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How to Choose a CRM

CRMs, or customer relationship management software, “are generally designed to streamline and improve customer interaction, the sales process, and the running of marketing campaigns. They do this by improving efficiencies across workflow and the sales pipeline – automating tasks, and analyzing data.” According to Nucleus Research, the average return from CRM use is $8.71 for every dollar spent. In addition to this increase in return, CRM implementation increases productivity by streamlining workflow and organizing business processes. Furthermore, “A CRM gathers customer interactions across all channels in one place. Managing centralized data helps businesses improve customer experience, satisfaction, retention and service.” These obvious benefits make utilizing a CRM an obvious decision, but how to choose the right platform for you can become a little more complicated.  

Here are some tips to lead you in the right direction. 

1. Identify Goals 

When choosing a CRM, it’s helpful to first identify the goals that you want the software to accomplish. What will be its primary function? How do you intend to use and integrate the CRM into your current business practices? What benefits are you looking to gain? What are you hoping to accomplish with the addition of a CRM? Knowing what you want and what you need will help direct you to choose the right platform.  

2. Understand and Prepare for the Implementation of the CRM 

The implementation of a new CRM system can be a daunting task as you need to migrate your data from your old systems to the CRM. This process of data migration may seem intimidating but can be tackled by adhering to certain steps. First, analyze and organize your data before you begin the migration process. It’s helpful to know what you are translating and ensure that data exists in neat, cohesive sets that can be easily accessed. Next, set a realistic timeline for the transfer. And finally, make sure to backup your data before you begin the process. Mistakes do happen and knowing you have a safe and secure backup of your data will help the process along in a safe and approachable fashion. 

3. Ensure a User-Friendly Option 

The CRM you choose will be used by all the members of your team, so you want to make sure you pick an option that is user-friendly and easy to operate. You want to make sure that all your employees will smoothly be able to transfer their work processes to the new system so choosing one that is inviting and user-friendly is an important consideration. 

4. Consider Scalability 

You want to be able to grow your business with your CRM, so you need to make sure the CRM you choose can grow with you. Look at it’s long-term capabilities and how it handles growth to ensure that as your company grows your CRM is poised, ready, and willing to be along for the ride. 

5. Identify 3rd Party Applications and Integrations   

A CRM should integrate all your systems into one easily accessible place. With this in mind, it’s important to choose a system that allows for 3rd party integrations so you can easily connect all your working platforms. “A CRM integration is the seamless connectivity between your customer relationship management (CRM) software and third-party applications. Integrations result in automated actions that expand the functionality of your software, eliminating the need to toggle back and forth between systems.” Some basic integrations should include email, calendar, social media, and marketing automation. More advanced integrations should allow you to connect prospecting software, such as SourceScrub, which is a third-party tool that helps identify and engage with potential prospects. Knowing how your CRM can handle connectivity across all the systems you use is an important factor to consider when choosing a CRM. 

Choosing a CRM is a process that requires directed thought and consideration. You want to choose a platform that will work for your employees, your customers, and all your business processes. To help aid this process along you should first identify the goals you want to achieve with a CRM system and then consider which platform will help you meet those goals. Once you do that other things to consider are implementation, user-friendly options, scalability, and 3rd party integrations. By considering all these factors you should be able to find the best CRM for your business and get the most out of what customer management software has to offer.  

How to choose a CRM

Sources: 

What is CRM? Definition & Beginner’s Guide to CRM, https://crm.org/crmland/what-is-a-crm 

CRM Pays Back $8.71 for Every Dollar Spent, https://nucleusresearch.com/research/single/crm-pays-back-8-71-for-every-dollar-spent/ 

15 Key Integrations Between CRM & Your Other Business Processes, https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/crm-integration