most out of it. Some tools will enable you to model, execute and monitor processes while the others don’t have this functionality. If you want to have it, look for process-driven CRM solutions.
The customization will also help you to stay focused on the most important metrics. The latest CRM software on the market allows users to take full control over the Dashboard. This feature alone is very useful, as every role in your business hierarchy can have access to a unique Dashboard, displaying data particularly useful for that role.
Free Trial is a Must
The old “don’t buy pig in the poke” definitely applies to any business software. Fortunately for you, the CRM tool vendors have recognized the value of allowing the potential customers to test the product before they decide to buy it. We advise you to take advantage of it, as it is very important.
This is your only chance to test the product before you buy it. Check out all the features that interest you, specifically the ones that align with your business goals and needs. See how it looks and feels to use them. Invite your managers and other staff to test it too.
Organize a meeting to discuss all the viable options and pros and cons of each one of them. This will significantly reduce the margin of error and you will be able to handpick the best solution for your business.
Check the Scalability
While the CRM software will definitely increase your business agility and prepare you to respond to all kinds of shifts taking place on the market, it should also offer flexibility in terms of scalability. When you start your research, you will discover that some of the CRM vendors have different subscription plans. Plans differ from each other in terms of how many users can use the platform and which features they have access to.
Before you reach your final decision, make sure to check how smoothly you can go from plan to plan and does switching plans come with some penalties. While it may seem unnecessary to pursue this kind of mobility today, it might prove essential once your business starts to grow
This entire process is very important. Make sure to devote enough time for each one of these steps if you want to be able to reap all the benefits CRM platforms have to offer. Going with one that best suits your business model is a great start on your way to building and growing your company.