It doesn’t matter if you need to get more out of your existing CRM, or are simply considering a new one. Like most software, if you invest in a CRM that no one uses, you’ve thrown money out the window. This is why there are things you should consider before choosing the best CRM for your organization.
According to a 2019 Inc Magazine Article, a properly implemented CRM solution can yield an ROI of $2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested. Unfortunately, a “properly implemented CRM” is not how most CRM software comes out of the box. It takes planning, work and plenty of configuration to get there. It’s a bit like pottery – you start with a ball of clay, but it’s up to you to form it into the shape you want.
Five Considerations Before Choosing a CRM
Involve your employees
We’ve said this in other blog posts, but we’re ok repeating ourselves on this one: CRM software without users who own the product and process aren’t going to produce the data or results you want. So, first of all, involve employees that will be using the CRM in the selection process – and it’s not just involving them in the task of selecting the technology – we need their buy-in to agree on your processes and HOW your team wants to use CRM software. Which brings us to the next point:
Define your processes first
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot or Zoho – if you are deciding on the technology before you’ve really laid out your needs, be prepared for some speed bumps. This is still true if you are reconfiguring your existing CRM – it’s too early to determine if you are sticking with your CRM Software, or moving on. Lead with process.
How do you want to run your sales & operations teams? What kinds of data and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are you wanting to get out of a system? If you’re not sure, get some help with this process – it’s the best use of your resources to align with the right CRM tool. By defining your processes, you will lay out the criteria by which you will evaluate the technology platform, new or existing.
Defining a process up front means that you know what you need from a system before you proceed. It also means that you can document and prioritize which features are most important to your team.
Take the skeletons out of the closet
We all have them, and in this case, we’re talking about the other pieces of software that you are already using. So, the next thing you really want to do is take inventory of what software you will continue to use and which ones are candidates for replacement. A great example is your Accounting Software. Are you going to stick with that software? If so, you need to make sure that the CRM software has a way to talk with it.
Let’s say you want to have a Salesperson follow up with a client because your Accounts Receivable Department has not been able to reach them. You will want to make sure that Salesperson has the latest information on open invoices flowing into the CRM before they reach out.
Or maybe you want your employees’ time logs from your Time Clocking System to drive invoicing in your Accounting System so you don’t have to have someone manually import information every week. Make sure you define those communication paths so that the platform you select is the most cost-effective for the automation you expect.
Determine your budget
Which brings us to the financial aspect of your system. We know this one is obvious, but here is the thing; to properly implement a CRM platform, you want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the features and modules it has. There are a few things around platform costing you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Note the fine print on the CRM Software plan – there is often a different price/user if you pay monthly vs annually
- Make sure you have accounted for all CRM Software modules you might need – some cost extra and some don’t
- Determine what level of support you think you will need. Most CRM Software Consulting Firms have various ways they can support you, from implementation support all of the way to full turn-key implementation
- Determine if you need any custom software integrations to your existing software and get quotes on those or see if there are modules that can help
Once you have a firm grasp on roughly what you want to invest, you’re ready to look deeper at the actual technology.
Now, you can evaluate the technology
You have your people on board, processes documented, you know which pieces of software you need to talk with and you have your budget formed. While evaluating options, make sure you are checking off the boxes against your specific needs. You can get a lot of information about the CRM Software you are evaluating from comparison sites and you should leverage that data to help you compare. This data should help you narrow the field, and/or determine if your existing CRM can evolve with you.
If you find a few CRMs that you want to compare and contrast more deeply, dive into a free trial with them and leverage your team to help determine how much they like:
- The User Interface and User Experience – is it intuitive and easy-to-use
- The automation and functionality that you want to align with your goals
Finally, if you feel you need to, you should try to engage with a CRM Software Consultant that can answer additional questions for you and augment your implementation where you see fit.