Customer relationship management software platforms (CRMs) are a great way to interact with customers and keep everything organized. However, there are a ton of options on the market—which one is the best fit for your business?
When choosing a CRM, the task can seem daunting. This is the program through which you’ll serve your customers, the bread and butter of your business. On one hand, many CRMs seem the same, but ironically, they can also feel wildly different once you click around the interface. By going through the following steps and weighing your options carefully, you can choose the CRM that does the work for you instead of the other way around.
- Decide what your goals are. Are you planning on using your CRM from start to finish of the customer process, or are you really just looking for glorified accounting software? By deciding what you’re hoping to get out of your CRM, you can narrow down the field. CRMs can perform a wide variety of tasks, including tracking leads, sending contracts, generating reports, communicating between teammates, creating a project file, sending invoices, or all of the above.
- Look into what your industry typically uses. Some industries have CRMs that are industry-specific and widely accepted, such as Honeybook for wedding photographers. Some CRMs are more general and can be adapted to your specific field. You probably want a CRM that has some flexibility, but having an industry-specific option could help your business stay clear and organized.
- Decide on the “ease of use” factor. At the end of the day, CRMs will take some time to learn and implement. But some will seem a lot more basic than others. Do you want fancy features, or do you want to be able to learn it in an hour? There are obviously pros and cons on either end of the spectrum, but if you know what you want ahead of time, you should be able to tell within a free demo period if a CRM is going to take longer to learn than you were hoping. If you’re going to be training employees or clients, that will take additional time as well.
- Investigate the level of support they offer. Does the CRM you’re interested in have webinars, a 24/7 help desk, or a robot chat? When you have a customer who can’t figure out how to sign your contract, having readily available help will be a must.
- Evaluate the cost. CRMs can vary widely and offer a variety of payment plans. Consider signing on with a month-to-month plan for the first 60 or 90 days before deciding if you’re ready to invest for a full year.