- Track interactions with customers
- Record contact information
- Analyze customer buying patterns
- Maximize customer profits
- Manage the customer lifecycle
Depending on the features of the individual software, the above are just some of the uses of CRM software.
Companies not employing any form of CRM software will find it more difficult and time-consuming to complete customer-related tasks. CRM software brings several of such tasks together, increasing overall efficiency and improving your bottom line.
How to choose the best CRM software?
Choosing the best CRM software can be difficult simply because there are so many options available.
When embarking on the buying process, make sure you answer all of the below questions. They will help you choose the right software much easier.
- How will you be using the software?
- How many employees do you have?
- Can the software integrate with other systems?
- How usable is the software?
- Are there free trials or demos?
- How much can you spend?
- How reputable is the vendor?
- What do customer reviews say about the software?
How will you be using the software?
CRM software can work well for customer service, sales, and marketing.
Some companies focus on just one of these areas, while others want software that’s able to help them with all three areas.
It’s important to answer this question first, as some software offers specialty CRM features, and they may not have all the features you need.
Once you figure out how your company plans to use the software, it becomes easier to understand which features are essential to your business, as well as analyze the options available to you.
Many CRM solutions carry tools and features that include, among other things:
- Project management tools
- Marketing tools
- Customer follow-up
- Visitor tracking
- Help desk
As you start to look at the various pieces of software on the market, be sure to understand what each tool offered is capable of doing.
How many employees do you have?
You need to know: how many employees will use the software?
Companies with 10 or more employees must choose the software that grants access privileges. The administrator then determines exactly what abilities each of the users will have, such as viewing, downloading, and editing.
Organizations using CRM software for sales and marketing may opt for software that offers territory management. This allows you to divide your employees into different teams. Those with just a handful of employees may not find these additional features necessary.
Can the software integrate with other systems?
You likely have quite a few software tools already in place at your company, such as accounting software, your email system, inventory software, payroll system, and so on.
CRM software that integrates and works well with other systems can make your life and the lives of your employees easier:
- Zero redundant data entries
- Smoother, more seamless information flow between systems
- Improved data and process visibility across the organization
- Better customer response time
- Better employee performance and improved productivity
High-quality CRM systems on the market allow for third-party software integration. Some even grant access to the source code so you can make the necessary changes to connect your current systems.
How usable is the software?
If the software is difficult to learn and use, a much steeper learning curve is required, and many users may be discouraged to maximize the software’s full potential.
You want enough features in your CRM software, but you want them easy to use.
Are there free trials or demos?
CRM software options available today offer free trials and demos that you can use prior to making a purchase. Very seldom will you find any without free trials or demos.
Use them to your advantage to:
- See the software’s features in action, including its strengths and weaknesses
- Ensure you’re comfortable with the software and your employees find it an asset rather than a liability
- More easily determine whether the software is the right one for you or not
How much can you spend?
Most CRM programs offer a per-user price. Some charge a flat fee for a certain number of users.
But generally speaking, the more features and options available within the software, the more expensive it will be.
Keep in mind, however, that price is not the only factor to consider when choosing your software. Above all else, it’s about the features and the software’s usability.
The more detailed your list of the essential features your company needs in CRM software, the easier it is to sort through your options.
How reputable is the vendor?
What do you know about the vendor selling the software?
Even if they have what appears to be a great piece of software, there could be some hidden problems.
You need to look beyond the actual software:
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they still supporting the product and making improvements?
- What type of customer service do they offer?
If you have questions or problems with the software, you want a company you can reach out to and can answer your questions with ease.
You also want a company that’s growing and has potential for longevity. This ensures they won’t stop supporting the product in six months or a year, forcing you to start a software search anew.
What do customer reviews say about the software?
After you narrow your list down to a few tools, check out what people are saying about the titles that made it to your list.
- Look up reviews from professional reviewers, as well as from business owners and actual end users.
- Look for the pros and cons of the software so you have an idea of what you’re getting into.
Read several reviews to avoid any potential bias.
Choosing a CRM tool is not an undertaking to be taken lightly. Consider the above questions in your search, and you’ll find it easier to come up with a decision that can benefit your company for years to come.