By David Baars – Try PipelineDeals Free For 14 Days
When your business is ready to purchase a Customer Relationship Management product (CRM), navigating the available options can be daunting. Do you want a cloud-based solution or do you need an on-premise option? What pricing plan contains the right combination of features and options for your business? There are many things to consider when purchasing a CRM. The core question that all of these questions attempts to answer is – what is the best CRM option for my business?
We’ve spoken to thousands of businesses in our 8 years and helped them navigate the available options in the CRM market. Below are 10 questions a prospective CRM buyer should consider when they’re choosing a CRM:
1. What do I get for the price?
Price is an important factor when choosing a CRM. Often times, CRM software offer differing features and benefits at different price points. The multiplicity of options are often paired with complicated charts, unlisted upsells, and confusing jargon. The question that you should ask is if the CRM you’re looking at offer the capabilities you need at a price point that fits your budget?
Consider the features that are most important to your team and prioritize what you features you absolutely need. Review different CRM with the feature-sets you’ve prioritized, and compare their prices to ensure you’re getting a deal that fits your budget. If you have a question about what’s being offered, email or call the CRM company to explain what is available.
2. Can I trial the product before I buy?
Choosing a CRM is a significant decision for a company, and you want to make sure that you can try a product before you buy it. Make sure to get multiple members of your sales team using the product, and have them try out different features in the app. Encourage them to ask questions, try out the support services, and ask for their candid feedback. Remember – if you can’t get salespeople to use the CRM during the trial period then it is going to be difficult to get them to use the product when you buy it.
Also, if you need more time, talk to someone at the CRM and ask for extra time. Most companies will give you extra time and the best organizations will give you extra support to make sure you get started successfully.
3. What type of support am I going to get?
We’ve all experienced poor customer service. Software companies in particular are notorious for providing aggravating customer support. When you are looking at different CRM, we recommend that you compare customer support services and look for a company that puts customer support front and center. Some things to look for when you’re comparing customer support:
– Look at the support resources that are available for the CRM that you are looking at. Do they provide free phone support or are they going to charge you a premium to talk over the phone?
– Do they have self-service support articles, video support, and email support?
– When you email support services, how fast do they get back in touch with you and do they answer your question completely?
– Do they put a support number prominently on their site or do they bury it (or not offer phone support at all)?
We suggest calling customer support and sending customer support an email while you are trial. How you’re treated during the trial process should give you a clear idea how much support you’ll receive when you’re paying for the software.
4. Can I use this CRM on multiple platforms?
Know the different platforms that your CRM must work on before you get into trial with a CRM. Also, when you’re in trial, make sure to use the CRM on all the devices that your team uses. If the CRM has dedicated apps for iPhone and Android like PipelineDeals, try out the mobile apps and see how they work. If you use PC’s, Mac’s, or tablets, try out the software on these products too.
One additional tip, try out the CRM on the different Internet Browsers that your company uses. Some CRM are not optimized to work on certain browsers, or in some circumstances, may not work at all with older browsers. If you’re unsure what Internet Browser you are using, use this helpful service.
5. What can I customize?
CRM software offer varying levels of customization. Choose a product with too little customization and your CRM may not support your sales process. Choose a product with too much customization, and you’ll need to hire an implementation specialist just to get started. To find the product with the right level of customization, we recommend:
– looking at the support services available for customization
– trial the product
– call or email the CRM support services or an account manager to talk through what your needs are.
If no one at the CRM is available to help guide you through the setup process, that should serve as a clear warning sign.
6. Do I have any storage limits?
Document and data storage is a critical factor in choosing any CRM product, and it’s important to know what your CRM’s limits are. Some products charge a premium for data storage and if you go over the limit, you’re account will automatically be upgraded to a higher service level at a higher price. Make sure you know if there are any storage limits before selecting any software.
7. Does the service work with tools I use now?
Consider the most important technological tools that you currently use at your business. Some questions to consider:
– Are you a Google Apps or Outlook user? How does the CRM work with your existing email service?
– Do you use an email marketing software product like MailChimp?
– Is it easy to connect my new CRM with tools that will help make my salesperson’s lives better from lead generation to invoices?
Make sure that you know what your CRM can do and reach out if you have any questions about integrations.
8. Will this CRM grow with my team?
When you’re choosing a CRM, make sure to consider what the future needs of the company may be. You want to choose a CRM product that can grow with your team as your business’s needs grow. This means you want to choose a CRM that has features you can adopt as your team’s needs become more sophisticated. Additionally, you want to choose a CRM that is continuing to improve its functionality through time.
Ask someone at the CRM what they’ve developed over the past six months, and ask them what they’re planning to develop for the future. Read their blog and see what they write about. Are they focused on adding customer-centric features, or are they just bloating their CRM with unnecessary and expensive additions.
9. Is this CRM built for my sales team or for my sales manager?
We’ve spoken with many users over the past 8 years who have used a CRM that’s built for the company’s executives and not for their sales team. If your CRM is overly complicated and too difficult for your sales team to use, your business will struggle to adopt the CRM. Moreover, the data you report from your CRM will be incomplete and could lead to misinformed decisions.
When you’re in trial with a new CRM, make sure to trial your CRM with users at multiple levels of sales management. Trial the process of tracking a new lead in the system and converting the lead to a new deal. Focus on the core pieces of functionality that are necessary to get your sales team to adopt. If members of your team are struggling with adopting the CRM during the onboarding process, find out what educational opportunities are available from customer support.
10. How long will it take me to setup and get started?
Implementing a new CRM can strike fear into the heart of account administrators. We’ve all heard horror stories about CRM implementation taking months, if not years, to fully implement at an organization. If you choose a CRM product with hundreds of integration, configuration, and account setup steps, it could take weeks or months before you can even begin to train your salespeople to use your CRM. When you’re trialing a new CRM, consider how much time you can dedicate to setup when implementing a new CRM.
What are some of the key considerations that your company made when implementing your CRM? What would you add to the list above? See how we’ve designed PipelineDeals specifically to be a CRM for small businesses.