Choosing a CRM that is right for your organisation is a massive decision. You will need to factor cost, scaling, customisation, on going support, development time and how it will help you reach your business goals.
Get the decision right, and you will improve your customer service, productivity and profitability. Get it wrong and you will spend more time making the CRM work, than the CRM working for you. We've put together a few ideas you should be considering when you are shopping around the competitive CRM software marketplace.
Your CRM needs to do more than keep your contacts organised. It needs to provide a wide range of tools to improve customer service, boost sales and produce excellent marketing campaigns.
You should consider if you need:
Marketing – Do you need to create email campaigns, design templates, automate communications and send mass SMS? Do you want to be able to segment your audiences by specific criteria such as location, age, product interests?
Sales and managing leads – You can find new customers by generating leads automatically from various customer interaction touch points. Your website visitors, sign ups, in-bound calls can all be tracked and sent communications automatically, increasing your chances of conversion.
Reporting – Your new CRM should be able to create reports on your organisations performance and provide insights on directions you can take in the future. Are you finding it difficult to generate leads, respond to customers or improve campaign performance? You can use reporting to find the bottleneck and establish a plan of action to improve your weaknesses.
You’ve likely decided to purchase a CRM because you believe it will solve problems your organisation is currently facing. You should try to prioritise which goals are most important as some CRM software will excel at some features and be weaker in others. The list below contains some common goals organisations hope to achieve.
- Improving customer relationships
- Outputting sophisticated reports
- Increasing productivity
- Increase profitability
- Tracking leads and interactions
- Automation configuration
- Organising business operations
What does your current software environment look like? Consider what you currently use for everyday email (Outlook, Gmail) Invoicing (Sage 200), reporting (Tableu, Power BI) campaign management (Mailchimp, SendGrid). Do these products integrate with your CRM? If not, can a plugin be developed for it at a realistic price?
You may need to export dynamic report files to Excel, but the CRM you are looking at can’t interface with your other systems out of the box.
Larger CRMs such as Dynamics 365 provide comprehensive integrations, especially as it becomes a part of the full Microsoft stack, so information can be seamlessly be transported from one product to the next.
Outlook 365 has a built-in client which can enable users to book appointments, import contacts, manage records and log interactions such as phone calls and emails. This powerful feature means customer data is more complete and the team can view all interactions, leading to improved communications and better customer satisfaction.
The hallmarks of a good CRM is one that can scale to the needs of the organisation in the present and the future. Consider the features you may need in the years to come, even if you won’t be using them now. For example, you may want to eventually expand your marketing team and want to setup campaigns and email automations that you have no use for now. When choosing a CRM, you should have this in mind because switching to a new solution later on is time consuming and costly.
Is the CRM you are looking to choose mobile ready, cloud based and benefit from regular updates? If none of these are ticked, these would be red flags that they aren’t looking to the future and you will be left behind before you even get started.
The cost of a CRM varies greatly. Developers are increasingly trying to deliver subscription-based pricing models. This can be good for smaller organisations as they only use what they need and can pay more when they need it on a per user per month basis, offering maximum flexibility.
Purchasing a CRM is one of the most important investments your organisation will make. It’s critical you do your homework and consider all the factors that will have a business impact. Picking a CRM from a large developer will provide you with more 1st and 3rd party support and tighter integration with other systems. A smaller CRM developer will lack these but may offer a feature that isn’t offered anywhere else in the CRM marketplace.
We hope that this post provided some pointers to consider when choosing a CRM to take your organisation forward.