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How to select the right CRM system for your business in 2023?

Bijgewerkt op: 22 mrt.

The ultimate guide on the CRM selection process for your business

CRM examples: lead management, project management, sales management, customization, inventory management, integration, call, SMS, E-Mail

Selecting the ideal CRM software, tool or platform can be difficult with so many options available in the market. The selection process can be overwhelming with so many platforms, product descriptions, and technical jargon. To make the best decision and determine the best CRM software, tool or platform for your business, it's important to create a CRM selection checklist. This article will guide you through the process of creating a checklist and the essential criteria it needs to include.

Selecting the right CRM system for your needs

When choosing the best CRM software for your business, it's important to not just focus on your own demands and business priorities, but also to assess different CRM suppliers and try out different functionalities. Before selecting a CRM vendor, ask yourself important questions such as:

  • What are the most inefficient processes in our firm and what do we want to address with a CRM system?

  • What are the operational procedures and routines that we are missing and need to implement?

  • Who is going to use CRM in our company and how many users will we require?

  • What other software would we like to connect to a CRM system?

  • What is the size of our budget?

After doing this initial "soul-searching" and understanding why you need a CRM, it's time to focus on what you want in a CRM. Here are 3 of the best CRMs for any business:

Don't know what to choose? Have a look at our 5 minute reviews of Pipedrive, Engage Bay and Hubspot

Know your CRM needs - Features and Functionality

Selecting the ideal client management software for your company can be a daunting task, with so many options to choose from and each one offering a unique set of tools and features. However, we are here to help you navigate this process!

When deciding on a new CRM for your company, it's important to keep in mind a few things when making your pros and cons list. Before diving into the many CRM options available, take a close look at your business. Consider your company's goals and what pain points you want to resolve. Think about the number of users and their roles, and also consider the integration with other software. Lastly, consider your budget.

The average business takes 4-6 months to choose the right CRM. For larger enterprises, the process can take up to a year! The decision can be prolonged due to aggressive sales pitches by software companies. To avoid this, it's important to have a clear idea of what you're looking for and to conduct an internal review with key stakeholders such as executives, staff, and customers. By being well-prepared and asking the right questions, you can ensure a quicker and easier decision-making process.

Questions for your employees

When selecting a CRM, it's important to not only consider its potential benefits for upper management but also its ability to boost productivity and efficiency for the entire staff. To ensure that a CRM will meet the needs of all employees, gather feedback from them on how it can help them work faster and smarter. Some sample questions to ask staff include:

  • What are their primary duties and what tasks stand in the way of completing them

  • What resources they need more of and if they can describe their workflow and any bottlenecks

  • Tasks they'd like to see automated and what the most common difficulty they face with customers is

  • Who they communicate with most, how communication with customers and interdepartmental communication is

  • Which daily activities give them the most stress and which give them the most return

By gathering feedback from staff and understanding their needs, you can increase the chances of selecting a CRM that will be well-received and provide benefits to the entire company.

Questions for your executives

When it comes to selecting a CRM, it's important for executives to ensure that it adds strategic value to the business. To make the best decision, consider the following factors before choosing a CRM vendor:

  • Identify the most inefficient processes in your company and what you want to address with a CRM system

  • Determine what operational processes and workflows need to be added and who will be using the CRM, whether it needs to be a cross-departmental solution or one that specializes in one area

  • Visualize how you want to see your company's data, a CRM can generate a wide range of charts, metrics, and reports

  • Evaluate the level of automation you need and if the CRM needs to be tailored to your industry, such as Real estate, Healthcare, manufacturing or hospitality

  • Consider the time and resources required for implementation and training, as more functionality means more complexity and steeper learning curve.

By considering these factors, you can increase your chances of selecting the best CRM for your business and increase your ROI.

Seek Input from Customers

When it comes to understanding the client-facing aspect of your business, who better to consult than your customers themselves? By gathering information from online reviews, social media, and customer feedback forms, you can gain valuable insight into the customer experience when dealing with your business. Using this information, you can identify areas of improvement such as slow service, communication gaps, and other issues. By selecting the right CRM tool, you can address these problems and improve the overall customer experience.

CRM selection criteria

By conducting evaluations and gathering feedback from managers, staff, and customers, you can develop a clear understanding of what to look for in a CRM. This information can then be used to create a set of selection criteria for your CRM. By using these criteria, you can easily create a shortlist of platforms that meet your specific requirements. This approach will not only significantly shorten the CRM selection process but also increase the chances of selecting a CRM that addresses a real business problem and improves overall

How much does a CRM cost?

