Working with customer relationship management tools, people often ask me how to choose a CRM system for their sales team. It’s understandable, as there are numerous options out there. Possibly too many.
That’s overwhelming for just about anybody. But if you don’t work in the world of CRM solutions, data collecting, or process development, it’s an impossible ocean to wade through by yourself.
That’s why we want to help.
Most companies understand some of the benefits of having a CRM system, but many of them aren’t using it the way they could or should be.
Historically, CRM solutions were typically built for middle managers and executives to get the reporting and clarity they need to plan for the future. That’s an understandable reason for having CRM sales software because sales managers need that visibility to run a successful team.
But CRM systems aren’t just for them. Knowing how to choose a customer relationship management software solution that benefits salespeople will also make their jobs more manageable. The easier their jobs are, the more they can sell—a must for small businesses that are ready to scale.
How to Choose a CRM for Sales
The best CRM software you can choose for your company is the one you can build, train, adjust, and implement yourself—or the one tailor-made for you and your team.
Many CRM solutions draw people in because of the various bells and whistles they advertise. Marketing, right? But all of those extras might do more harm than good if it’s making it more complicated than it needs to be.
CRM systems aren’t supposed to change your business; they’re supposed to support and impact the success of your business. When we do CRM software builds for our clients, we go over their needs, hopes, and expectations and tailor them to their process.
There is no reason to change your strategy or sales method to make a tool fit. And building it specifically to your needs will help ensure that your investment will be worth it. Company-wide implementation will be much easier when everybody can be on the same page about using it.
However, maybe you want to find and build your CRM solution yourself. In that case, here are a few things that every single one of them should do for you, no matter the industry or size of your business.
One of the most crucial CRM features you should look for is that it’s easy to understand at a glance.
Most of them will use the Kanban system. This is the easiest and most intuitive way to organize information and processes. It should also be fully customizable to your needs and strategy.
While looking at the big picture should be easy for everybody, it should also be filtered so that you can find only the information you need. If you’re creating a report on follow-ups alone, there should be a simple way to filter that information without sifting through everything yourself.
More than anything, it should make managing your sales pipeline simple and straightforward. If you can’t see what you need quickly, you might want to look at a different system.
A CRM system that doesn’t work with all of your other tools and tech will not work out.
The CRM software you choose should easily integrate with everybody’s calendar, scheduler, email, and customer data. Contact management is vital for salespeople, and the last thing anybody wants is to import contacts or switch email providers manually.
Again, the tool should work for you; you shouldn’t have to change for it.
And if you can’t integrate every one of those other tools you use in your job, then it will be nearly worthless for data collecting and process utilization.
Fortunately, most CRM systems can connect to your other solutions through API integration. If nobody in your organization knows how to connect your systems, you might consider speaking to an API integrator.
In the same way every department should be able to use it, communication between members and departments should be a breeze through your CRM.
The ability to tag individual members or groups will help everybody stay on the same page. This feature will also help you track tasks and processes to ensure that everything is getting done on time.
Other CRM features, such as moving leads through the pipeline and keeping notes about activities, also help with communication. Rather than having frequent meetings with salespeople to discuss their progress, you can look at their sales pipeline in the CRM to track where they are for the month.
Many salespeople do the bulk of their work from their phone. Therefore, it’s vital that your CRM choice has mobile access at all times.
Whether it’s through a mobile app (ideally one that’s available for both iPhone and Android) or a clean, easy-to-navigate mobile interface, your salespeople should be able to access all the CRM features they need wherever they are.
Any tool that will help your business be successful is worth the investment. However, if you’re paying for more than you need, (or worse, paying for something that isn’t living up to its promises!), you might not be getting the value you deserve.
Before you buy, determine what features you need and which ones would be nice to have. Anything outside of those are probably bells and whistles that drive up the cost without actually improving your business.
Then, look for one that has a small business pricing option. Again, you shouldn’t have to pay for more than you need.
Finally, take advantage of the free trial. Use that time to figure out if you’ve found the CRM you need and one that will provide great ROI for your company.
Finally, it should work smoothly and efficiently with your sales process.
Your CRM and the data you’ll track will help you build a sales process if you don’t already have one. Every new business should start with a CRM system from day one for that reason.
But many companies have had processes for a long time. No tool should force you to change it. Getting your team and departments to integrate a CRM into their day can be challenging enough. Forcing them to change their process is counterproductive and significantly increases the likelihood of failure.
Knowing How to Choose a CRM Will Make Your Business Better
Choosing a CRM starts with understanding the needs of your team and business. With so many out there, it’s easy to get swept away with all of the features and benefits if you don’t know what you need.
The bottom line is that the best CRM sales software for your team is the one you customize for your goals, both now and in the future. You want to find the solution that will grow with your company.
Building and customizing your customer relationship management tool for your small business will do wonders for how much you can grow, scale, and find success.
Top Photo by airfocus on Unsplash