The right CRM software can help your business thrive and grow by deepening your understanding of both existing and potential clients. It’s also a major investment and a pain in the butt to switch from one software to another, so you want to make sure you choose the right one the first time.
Here are five questions you can ask to ensure just that:
1. What are your goals for the CRM software?
Most CRM software can do a multitude of things, but each one is better at certain things than at others. Knowing what you want to accomplish with the CRM software helps you know what to look for when you’re comparing companies.
Some possible CRM goals include tracking leads, tracking existing clients, managing client relationships, and organizing business operations. And of course these goals all feed into something bigger—increased efficiency and profit.
2. Do you want on-premises CRM or cloud-based CRM?
Both options have their advantages. On-premises CRM is wholly owned by you and may be safer. It can also cost less in the long run, as there are no monthly fees.
Cloud-based software, on the other hand, is much simpler to set up and keep up to date. The monthly subscription fees vary wildly, costing anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars each month. Over time this cost can be more than the cost of setting up and maintaining an on-premises CRM system, but many business owners find the time and energy saved is worth the extra expense.
3. What do other companies in your industry use?
You shouldn’t choose a CRM software based entirely on what other companies use, but it’s a great place to start your search. Don’t only ask entrepreneurs in your industry either. Most CRM tools can be used by businesses in any industry. A specialized CRM software is only worthwhile in very specific industries.
When looking at a CRM company’s website you should also check their testimonials or clients list for companies similar to yours.
4. What other systems does the CRM software need to integrate with?
To maximize its usefulness your CRM software must connect to all your other business solutions, from your website and online shopping cart to your accounting software. This integration is what allows it to track and maintain customer relationships from beginning to end.
Most CRM software advertises compatibility with the most common solutions to these problems, but compatibility and true functionality are two very different things. Before you make a purchase, check out reviews and see what other business owners have said about the integration possibilities.
5. What quality is the reporting?
All the tracking and integration functionality in the world doesn’t matter if your CRM software can’t compile that data into useful reports. Good CRM software will be able to divide that data into both pre-built report formats and custom reports that focus on your business’s unique qualities.
Some of the most important reports your software should be able to generate include sales cycle reports, sales forecast reports, sales conversion reports, and pipeline reports. You should be able to filter the data in these reports using relevant keywords. The data should also be presented in a format that’s easy to understand.
Don’t be satisfied by reading the answers to these questions in other people’s reviews. Get a demo version of the software and test it out. Push it to the limits. Check every single feature. Ask the primary team that will be working with it to test it out as well. Collect as much usage data as humanly possible during your demo period. Then, and only then, decide what you want to do.
Your CRM software is a serious investment in your business, so treat it that way.