CRM software can have a wide range of pricing options, with most vendors using a subscription-based pricing strategy. The cost is determined by various factors, such as the number of users and the services offered. In general, you will pay a monthly cost per user, but some vendors charge a flat rate for a certain number of users. However, you may need to upgrade to a more expensive plan to handle the number of users you require or to access additional services. Depending on your company's needs, pricing can range from $10 per user per month to hundreds of dollars per month.

If your company doesn't have the funds to invest in CRM software, there are still options available to you. Many vendors provide free software trials, and there are also free versions of major CRM software available. These free versions may have a limit on the number of users or records or only have basic features.

Other CRM costs

When choosing a CRM, it's important to keep in mind that the cost goes beyond the initial price tag. The "total cost of operation" also includes unexpected costs that may arise during implementation. To ensure that you are getting the best value for your money, be aware of the following hidden costs:

  • Pricing Tiers: Be sure that the features you need are included in the pricing tier you can afford and consider if the CRM will remain cost-effective as your business grows.

  • Data Caps: Some CRMs use data caps to charge more for additional storage or contacts, so be sure to ask the vendor about any limits.

  • Integrations: Many CRM systems offer third-party apps and integrations that can enhance and customize the platform, but they come at a cost. Check the app stores for pricing and take note of the cost structure.

  • Data Migration: Transferring data to your CRM can take time and money, and some systems require ongoing data migration. Develop a data migration strategy to budget for these costs.

  • Customer Support: Some CRM platforms charge extra for customer support, so be aware of any limitations and additional costs for premium service options.

User Experience

User Experience explained by the words: useful, usable, findable, credible, desirable, accessible and valuable

When selecting a CRM, it's important to keep in mind that even the most advanced software is ineffective if your staff doesn't use it. User experience should be a top priority, as a cumbersome tool that employees dislike using can result in low adoption rates and potentially incorrect data.

To ensure a high adoption rate, it's essential to choose a CRM that is user-friendly and seamlessly integrates into your staff's routines. Many CRM vendors offer a 14-day trial period, which allows employees to test drive the product and evaluate its usability. If the platform is not user-friendly, it's not the right CRM solution for your business. Prioritizing user experience will lead to higher rates of adoption and improve overall performance.

Does it integrate with your other software?

Having too many technology tools can lead to inefficiency and confusion for employees as they have to switch between systems to complete tasks and enter data multiple times. A CRM can help streamline these technologies into a single platform, allowing for access to all third-party apps and integrations from a single dashboard, including email, social media accounts, and marketing tools.

When considering a CRM, it's important to check the app store to ensure that it can integrate with the tools that your business relies on most. This will help to simplify the technology stack and create a more efficient workflow for employees.

Mistakes to avoid in the CRM selection process

To ensure that your CRM investment yields the highest returns, it's important to avoid common mistakes made by organizations during the selection process. Here are 3 common pitfalls to watch out for:

1. Establish Clear CRM Goals:

Before implementing a CRM, it's essential to determine the goals for your new system. This includes identifying short-term and long-term objectives and creating a plan to measure the success of your CRM implementation.

To get the most out of your CRM, it's important to establish and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals. Some common objectives that a CRM can help achieve include:

  • Acquiring new clients

  • Improving marketing campaigns

  • Increasing sales and efficiency

Take the time to clearly define these objectives and how a CRM can assist in achieving them. This will ultimately lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) in the long run.

2. Neglecting the Needs of End-Users:

An essential aspect of successful CRM implementation is involving end-users in the process even before adoption. However, many businesses make the mistake of evaluating the CRM solely from the perspective of executives rather than the teams who will be using it.

It's crucial to educate end-users on how the CRM can be used to improve the business and achieve organizational goals such as revenue growth, cost reduction, process automation, and time management. Additionally, ensure that the CRM is accessible across various platforms, including mobile devices and desktop computers, as this will improve user adoption and satisfaction.

3. Overlooking Social Media Integration:

In today's highly connected world, customers expect an omnichannel experience, including social media integration. It's essential to choose a CRM software that can track and manage customer interactions across social media platforms. Ignoring this feature can lead to a lack of customer insight and hinder the overall success of the CRM tool. Avoid this pitfall by choosing a CRM that includes a robust social suite or has significant social media integrations to meet the needs of your business.

Customizing your CRM to your needs

CRM systems can provide significant improvements to efficiency, collaboration, and customer relationships, but it's crucial to ensure that it fits your business processes and needs. Customization options vary among vendors, from niche solutions that offer limited flexibility to enterprise systems that have a wide range of customization options.

