A CRM is a powerful business application—but if you want to get the most from your investment, choosing a platform that suits your specific business needs is essential.
Investing in a solid CRM will empower you to streamline your internal processes, keep track of your marketing and sales initiatives, and benchmark your commercial performance with pinpoint precision.
To help you make the right decision for your business, here is a rundown of five essential considerations you should make when choosing a CRM.
1. Consider your business objectives
To ensure your CRM offers maximum value and a strong ROI, setting your main objectives (ie the outcomes you want) is crucial. Our recent State of the CRM Market survey shows that 62% of companies choose customer relationship management platforms because of their features or functionality. While this is important, it’s unlikely your CRM will offer any real, sustainable value without setting your business goals and objectives for the year(s) ahead. You have to know why you’re investing in the software in the first place.
For instance, you might want a CRM that improves sales, marketing, and customer service, and some of your key outcomes might be reducing complaint resolution times and streamlining your sales pipeline.
Armed with this level of understanding, you will make a CRM choice that will help you meet all of your needs and, ultimately, accelerate the growth of your business.
2. Think about your long-term outcomes
Expanding on our previous point, when looking at a potential CRM, it’s also important to examine your long-term objectives and outcomes.
By looking further ahead and drilling down into what you want to achieve in a 3- or 4-year period, you’re likely to make an informed decision on whether a prospective solution can ensure you meet your expectations and scale seamlessly with your business. You want your CRM to be future proof and looking ahead to the future requirements and outcomes will help ensure you make an informed decision.
3. Your potential CRM’s level of services, support & partners
With your objectives / outcomes firmly in place, you should evaluate a potential CRM provider based on the partners they work with and the level of expertise they offer.
If a prospective CRM vendor works with partners that are reputable and aligned with your goals and has a team with expertise specific to your sector, it is likely to offer you a significant level of business-boosting value. Is there value for your to work with a CRM provider that implement its own solution and does not use third party?
To determine whether you’re onto a CRM winner, it’s important to do your research to understand the level of guidance and skills that comes with a potential solution while looking at reviews and case studies to ensure that they’re competent and reputable.
It’s vital to understand that creating a CRM that offers personal value to your business isn’t just a case of logging in and pressing the “on” button. A wealth of cultural, commercial, and technical initiatives must be implemented to earn real results.
The right CRM provider will work closely with your business to offer professional consultancy and get everything off the ground.
4. Outline your most pressing processes, challenges & pain points
Another key consideration to make when choosing the right CRM for your business is your internal processes, as well as your most pressing organisational challenges and pain points.
By mapping out your processes and defining which areas of the business require streamlining or improvement according to your objectives and outcomes, you will give your CRM decision a definitive direction.
In addition to that, you should be honest about your main challenges and pain points to ensure you select a solution that will help you tackle these roadblocks head-on.
Researching potential CRMs can seem daunting, but online resources like Capterra, Gartner’s Software Advice or G2 will help you research platforms according to specific business needs, outcomes, preferences, sectors, and categories. Conducting research using these resources will save you time while increasing your chances of connecting with the perfect CRM solution.
Bonus tip: Once you’ve made a list of potential vendors, you should explore their content archives, including articles, case studies, and industry reports, to gain a clear understanding of their expertise, business values, and experience. Talk to them, ask for references etc. and make sure you approach this with the due diligence it requires.
5. Look at your potential CRMs’ scope
Last but certainly not least, when you’re investing in a CRM, it always pays to commit to a provider that promises to act as a partner rather than a software vendor alone.
The right CRM provider will have the tools and technology to help you achieve your business goals and outcomes, but they will also have the experience and skills to collaborate with you.
Remember that CRM success depends on technology, people and processes. Your technology partner needs to accompany and advice you throughout your journey. You need to feel confident that you have the right partner alongside you to make the implementation a success.
A carefully selected vendor will become a valuable business partner that will ensure your CRM platform is tailored to your individual needs while helping you refine your processes and tackle potential roadblocks that come your way. That’s where the true value lies.
Using these essential considerations as a working guide, you will choose a solution that will improve your business not only immediately but also indefinitely.
To uncover these concepts in more detail, watch our webinar on how to select a CRM with CRM guru Paul Greenberg, Ultima Media’s MD Gavin Miller, and Workbooks CEO John Cheney.