Things to Consider When Choosing The Right CRM.

Choosing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is a big decision, regardless of whether you’re upgrading or purchasing one for the first time. With so many options to choose from all with varying features and benefits, how do you identify which is the right solution for your business?

Here at PragmatiQ Solutions, we understand the importance of a CRM and the questions you might have. Within this blog we highlight the key factors you should consider when choosing a CRM which will hopefully assist you in your decision-making process.

Firstly, let’s cover the basics…

What is CRM and what does it do?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is designed to manage and maintain customer relationships, track engagements and sales, and deliver actionable data.

For most businesses, their most important and valuable asset is their customers. As a business grows so too does your customer data and it will soon become apparent that you need a central place for all this information. Ultimately, a great CRM solution will enable you to quickly identify who your customers are, provide you with all their contact information, reveal how they interact with you and provide insight into your new business pipeline.

Your prospective and current customers can also experience frustration if your team isn’t aligned. It is important to remember that they have a relationship with one company, not multiple individuals. Everyone within your company should have the ability to access your customer data to enable them to pick up a conversation where another colleague left off; These are the type of challenges a Customer Relationship Management system can solve.

If you are new to CRM or business software, we have created a useful glossary of all the key terms to help you – click here

Let’s take a look at what your research and decision process might look like, as well as answering some of the questions you might have…

Cartoon man sitting at laptop learning how to choose the right CRM software

Know the challenges you want to solve and improvements you need to make

It is difficult to know what solution works for you without knowing what you want to achieve. Take the time to review, analyse and evaluate your current working processes. Additionally, obtaining an overview of the individual departments that your CRM implementation will affect, will enable you to identify what you are looking for in a CRM system.

Challenges you may want to solve and improvements to make are:

  • Improving client retention rates
  • Data management
  • Increasing employee accountability
  • Forecasting sales trends more accurately
  • Track leads and lead activity
  • Monitor customer base

Understanding what you want from the software will also help to measure its performance in the long term. Carrying out a business evaluation as mentioned above will aid you with your research and provide you with a good foundation for your CRM project.

Features

Once you have identified the challenges you want to solve, you will undoubtedly have an idea of the features you want from your CRM to support your goals.

A CRM does not just organise customer contact information, it also supports and streamlines your business processes, which will increase productivity and efficiency.

CRM features graphic demonstrating what is important to consider when choosing a crm

Some CRM features to look out for are:

  • Contact management – organise customer data from one location, and easily access any notes relating to a contact
  • Pipeline management – add, assign and track actionable tasks and feed them into the sales pipeline
  • Lead management – manage leads from prospecting to conversion and see every stage of the journey
  • Email synchronisation – syncing emails will save time double inputting data and can be viewed directly from the contact in the CRM.
  • Reporting and dashboards (Power BI) – view real-time data and spot patterns, trends and behaviours
  • Sales management – create actionable insights, customer management and track sales performance
  • Workflow automation – automating repetitive administrative tasks takes time away from tedious processes

User adoption is key

During any implementation process, there is bound to be some resistance. The familiar feeling of having to learn another new system and the uncertainty as to how that will affect their ability to fulfil their role could leave your workforce feeling overwhelmed.

Start with the C-level executives to ensure both the short and long-term benefits of a CRM implementation are understood. If you are able to, provide examples of case-studies demonstrating the positive effects and benefits of a CRM this will help to ensure you all share the same vision. Once on board, they will strengthen your ability to sell the concept to those that will use the technology.

When deciding upon your software provider, ensure that they offer training as well as the option to add additional training and support should your users need it. Ultimately, the software needs to be used to its full capacity by everyone to guarantee you achieve implementation success.

CRM user adoption graphic of happy and unhappy CRM user

Accessibility

Gone are the days of your workforce only operating from the office; the ability to work remotely and from multiple devices is now imperative. Understanding which platforms your prospective CRM is compatible with is essential for you to be able to comprehend its suitability:

A few questions to consider would be:

  • What devices is the CRM software compatible with?
  • How do I access the CRM software? (i.e. does it require an app or is it via a web page)
  • Does the CRM software offer the same functionalities across all platforms?
  • Does the CRM software have offline access and automatic synchronisation?

Investing in a CRM must transcend across your short-term aims to your long-term goals and knowing the answers to these questions will help you to ensure your purchase provides you with longevity.

How much does a CRM cost?

CRM pricing will vary dependant on your requirements; some suppliers charge an upfront fee, whilst others are based on a subscription model. Either way implementation and other add-ons can add up.

When doing your research, it is important to understand exactly what you’re paying for. What level of support will you receive? Which features come with the plan and which are add-ons? Requesting a product demo from the provider will enable you to learn how the solution works, as well as providing you with the opportunity to ask any questions about the capabilities of the software.

Over time, a CRM solution that has been fully adopted by the workforce can produce a huge return on investment.

To understand more about the Microsoft Application licensing , click here.

Can a CRM System grow with your business?

Over time, your business may grow and therefore your needs and requirements will change. Some CRM systems are scalable which provides you with the reassurance that your solution will always meet your needs. When choosing a CRM check to see if this is the case.

A Bespoke CRM, such as Dynamics 365, will offer you features and benefits that are tailored specifically to your company. As your business grows this solution can scale with you. An off-the-shelf CRM is limited in terms of scalability, and whilst there may be the option of connecting other products to solves your requirements, it can be a costly approach.

To find out more about Bespoke CRM Vs Off-The-Shelf Software, click here.

Get in touch…

As Microsoft Dynamics 365 partners, we understand and embrace industry-leading CRM technology that supports businesses to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and capture emerging opportunities. If you have any questions, please get in touch. You can fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly, or call us on 01908 038110.