Most CRMs offer the ability to customize certain entities and fields without the need for coding. It's important to have a basic understanding of the system's data structure to take full advantage of these options. Additionally, many vendors have an app store where you can find additional tools to further customize and enhance the capabilities of the CRM, providing a unique solution tailored to your specific business needs.

Safety of data is key

Data is crucial to the success of any business, and entrusting it to a CRM platform is a significant decision. With all customer information, including sensitive personal data, stored in one place, the risk of a data breach or cyber attack is high.

Therefore, it's essential to choose a CRM platform that prioritizes data security and has strict protocols in place to protect your company's valuable information. Avoid platforms that are not transparent about their security measures, as this should be considered as a warning sign.

5 Strategies for selecting the optimal CRM system for your company

1. Gain a comprehensive understanding of CRM

It's essential to have a clear understanding of what you're getting into when you are in the CRM selection process. A significant percentage of people are still uncertain about which CRM to use, and as a business owner, you can't afford to be in the dark about what CRM is.

To make an informed decision, it's crucial to learn everything there is to know about CRM, including its benefits, advantages, methodology, and best practices. Fortunately, CRM is a widely discussed business topic, and there's an abundance of information available. At CRM Picker, for instance, you can access our free CRM database, detailed overviews of the best CRM systems, comparison tools, articles, and other resources to aid you in the selection process of picking the right CRM. Remember, the first step in selecting CRM software is to understand what CRM is, and the software selection comes after determining your requirements.

2. Get your business requirements straight

The type of CRM solution and functionality you require will depend on your business needs. It's important to strive for a balance between the best CRM options and what your business actually requires. Before considering a CRM solution, determine whether it is necessary for your business or if customer experience management (CEM) software would be more beneficial. Although there is a difference between CRM and CEM, if budget allows, it can be beneficial to have both tools working together. However, if budget is an issue, prioritize CRM software, which has more features and capabilities.

Identify specific issues you are facing, such as:

  • Difficulty in obtaining customer data

  • Poor customer communication

  • Difficulties in attracting and retaining loyal customers

  • A long or extended sales cycle

  • Difficulty in managing agent scheduling

  • Poor visibility of agent performance

Use this information to determine your objectives and specifications. With this information, you can evaluate the different CRM options and select the one that best meets your needs.

3. Features and tools

When choosing a CRM, it's important to take into account the financial impact of any upgrades or added features. Be sure to consider the cost of upgrades and the monthly per-user base cost to determine if the CRM software fits within your budget. It's essential that your field team members have access to client information, can monitor the sales pipeline, and complete end-to-end activities from a mobile device to effectively build customer relationships and increase sales. Therefore, consider the mobile-friendliness of the CRM software.

The CRM software should have the capability for contact management, marketing automation, and lead tracking for tracking marketing campaigns and sales operations. Compare the offered capabilities and how data-driven and customer-centric each CRM company is. Find out if connecting with your existing task management systems, marketing automation solution providers, and other third-party software-as-a-service platforms can increase the CRM's capabilities and flexibility while saving you money. Check if the CRM's capabilities and features can scale with your business or if you can upgrade to a more advanced version if your business needs change.

4. Experience the CRM through a personalized demo and a free trial period

It's important to thoroughly evaluate a CRM system before making a decision. A good way to do this is by requesting a live or online personalized demonstration, followed by a free trial period. During the live demonstration, a salesperson can walk you through the product and show you how to use it, while also answering any specific questions you have about your company.

After the demonstration, use the trial version to gain a better understanding of how the system works and to assess its strengths and weaknesses. Consider factors such as ease of use, essential functionality, and expansion potential. It's also recommended to invite at least two vendors to present their CRM offerings, allowing you to compare and evaluate different options before making a final decision.

5. Factor in the CRM costs

When considering the cost of CRM software, it's important to note that the pricing can vary depending on the subscription plan and deployment method. Cloud-based CRM solutions, sold as SaaS, have become more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.

For SMBs, one cost-effective option is to start with a free CRM software, and then upgrade to a commercial solution as their business operations expand. A popular and highly-rated option for a free CRM is HubSpot CRM, which is also a top choice in the CRM category.

Select the right CRM tool for you

Selecting the right CRM for your business is not an easy task. Each business has unique needs and will define success differently. To find the best CRM software for your business, evaluate your business processes and create a checklist of essential CRM features. The best solution will meet those requirements and also be secure, customizable, user-friendly, and cost-effective.

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