Alyssa Futterer, Senior Marketing Technology Manager at Blytheco, has over 12 years of digital, communications and content marketing experience with 5 years in software tech specializing in the ERP, EDI, and SaaS space. Alyssa leverages her relevant experience to create content that educates and informs customers and industry professionals, and helps to improve their businesses through innovative software technologies. Connect with Alyssa on Linkedin.
How to Choose a CRM System for Your Business
The term CRM is commonly overused in the business world along with terms such as "CEO" and "ROI." While most companies would acknowledge their familiarity with the acronym being short for Customer Relationship Management, some might admit that awareness is limited to the basics of what a CRM is versus what it actually does. In this blog, we've gone beyond what the CRM acronym stands for. We've provided information on how your organization can choose a CRM system that accommodates your unique operations.
What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management is the process of managing prospect and customer engagements while leveraging those engagements to maximize revenue. The best CRM solutions allow multiple users to engage and cultivate customer relationships using an on-site or cloud-based software solution that tracks and analyzes interactions between the company and the consumer.
Ideally, the most competitive companies strive to achieve a 360o view of customer relationships to identify initial or continued sales opportunities. As a result, data derived from a CRM can be mined and utilized to boost sales.
Why Do You Need a CRM System?
Perhaps the most compelling reason companies choose CRM software is to keep track of customer engagements to ensure that those engagements lead to worthwhile outcomes. It's wise to obtain insights regarding your customer's activity that also affect your marketing initiatives, sales visits, event interactions, and more. But engagement is only the beginning of a robust CRM system. Here are some others:
Enhanced Customer Relationships
Highly competitive companies know that customers desire relationships with the brands they buy from. No longer do customers want to be treated like a number; they want answers to questions and solutions that resolve their pain points.
The close engagement approach not only resonates with account-based marketing customers but the approach is also essential to non-enterprise customers who want their time and effort acknowledged.
A robust CRM solution enables companies to gain insights into consumer behaviors and expectations. As a result, sales staff can engage customers right where they are, answering meaningful questions based on the information gathered within their CRM system.
New Opportunity Identification
A CRM's historical and trend data can prove extremely useful to a company and its sales team. A capable CRM captures everything from conversations, frequency and topics of phone calls, number of website visits, pages visited, email interactions, and marketing funnel touchpoints.
Given these insights, your sales team can better anticipate the needs of your target audience and have solutions ready – even before customers reach out.
Better Product and Inventory Management
Many companies, especially manufacturing and software solution providers, require efficient production processes and enhanced quality controls. The slightest inconsistency in a solution can result in unsatisfied customers and lost revenue.
A CRM system can help a company tightly integrate its production with customer feedback, ensuring potential problems are identified prior to delivery.
In addition to ensuring that quality products are delivered to deserving customers, a company's CRM can also help manage the organization's inventory. Whether integrated with or a separate component of a capable ERP solution, CRM data can feed information and analyses into a company's manufacturing or development processes, helping managers remain prepared for upcoming purchases.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a CRM System
While a robust CRM solution can significantly help transform how companies engage and manage customers, there are common mistakes companies should avoid when choosing a CRM.
Not Identifying CRM Objectives
It may sound simple, but many companies don't identify their objectives before choosing a CRM. Without a clear understanding of the goals you're trying to achieve, your company can quickly end up with a solution that doesn't meet your needs.
Not Incorporating a Sales Strategy
A CRM can be a dynamic tool used by staff to enhance customer engagement and maximize revenue. Without understanding how a CRM should work in conjunction with a sales strategy, you may end up with a solution incompatible with how your organization sells. Companies must develop and solidify their sales strategy first, then choose the right CRM that fits best with that strategy.
Not Understanding Which Features are Suitable for You
When choosing a CRM solution, it's essential to know that one size does not fit all. You must know your preferences regarding deal management, automation, notifications, contact management, sales pipelines, and integration before settling on a system.
Failure to Train Users
Choosing a CRM can be segmented into two general steps:
- Purchasing the system.
- Training all the users.
Whether the users include sales teams, marketers, administrators, product developers, or others, they must be trained on the system. Also, keep in mind that not every user requires access to every possible feature. For users to master their CRM roles properly, training must be incorporated during initial use and during upgrades. Training should cover data gathering, data analysis, reporting, communication, collaboration, and integration.
How to Choose a CRM System
After considering the information above, it's time to choose the right CRM for your organization. There are six general steps companies should keep in mind when making their CRM selection. They are as follows:
1. Identify Why You Need a CRM
- Articulate how you want a CRM solution to help your company.
- Identify and quantify outcomes you hope to achieve with a CRM.
2. Identify Internal Stakeholders and What's Important to Them
- Choosing a CRM is an enterprise-level purchase. Ensure that your stakeholders' needs are met by configuring a review team to identify how the company, as well as individual departments, can benefit from a CRM.
3. Finalize Your List of Required Features
- Identify the type of support your company needs.
- Ensure your CRM solution provider can deliver the training you need for all possible users.
- Identify CRM solutions that fit within your budget parameters.
- Ensure your CRM choice properly integrates with existing systems.
- Incorporate a scorecard that allows stakeholders to assign a grade to each feature included on the list. A scoring method may come in handy later on if two or more solutions are similar in their offerings.
4. Research Available CRM Solutions
- Create a list of possible CRM solutions that meet your requirements. Check user and performance reviews for options that meet your comfort level.
5. Seek Out Free Demos
- If possible, take advantage of free demos. Include other stakeholders who will use or benefit from the solution and see if it meets your requirements as you put it to the test.
6. Make Your Selection
- Once you've done your due diligence, choose the solution that best meets your criteria and satisfies your stakeholders.
How Blytheco Can Help
While choosing the right CRM solution for your business is not rocket science, following a defined process can help you choose the one that's right for your organization. At Blytheco, we help you access multiple CRM solutions on the market by offering consulting services, handling implementations, providing ongoing support, and above all else, prioritizing your company's CRM standards.
Contact us today and inquire about our demonstrations. We're here to help you in your search to find the best CRM solution for your unique business needs.