A Customer relationship management system or CRM is software used to help businesses or other organizations administer interactions with customers, using data analysis to study large amounts of information.
The greatest thing about these systems is that not all of them are created equally, and most are built with specific industries in mind. This is why it is so important to ensure that you diligently research, consult and test a CRM before migrating your business.
Here are 8 things to consider before you purchase a Customer Resource Management System.
- Do you need a robust CRM or something simpler?
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when implementing a CRM is overinvesting. What I mean by that is subscribing or purchasing a system that is larger or more complicated than is necessary. For example, if you run a small retail store you may only need finance management and social media tools, versus a large intricate CRM with automation, projections, and customizations.
- Do you have the budget for a CRM – If so, is the investment justified?
Running a CRM can be expensive, especially when you start diving into APIs, app integrations, customizations, and multiple users. Typically, people who invest in a large CRM do not foresee the long-term costs associated with it and are later surprised at how quickly it can add up. Once you have confirmed you can in fact sustain a CRM financially, the question becomes is your investment justified? Will you get your money’s worth? Will you use the entire system?
- How do you currently manage your records?
Do you store your records on a cloud server? Filing System? Or a different format? Are you willing to change how you store records? Are you comfortable with leaving your records on the cloud? These are questions you need to ask yourself before you implement a CRM because every CRM has different securities and formatting for online records. For example, if you currently keep your records on a server, you may want to consider an on-premises CRM. If you are a start-up, you may prefer a cloud-based CRM.
- Are your staff tech-savvy?
If your answer is no, but they could learn, ensure you have the support necessary to train staff or that the system provider has training and/or support services available. Although learning a CRM is rather straightforward and intuitive, businesses that use manual-entry systems like SAP may find the transition to a more robust and automated system overwhelming. It is also likely that staff members will have more free time as mundane tasks are done automatically by the CRM.
- Which CRM is best for your business type?
Every CRM is unique and offers different compatibilities and industry-specific features. One of the most important questions to ask yourself before you decide on one is whether the CRM provider has a history of serving your industry. Look at reviews, reach out to other businesses and ask for their advice. Do your research.
- System needs and business goals
What do you need the system to do for you and will a CRM help you meet your business goals? There is nothing worse than investing in the wrong tool or letting trends influence your business decisions when it comes to the core of your operations. Strategically plan and take the time to weigh the pros and cons of a new system with your 5-year business plan.
- Identify pain points and consult your team!
Don’t make the mistake of not involving your team. Ask them — after all they are the ones that will be using it frequently. Discuss the possible hiccups, benefits, concerns, and how the system will impact each department. This will help you identify pain points that need to be resolved and ultimately choose a CRM that will mitigate them.
8. Before You Commit
Make sure you check that the applications you use are interchangeable with the software or a plugin is available. This will ensure that your CRM will support your active software and applications. Lastly, guarantee that the company provides adequate support and can be customized if the stock software does not meet your needs.
Let us know which you chose in the comments!