One of the key things to keep in mind when looking for CRM software is how well it fits your company. Whether it be contact management, integrations with emails and other systems, or reporting, the closer it is to your needs out-of-the-box the better and more affordable it will be.
To make an educated decision, you’ll went to understand two things:
- What solutions are available?
- What solutions does my organization need?
Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. If you aren’t dialed in to all the features that a CRM tool can have, you may not even realize what tools you can benefit from.
What Features do YOU need?
Start with gathering a wish list of ideas from your sales, marketing, customer service departments, as well as your management team. When you outline your needs and goals, translate those into a firm list of key criteria.
What are the primary business drivers?
You can most accurately discover and prioritize your CRM Software requirements by understanding what problems you are trying to solve, what processes you are trying to improve.
Who are your primary stakeholders in your evaluation?
Involving your core user base in project planning can help you more clearly determine your requirements. Knowing how the members of your sales, marketing and service teams interact with customers as well as the challenges they most often face help you map out the tools they’ll need to perform their jobs more effectively.
What are the critical success factors and how do they need to be measured?
The ability to analyze and assess the success or failure of a CRM initiative through the use of reports and dashboards is a must have on the CRM requirement list. Customizing your CRM software to work for you is important, make sure the CRM chosen is easy to customize.
Do you anticipate any changes in the future?
Your CRM requirements should not only address your short-term needs, but your long-term plans as well. As your company expands, so should your CRM solution. Make sure it changes as you do.
Do you want Cloud or an On-premise solution?
Cloud CRM solutions and on-premise CRM software solutions are options for many companies. With a Cloud based CRM solution, your data is stored in your own private database in the cloud. An on-premise CRM solution runs on your own hardware and database. Determine which benefits your business for a CRM solution to grow into.
Must Have Features: What Else Can CRM Do?
Once you have a list of the tools you need and the current problems that you wish to solve, look to examine what modern CRM systems can offer.
There are many bells and whistles available with different CRM solutions, and vendors often offer many different add-ons or options that might be enticing at first glance. But do they meet your needs?
Let’s look at some of the top features that might help your organization.
1. Contact/Opportunity management that fits your business
Not all businesses have the same sales cycle and processes for turning a prospect into a customer. If you have a short, low-cost, sales cycle versus a long, high-cost, sales cycle, you will likely have different stages and communication with the buyer.
Finding solutions that are geared towards your specific cycle can save time and money in customizations and changes later.
2. Email integration and marketing
Finding a CRM that will integrate with your email provider is almost a necessity. Whether it be out-of-the-box or as a customization, integration capability will save a lot of time by eliminating the need for double entry of data. Email integration will allow you to create, send, and record emails directly from either the CRM or email provider, and centralize all communication records.
Email marketing, for both prospects and customers, is an important tool as well. Sending out mass emails to turn cold contacts into warm ones works as a lead generator on its own. You can track who opened the email, who clicked the link, and who entered their information to be contacted. You can also send emails to customers to share updates and fish for repeat business.
3. Landing Page Integration for your website
In recent years, maintaining an online presence has become increasingly important to generate new business and maintain a professional appearance. Utilizing custom landing pages with lead generation forms (contact forms), businesses can capture prospect information and feed it directly into a CRM tool.
Any time someone enters in their information, it is automatically captured in the CRM without you having to do anything. All these leads can then be assigned to the right person so that nothing falls through the cracks.
4. Integration with your Accounting System
Integrating CRM with your existing accounting system will prove extremely advantageous in the long run. One of the key features of doing so is that an employee can see open balances, estimates, invoices, receipts, and payments directly within the CRM.