Having an efficient customer relationship management (CRM) software tool in place is vital for any growing business and especially startups.
Long gone are the days of needing to scour through hundreds of spreadsheets in order to navigate your customer data, constantly hopping from one document or system to another. As startups embrace the many benefits of CRM software, it is still smart to choose one that aligns best with your specific business requirements.
At first, you will need to understand the full extent of a CRM’s functionality because there are so many different solutions to choose from in today’s market. The bestselling software will have additional features to support social media channels, blogs, product and tracking referrals as well as help customise online forms.
So, along with the need to consider cost, scalability and business value, deciding which type of CRM system is right for your company can be a difficult decision.
In this article, we offer a few practical tips on how to identify which type of CRM system is right for your business.
In general, CRM systems offer a range of benefits – regardless of how big or small your business may be. Thanks to ever-advancing technology, CRM software continues to evolve in leaps and bounds enabling you to keep on top of multiple business components a lot more easily. Whether it be to:
- keep track of customer interactions
- Improve overall productivity
- maintain strong relationships with existing customers
- sell more products, and
- help you stay in control of your combined marketing efforts.
Cloud vs On-Premise
The first thing you will need to decide is how you want your CRM software to be hosted.
With cloud-based SaaS CRM solutions, access will rely on having an internet connection at all times, with all of your company’s information being stored on the vendor’s server.
On-premise solutions, on the other hand, mean that you will own the software and physically host it at your place of work. As such, this will provide you with direct access to the servers and will avoid any potential extra costs in terms of recurrent subscription charges. However, you will need to hire in-house IT personnel to ensure it keeps running over correctly.
In simple terms, the right CRM system for your business will be the one that is most flexible and able to evolve as you scale upwards.
Think about the Functionality
While on the topic of investing in a flexible CRM solution, it’s important to consider the system’s functionality when making this decision. Just because a certain form of CRM software comes with a ton of functions, for example, ask yourself whether you actually need all of them.
While you will want to invest in a solution that can easily be upgraded, it can be all too easy to pay over the odds for a system with a number of features you don’t actually use – regardless of how big your company gets.
Therefore, try and steer away from any ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions you see. Instead, choose a CRM system that can adapt and grow with your needs.
Integrate Other Applications
CRM systems are designed to streamline business operations, not make them more unnecessarily complicated. Therefore, it’s important to only ever choose solutions that complement and seamlessly integrate with the other applications you already use.
Whether it be Office 365 or Google G-Suite, the best CRM system for your business will be the one that can incorporate every form of software you use already – from any legal accounting software you use to any HR platforms your staff rely upon. As such, it’s generally a good idea to double-check whether you can not only migrate your existing data into the new CRM system you’re thinking of using, but also export it easily once it’s been set up. If you can’t, look for an alternative option.
Utilise Free Trial Opportunities
Free trials are there for a reason. So, rather than going all gung-ho and purchasing a CRM system right away, give it a try first.
Alternatively, before committing to a purchase, ask somebody to walk you through the software and how to use it. That way, you will be able to ask any specific questions you might have and get a much firmer idea of how the software could work in your business.
Then, once you have your hands on the software, ask yourself questions like: how easy is this to use? Can I navigate it easily? What are some of its key functions? Understanding the answers to these questions will let you know whether the system is right for you or not.
Always Remember GDPR
One of the most important things you’ll need to consider when deciding which CRM software to use is whether it has GDPR functionality or not. If it does, this will allow you to help manage customer data a lot more efficiently, allowing you to quickly add or delete data as and when they wish.
What’s more, having this functionality will also lessen the likelihood of human error, since all your customer data will be seamlessly accessible through a one-click solution instead of a large, cumbersome database or spreadsheet.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, the right CRM system can make a big difference to your business’s success. As such, it’s important not to rush in and hastily decide on one that, over the long run, you may find isn’t right for you.
Instead, take the time to really look at the various options available, take advantage of free trials and demonstrations beforehand, ultimately, weighing up whether all the features and gadgetry available are actually relevant to your specific business.