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Finding the best CRM software for your business can be a challenge with so many different CRM providers, systems and features to choose from. And considering that most businesses use Excel to track sales, many will choose a CRM as a new territory.

If you’re looking for a management system for customer relationships, you’re not alone. In fact, the demand for CRM technologies in 2018 is fueling growth in the CRM industry worth more than $40 billion, but with all those shiny CRMs adorning the market out there, what is the best strategy for your brand when it comes to choosing a CRM? 

“CRM solutions are not one-size-fits-all, do market consultancy and the characteristics you should insist on will vary from industry to industry, organization to organisation. Before you start shopping or building a new solution, you should carry out an analysis to determine which features are best suited to your business vision.

We’ve listed eight things to consider when selecting the right CRM tool for your business:

  • Objectives–It’s important to understand the problem you’re trying to solve.  Set the following goals to determine which CRM tool will be the most effective for your business: 
  • Track Leads and Lead Activity 
  • Track Customer Base 
  • Track Opportunities and Closing Tariffs Connectivity Between Teams
  • Manage Relationships 
  • Generate Custom Reporting
  • Organize Business Operations
  • Increase Profitability
  • Increase Productivity
  • Implementation–This is a key component. There will be a period of implementation whenever you change or introduce new software.  In some cases, you might need an external consultant or a person in charge of the deployment. In either case, there will be a training and testing period in which the system bugs will be worked out and best practices will be established.  There are still costs associated with educating your team on the system and uploading your data to the new platform, even if there are no external implementation costs. Implementation can incur significant costs and will take time away from the current obligations of your team, so don’t underestimate this step.
  • User Adoption–Whatever system you choose, your team members will resist the change. Your sales force may be threatened in some cases.  This is a common complaint among salespeople, believing that they are putting their positions at risk by giving up contact information from their customers.  The key here is to make your salespeople feel comfortable and acknowledge that they are not at risk of losing or sharing their customers with others as they own the customer’s personal relationship.  The involvement of your sales team in your CRM selection process to get their purchase in and keep them involved throughout the process helps associates feel less threatened by a new system. When selecting a new tool, the more ownership your employees have, the more likely they are to adopt it and help their colleagues adopt it.
  • Mobility – In today’s world, mobility is key. Your sales force will most likely be mobile and use a multitude of devices to access your new CRM system, from phones to tablets to laptops. Look for a tool that a variety of web-enabled devices can access. Remember that most sales people are early technology adopters, so you’ll want a platform to be regularly updated and stay up-to-date with new technology.
  • Customization – With a multitude of business processes in mind, CRM tools are created. The processes of everybody are different. It’s not a bad thing. That’s what makes you different from your competitors. Your CRM should be sufficiently flexible to handle your processes. Similarly, you want a CRM that grows with your business and can adapt without having to be replaced to your changing processes.
  • Compatibility – While multi-system compatibility is becoming less of a problem as more and more applications are connected via APIs, you still want to check to make sure that the CRM system you choose can interface with other applications that you already have. If you need assistance in connecting all your systems via APIs, look for a third-party platform that can integrate your systems to streamline your data organization.
  • Product Demo – Make sure you have access to a demonstration of the product and, most importantly, use the demo. Try breaking the demo. This is your chance to really test the system for the needs of your business and see its strengths and weaknesses.  Too many times, people are only going to ask for a product demo to give it a brief look before it’s going to work. It will save you time in the long run by taking a little extra time at this point. That’s a pledge.
  • Reporting – While all of the CRM’s functionality is nice, it is the reporting capabilities of the product that can really help you outperform your competition. The ability to customize reports based on your unique data will highlight your wins, losses and enhancement opportunities. You may think that your processes are effective, but otherwise your data may show you. Ensuring that your sales team is not afraid to input correct customer data becomes very powerful in determining the proper requirements for your business for products, services, pricing and delivery.

It is an important process to choose the correct CRM for your business.  Following the above steps you will get started, but make sure you devote enough time to the research process to find your organization’s best CRM tool. You want to make sure you select the best system for your business model as the right CRM software will play a key role in your business growth.