When it comes to picking a CRM you’re spoilt for choice, there’s something for everyone. It goes without saying that every CRM software says they’re the best but what you have to ask is - the best at what?
The definition of ‘best’ is, “of the most excellent or desirable type or quality.”
But what’s desirable to me is different from you. Not everyone finds running up mountains the ‘best’ way to relax. So how can every CRM software claim to be the best for everyone? Well, the simple answer is they can’t.
To find the best CRM for you, you have to step away from search and take the time to think.
Ask yourself these questions and the best CRM software for you will soon become clear.
This is a broad question to set your expectations and goals up front so you can measure ROI further down the line. It’ll help focus your search too. Your goals could be:
- Organize and manage your contacts.
- Increase customer satisfaction.
- Boost sales conversion rates
- Improve marketing efforts.
- Track business performance.
It could be one or all of these depending on your business. But when you identify your main goal, it’ll make the whole decision making process much easier.
Once you have your overarching goal, you can decide what features and functionality you need to get you there.
A lot of CRMs do a lot of stuff so it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when those nurture emails start filling your inbox. If you know what’s important to your business, you can filter through all the tips and tricks and focus on the areas that matter most. These areas might be:
You should look at how well a CRM integrates with your important apps. Make a list of all the apps you use, the data you need to show and check how easy and costly it is to connect them up to your CRM.
See how easy it is to customize your sales pipeline so it matches your sales process. Check the layout and functionality suits your business and work style too.
Check your marketing software integrates with the CRM and look at how the information is displayed - you don’t want to overload your contact records with streams of marketing data. It can quickly become unmanageable.
Understanding your customer is key here so it’s important your CRM collates all your customer conversations from different platforms in a cohesive way.
Reports are the most important feature to review. See how many are standardized in the CRM and the cost associated with customizing reports yourself.
A CRM should be a great organization tool for you as well as your customers so look at how easy it is to manage your calendars, tasks, projects, pre and post sales activities.
Once you know what the business needs, it’s always good to canvas opinion before you begin searching for a CRM. How easy this is depends on the size of your business.
If you’re sales focused, you need your salespeople to buy into your new CRM and use it. A CRM with bad data is no good to anyone.
Get them involved from the start, find out what data and functionality is important to them - is it the ease of adding opportunities, managing the pipeline, tracking conversations, seeing where the contact is located? You may be surprised to find that what you think is a minor feature is actually a game changer for them.
If you don’t have a sales team the same thinking applies, identify who’s the biggest user of the CRM and ask what data and functionality they need to make it useful.
If you run a small business you’ll no doubt be wearing a lot of hats so you’ll be best placed to know what each department needs now and in the future.
There are a lot of CRMs built with specific goals in mind so you get a very powerful CRM solution out of the box with quite a rigid structure. Great if you’re looking for a CRM to guide your management of sales and have little input from you.
It’s worth taking time to consider whether you’ll want more control of your processes as your business grows or diversifies. Some CRM solutions only open up customization if you upgrade so make sure you understand the packages and limitations before you implement.
Your CRM is a long term investment, you want it to grow with you. Every CRM has multiple packages with quite a range in cost. Depending on your budget, you might only focus on the basic solution now but it makes sense to review the top package too. Check it has everything you think you’ll need in the future - at the right price.
The last thing you want to do is start on a free or basic package, implement the CRM then realize the next level up is too expensive and have to start the process all over again.
There are some useful review sites to see what other people in your industry think about each CRM
There’s a little bit of thinking to do before you go seek a CRM solution but it is worthwhile as there’s quite a lot of choice out there.
Good luck with your search for the best CRM software. Remember, if you have a clear idea of what you need before you start looking, you’ll find the perfect fit in no time.