Businesses want to manage every stage of the sales process in an organized fashion. Important notes and data that are lost due to an inefficient system can mean a loss of revenue over time. The use of customer relationship management (CRM) helps keep track of this valuable information in a way that’s easy to use and access.
When choosing a CRM, you have to consider a number of factors to determine whether the system you choose can meet all your needs. Here are some of the important factors to consider when choosing a sales CRM.
Before any other consideration, you need to first define your objectives:
- Is it necessary to have a CRM?
- Can your business afford the system that supports the features you need?
Small teams might be able to get along without a fully-loaded CRM solution. But if you determine that you need a CRM, it’s necessary to shop around for a solution that directly relates to your most important objectives.
Ultimately, the reason you invest in a CRM is to help grow and improve your business. You need to find a CRM solution that can grow with you as you add on new employees and expand your service offerings. When shopping around, determine the answer to these questions:
- Is it easy to add new members to your CRM?
- What’s the cost associated with adding additional users?
It’s better to plan for growth than to have to redesign the system completely at a later date. When trying to sell a more expensive CRM to upper management, you can mention the cost and time savings associated with scalability.
There are two types of deployment approaches with regards to CRM implementation:
- On-site solution: the software is installed on company’s server
- On-demand solution: usually involves cloud-based CRM or software as a service (SaaS)
The on-site solution can give you the higher level of security and more control over data. It also tends to mean more customization and integration with other business applications that your company may be using.
An on-demand solution or cloud-based CRM tends to be much less expensive. Because of this, there’s a lower level of security and less control on data and customization. However, this kind of CRM tends to be a lot faster to implement.
Just like when buying any other product, you should always consider the reputation of the brand offering CRM solutions. When doing research, be sure to consider:
- Carefully analyzed product reviews and customer feedback
- Online rankings and reviews by professionals
- Comparisons with other CRM manufacturers
These factors will help you choose the best CRM based on other people’s experiences and not just the features and benefits advertised by the CRM’s company.
Despite all of the great features of a fully powered sales CRM, price can serve as the most important consideration.
For small businesses especially, it’s an important consideration of any IT-related purchasing decision. Besides immediate costs (and recurring monthly costs), it’s also important to consider long-term costs. If you opt for a customized solution, you’ll have to factor in the cost of a developer and any unexpected costs the business will incur if anything goes wrong.
When determining whether or not a price makes sense for your company, consider the long-term benefits of your desired CRM. Don’t underestimate the benefits of easy access to important customer information!
In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll continue the discussion of sales CRMs by focusing on a popular option that many top sales organizations swear by: Salesforce!