How to choose the best CRM for your business?

To choose a CRM for your business, first assess your budget, goals, and the features you need in a CRM. Use this data to choose the best CRM type for your business, then the best CRM within that CRM type. Finally, you perform a soft implementation of your chosen CRM to ensure it meets your business needs before making a final decision.

Points to consider:

1. Evaluate your budget

Any good business is constantly juggling costs and revenue so that the company’s efforts generate higher and higher profits. Therefore, choosing a CRM budget should be aligned with this plan. While most small business CRM plans start at around $10 to $50 per month, those prices can be misleading. This is because many CRM plans offer a fixed price per user.

If your company needs a CRM for 50 people, you often need to multiply that price per seat by the number of people who will be using the CRM.

So, look at how much your company can spend on a CRM in general. Then work backwards. To do this, determine how many people within your organization would need to be actively using the CRM and determine your overall budget for a CRM. From there, divide your overall budget by the number of people who will need to use your CRM to get a price per person that your business can afford.

2. Outline your goals

Look at your business and list your sales, customer service, or marketing weaknesses. These can be the basis of improvement objectives. From there, make a list of the goals you want to achieve when managing your relationships with potential customers. These goals could include increasing sales or all product lines or in particular, improving customer service, attracting more leads, or increasing the lifetime value of your customers.

While most CRMs have a standard set of key features like pipeline management and marketing automation, others have standout features that are better suited to certain businesses and their goals. Feature highlights can include, for example, advanced customer or lead segmentation, plenty of marketing automations, or ad tracking.

Your goals can help you decide which featured features you need when it’s time to focus on feature offerings.

3. Consult your team

Your team members are experts in how to do their job successfully and, more importantly, how their job can be done even more efficiently through additional processes. So, at the very least, consult with your marketing, sales, and customer service teams. Ask them to list their customer and leader relationship management goals in order of importance.

With the importance score, if compromises related to the budget must be made, it will be easier to outline a satisfactory solution.

Next, to make sure you don’t miss anything, dig deeper. Ask team members what constraints they currently experience when nurturing customers or driving to purchase, then turn those constraints into goals.

For example, if they report that they often lose track of who to contact and when to close more sales, ask them to turn that limitation into a goal, such as “better follow-up on contact opportunities to close more sales.”

4. List the must-have features

Now that you have a list of your and your team’s goals, you’re ready to list the CRM features that will help you achieve them. Be careful about asking team members to separately list their must-have features.

To get you started brainstorming your list, here are some common CRM features and functions:

Integrations – Integrations let you use third-party apps like Mailchimp or Outlook with your CRM to work and achieve business goals more seamlessly.
Sales analytics and reports: Analytics and reporting dashboards show you which goals you’re hitting and which aren’t, allowing you to change strategies to stay on track. They also report key data points to help you better target customer segments or potential customers and ultimately close sales.
Automations – Automations allow your team to scale customer and client management by automating repetitive tasks such as role assignments, email sequence outreach, data collection, and reporting.
Sales Forecasting – Many CRMs offer reports that forecast sales levels, helping you understand if you’re likely to meet your sales goals.
Email Marketing – Most CRMs offer email marketing tools and automations like email templates, email sequencing, automatic email personalization, and email tracking and reporting.
Collaboration Tools – To help businesses align sales, marketing, and customer service, many CRMs offer collaboration tools like Zoom integrations or real-time document collaboration capabilities.
Complaint Tickets – To scale great customer support, when integrated with website chat bots, CRMs receive complaints from customers or potential customers. They then offer content to help resolve issues or route those complaints to human representatives who can better resolve them.
Website Forms – Many CRMs offer website form templates that your team can use on your website to capture customer and lead data.
Lead and Customer Segmentation – Many CRMs offer the ability to easily segment leads and customers based on their purchase history or interaction with your brand. This enables your business to engage in personalized ways at scale.
Task Management – Using the task management features in a CRM, you can set reminders to help you better manage the nurturing of customers and leads. For example, you can set reminders to contact leads at certain intervals or assign leads to new reps once they reach certain stages in the lead pipeline.
Lead Scoring and Opportunity Management – This feature allows your team to instantly and automatically know which leads are most likely to buy from your company in the end. Knowing this score tells your sales reps which leads to prioritize.
Mobile CRM Apps – A mobile CRM allows your customer service and sales reps to reference and capture information about leads and customers, even if they are away from their offices. This added data visibility means that company representatives can deliver personalized experiences across all lead or customer interactions with your brand.
Call Center Automation – Call center automations help customer service representatives serve customers or prospects in a personalized way more easily. For example, when a person calls the center, based on their phone number, their contact records can appear on the screen automatically so reps can start a personalized conversation instantly.
Marketing Campaign Management: CRM campaign tools can include marketing analytics, campaign scheduling, social media and ad tracking, campaign workflows and email templates, and A/B campaign testing, among others.

5. Choose a type of CRM

With your goals, your team’s goals, and desired features in hand, choose a CRM type. See the list of CRM types in this guide. Find the one that most closely aligns with achieving your goals and offers the features you need to do so.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales and a common limitation of your team is not following up on outreach opportunities well enough, consider a collaborative CRM. However, if your team needs to attract or qualify more leads on your website, social channels, or via email, consider a marketing CRM.

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Gerard Heperd

Gerard Heperd