6 Important Factors to Consider When Shopping for CRM Software


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Customers are the lifeblood of any business and you can’t afford to let your client relationships fall by the wayside. Thankfully, there are a number of reliable CRM software solutions currently on the marketplace. In an effort to speed things up, let’s walk you through the process of choosing a good CRM solution.

CRM Software: 6 Things to Consider

Are you intimidated by the sheer number of solutions, varying features, and differences in pricing tiers? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The good news is there are websites that have organized and ranked top solutions for your convenience; and according to Mamoun Chaouni, COO of Cloudswave, a trusted software selection site, “Choosing the right CRM software is important because it has the potential to help you grow, improve and succeed beyond measure.” So, how are scores, rankings, and ratings applied to these CRM platforms and what should you look for in each one? Here are some of the top factors to consider:

Specialization. One of the first things to look at when choosing a CRM vendor is what clients and industries they frequently work with. While this won’t always be the determining factor, it’s certainly something worth taking into account. If one CRM vendor only works with insurance companies and you’re in the construction business, it’s possible that they won’t understand you as well as another provider might.

Price. Depending on your budget and needs, price could be a major limiting factor. If nothing else, your price range should help you narrow down a list of providers from dozens to just a handful. Additionally, once you’ve honed in on a couple possibilities, don’t just consider the up front costs. Look at long-term costs, how the price structure changes as you scale, and whether there are any discounts available.

Scalability. While you may have 50 employees today, it’s possible you could have 250 in five years. When comparing various CRM solutions, look at the scalability and whether or not the vendor allows you to seamlessly move up or down based on internal needs.

Compatibility and integration. This typically isn’t a problem with most of today’s solutions, but do look at compatibility and integration. It’s best to go with a cloud-based solution so it can be used anywhere and everywhere, but above all else, make sure it can be integrated with existing technologies.

Customization capabilities. The more customizable a solution is, the more attractive it becomes. Even if it’s priced higher, it may be worth paying a premium for a CRM software solution that can be effortlessly tweaked to fit your needs.

Ease of use. As Sara Angeles of BusinessNewsDaily points out, “CRM doesn't just keep your contacts organized — it also offers a bevy of tools to help you boost sales and execute more effective marketing campaigns.” Her statement is valid and points to an even bigger issue: CRM software needs to be easy for everyone to use. From sales and advertising to marketing and upper-level management, everyone should be able to use it.

Questions to Ask Your CRM Vendor

When looking for this information, your best opportunity for answers will come from directly asking the applicable vendor detailed questions. Here are some to get you started:

  • What’s the best feature of your CRM software and how would it directly improve my business (industry specific)?
  • Can you name a couple of specific ways your solution speeds up workflow processes?
  • If I have trouble with any of the functions or features, is there a person I can contact directly?
  • Is there a development toolbox with pre-developed templates?
  • Can you tell me about the implementation time for your solution? If I purchased today, when would you be able to have me up and running?

Making a Profitable Choice

Your CRM software should improve your customer relationships, save time, and increase profitability. If it doesn’t do all three of these things, it’s a waste of your time and money. Keep these tips and questions in mind when searching for a solution and you’ll make a much smarter decision.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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