How To Choose A CRM In Six Easy Steps

The competitive landscape of any industry is as oversaturated as ever. Great customer relationships is the key to establishing  your business in the marketplace. This is where customer relationship management, or CRM, comes in. A CRM can help business owners manage relationships with their customer base, track potential customers throughout the sales pipeline, manage leads, track sales and collaborate between various company departments. However, a system this important can be overwhelming. Forbes Advisors Jennifer Simsonson,  Cassie Bottorff share some steps to follow so you can find the best fit CRM system for your business.

Step 1: Know Your Priorities and Goals
“It is imperative to know why you want a CRM system in the first place. A CRM system can only help your business if you outline clear goals. Business goals could vary from expanding product lines to increasing revenue to strengthening customer service. After identifying business goals, consider how a CRM system could help you reach those goals.”

Step 2: Find Your Team Members’ Needs
“It is important to identify exactly who will be using the system and why. Sales and marketing departments are generally the main users of CRM software, however, every department should have input in the decision-making process for the system to work seamlessly. Ask each team member what their needs are and how they think the software system could help them perform their duties.”

Step 3: Determine Important Features
“The sheer volume of CRM features and tools is overwhelming. Take control of the situation by making a list of what you are looking for before you begin the search. Compile the information gathered from team members, along with your business goals and timeline markers to create the list. No matter what your focus is, make sure robust data security and customer support features are on the must-have list.”

Step 4: Examine Different Types of CRM
“While all CRM systems should help you develop better relationships with your customer base (hence the name), there is no one-size-fits-all system. CRM solutions can vary widely depending on the features they focus on. The three major types of CRM are collaborative (providing a seamless customer experience through the various departments of a company), operational (streamlining the customer relations process), and analytical (analyzing your customers’ data, providing a deep insight into their buying behavior and purchasing trends).

Step 5: Create a Budget
“Another way to whittle down the plethora of companies is to set a budget at the onset to give you search parameters. This will give you a clear ceiling, and eliminate options that live outside your predetermined budget.”

Step 6: Research the Vendor
“Once your search is narrowed down to a handful of options, start researching those options. There are a few key things you can use to determine if a platform will be a good fit for your needs such as user reviews, word of mouth trade publications, and independent software comparisons. Once you have narrowed down your search to one software provider, test it out to make sure it works for your company. Most CRM vendors offer a free full-feature trial of their product. Take advantage of this to ensure the system meets your business requirements and expectations.”


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