If the content is the flesh and blood of a website, CRM is its bones. It’s crucial for building an effective online business. It helps you gather all client interactions in one place and always keep your hand on the pulse of what’s happening.
Choosing a wrong CRM solution early on may mean huge losses for moving your website between systems later. Here’s how you should make your choice.
Define your needs and budget
There are virtually dozens of CRM systems out there. Going with the most expensive one may not always be the best choice. Especially so if you are a small business that cannot afford a handsome monthly fee.
Make up a list of features that you can’t do without before looking into any CRM and evaluating its budget. Here are some features that you may want to consider.
CRMs represent the lowest rungs of the sales funnel. But some have marketing features incorporated in them. Some can be easily integrated with your marketing software.
You may want to opt for a system that allows you to do marketing as well because it’s way cheaper. Why would you pay for two services if you can pay for two?
Some CRMs don’t offer a full range of marketing options but stick with sales focused ones. For instance, you can get the software to help your email marketing campaign on top of the regular sales features.
Some businesses have call centers. If your is the one that has, you need a solid call center solution.
This means phone call tracking for further analysis, reminders to call a client, and readily available scripts. Having all these features available on mobile doesn’t hurt either.
No business is run by a single man. The odds are, the client passes between anywhere from three to five people before the sale is closed.
“To ensure that your clients don’t wait for days before that happens, your CRM has to have workflow processing. Your employees should be able to pass tasks to one another without bugs or delays” – says Joanne Murray, Human Resources Manager at HR software.
Cloud vs. On-premise
The choice between cloud storage and storing all the data on your internal servers is an arbitrary one for many companies. Each option has benefits and problems to it.
Cloud storage is a bit less secure and requires a fee, but you won’t have to hire IT specialists to maintain the servers. All information will be accessible to you and ready for integration with clients.
Storing the data on-premise is more suitable for bigger companies that have enough data to justify maintaining hardware.
General Data Protection Regulation compliance dictates what you should do in order to protect your customers’ information. The best CRM software providers of 2019 must have tools that allow you to remove customers’ data from your database.
Besides the fact that it’s a fair thing to do, you can get sued for failing to delete customer’s data in the EU. This means having GDPR-ready tools is very handy for European businesses and those that take clients from Europe.
You can’t make your sales team great without detailed analysis. Here’s what good CRM might show you:
- Gross revenue
- Revenue per account
- Neglected accounts
- Number of active accounts
- Abandoned cart analysis
All CRMs have these features to some extent, but some have really good analytical tools. The odds are, you’ll pay significantly more for these CRMs.
The choice that you face is how many features do you need and what price are you willing to pay.
If you’ve been in operation for some time, you probably are using some business tools already. Whether it’s an accounting app, your website’s forms, or Office 365, you need the CRM you’re paying for to be easily and seamlessly connected to what you’re used to.
Look for companies that stress the fact that they’ll help you integrate all your software.
User experience & customization
The benefits of having a great CRM are dwarfed by the fact that it’s a mess. It may have a great report board, but if you can’t use it properly, it’s not worth a dime.
Look for CRMs that have an intuitive design and can be easily customized.
Look for industry-related CRMs
Some CRMs are specifically designed to be used in one niche. If yours is a non-conventional one, you might be better off looking at systems that have handled it before.
These will have the tools you need to succeed.
A great CRM company must have great support. This should be your first thing to do when you have narrowed down your list to a couple of candidates.
Talk to their support to see how helpful they are.
Get a demo
The ultimate advice on getting to know a CRM is requesting a demo. A trial version won’t cost you a dime but will give you an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the platform.
It’s okay to get a trial version of your top three candidates to see what feels best.
Choosing the best CRM
Picking the right CRM is not the easiest task, even though you might be tempted to think otherwise.
Don’t rush things. Don’t be afraid to tell the support to wait while you are testing another CRM. Consult this guide as you choose the CRM that is perfect for you.