In today’s fast-paced digital world, a reliable CRM system is a necessity for any customer-serving business to be successful. However, choosing a crm that fits the specific needs of your company can be a daunting challenge.
Managing your customer or client lists using Excel spreadsheets, trying to connect the dots between disconnected platforms, or using out-dated and unsupported software, is simply not viable if you want to grow your business!
With so many things to consider when choosing a CRM for your business, including price, customer support and follow-up service, the critical first step is to fully evaluate your specific business needs, and then match those needs to the various offerings that are within your budget.
What We’ll Cover
Learn how to choose the right CRM for your business in this practical guide.
- Key CRM Questions to Ask Yourself
- Cloud CRM or On-Premise Deployment
- Identifying Needs & Functionalities
- 3rd Party Integrations
Key CRM Questions to Ask Yourself
The biggest mistake many companies make when selecting a CRM system is focusing first
on vendor reviews, feature differences and price, instead of first identifying and focusing
on their specific needs and business priorities.
Before evaluating CRM vendors and product offerings start by asking these questions
within your leadership team:
- What inefficient processes are you trying to improve with a CRM system?
- What operational process and workflows are you currently lacking?
- Who is going to use the CRM, and how will they use it?
- Cloud-based CRM service, or self-hosted on your own premises?
- What integrations with your other systems and software do we require?
- What is your overall budget?
Only after you reach a consensus on why you need to select a CRM, and your specific
requirements, should you begin discussing specific offerings and evaluating vendors
Cloud CRM or On-Premise Deployment?
With a Cloud-Based CRM Solution, you do not need your own server, or on-site technical
expertise, to install, operate or manage it. You simply log into the cloud-based
CRM using your favorite web browser and you are ready to go. All your client information
resides on the vendor’s server.
However, you must have an internet connection to access the service. This is no different
than other common cloud services such as Gmail or Netflix.
Most popular cloud CRM’s today also have a Mobile CRM app, which enables you to
access your data through your mobile device and cellular network when an internet
connection isn’t available, and from anywhere at anytime.
With an On-premise CRM solution, you install the software on your own server, which is
typically based at your location. This option provides direct access to the servers if you
need to integrate with other applications. However, you will need to have in-house
expertise to install and maintain the software, as well as the upfront costs of purchasing
the necessary hardware and operating systems.
Identify Must-Have Features & Functionalities
Your business has unique processes, customer base, and growth dynamics. Committing
to a predefined set of standard, basic or inflexible functions is not a sound choice for longterm success. Look for a customizable CRM that can evolve and grow along with your business.
If a CRM offers different ‘Levels’ can it be easily upgraded to the next version? What
additional functionality does that provide?
Another consideration is that some CRM software comes loaded with many functions and
features you may never use, but are included to appeal to a wide spectrum of business
Be careful about paying for too many functions you will never need or use.
According to a survey conducted by Software Advice, first-time CRM buyers often
overestimate what features they actually need.
Many SMBs are expecting to pay around $70 to $75 per user per month for a robust CRM
system, but they may be overestimating both their own needs and the price they should pay
This comes back to one of our basic initial questions… Who is going to use the CRM? Are
there different needs between user groups in your organization?
An all-inclusive CRM may be a wise choice if it can meet the needs of all your different
user groups, such as Sales, Marketing and Customer Service teams.
This is one of the most important considerations when beginning the process of choosing
a CRM for your business.
Deploying a CRM should simplify and streamline your business processes, not complicate
them because your other software will not communicate or integrate with your CRM
You need to ensure that the CRM you select can integrate with all the other
applications you are already using.
In addition to common integrations like Outlook Mail and Excel, your new CRM should
also seamlessly integrate with your accounting software, HR software, and even your
website so forms can import new leads, billing and e-commerce platforms to register
transactions, and of course your marketing and customer service platforms.
Selecting a CRM Provider
Choosing the right CRM for your business is a crucial decision that can impact your customer relationships and overall success. Start by evaluating your specific needs, priorities, and budget before checking out potential vendors and offerings. Ensure that your chosen CRM can easily integrate with your current systems, including your website, billing, and marketing platforms. Look for must-have features and functionalities that can help your teams work more effectively and drive growth.
Taking the time to make an informed decision will help you choose a CRM that simplifies your processes, improves your business operations, and supports your long-term success.