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Expert Guide on How to Choose (CRM) Customer Relationship Management Software

Choosing a CRM What Features Should You Look for?

You’ve decided to let technology handle your customers. You’ve set your cap on choosing and setting up a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software.

Bravo! That is a smart decision, especially if you’re a small business looking to grow, or maybe a company with a large customer base. You just might be that savvy and insightful business owner or executive who has taken on a quick-witted way to go. You would be correct because according to Insight Job, a CRM solution should result in an ROI ranging from $2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested ― that is if applied well.

But then, you might be stuck. Why?

Numerous options are available on the market for CRMs. You will have many questions about it too; such as how to make the ideal choice. How to choose a CRM system? Which CRM is the best for me or for my company?

In order to tackle these questions, we will address the basis of choosing the right CRM for your business. Let’s begin.

Choosing your CRM System

Choosing a CRM system might seem a little daunting because of the sheer number of platforms out there. In other words, a checklist of things needs to be fact-proven before you go ahead with selecting.

Here are the details.

1. Identify Business Needs

Diving straight in without first laying down a plan that helps in guiding you to choose the right CRM that is best for you is very risky for your business.

Why is this important?

As reported by Fundera, 30.2 million small businesses operate within the U.S and these make up 99.9% of the total enterprise sector. The implication of the figures is the steady growth in the customer base of organizations.

More so, we need to recognize that every business is unique in its approach and model of dealing with clients. Therefore, the CRM that worked for Company A might not work for you. It is essential to understand what your distinct business needs are before bringing a solution. This way, you avert the biggest mistakes of choosing a CRM.

Another one is that you can’t fix a company’s needs if you don’t know where the shoe pinches, which is why you must assess its goals in the first place. A crystal clear plan helps you to avoid making mistakes in choosing the right CRM system.

Take these four steps to identify your company’s needs.

Step 1: Ask your Staff

Ask your staff

A recent report from Industry Week suggests 71% of executives believe that the workforce is helpful in the digital transformation of organizations. Also, engaging employees keep companies ahead of competitors by 147% in revenue. So, go to your employees or the person that handled the customers and ask them the following.

  • Where do they think need improvement in the customer relationship?
  • What are the things the company isn’t doing right in building a relationship with the customers?
  • What has been the most significant customer complaint?
  • What differences do you think a better and more stable customer relationship can do for the company?
  • What you’ve been getting right and what has been working for customers so far?
  • What new ways do they think will work for the customer?

The goal here is to get all the feedback from every single staff that had to deal with customers. Whether it’s one customer or a hundred, go beyond the standard customer care section of your business. Start engaging as many of the staff as are relevant to what you’re doing.

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Step 2: Go Through Your Systems

When considering how to choose the best CRM for your business, do the following:

  • Make a detailed sketch that shows all the processes, from start to finish that a customer goes through before arriving at the final step; your goods or services.
  • Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and outline every hiccup and bottleneck that the customer may encounter, and how the company solves it.
  • Remember to be objective. You’re not benefitting your company by glossing things over. If you are not sure of the actual situations of things, find out, ideally from someone who would tell you the real case of things.

Step 3: Ask your customers

Based on a report by PTC, at 35%, meeting customer expectations stands as one of the top 3 pros of digital transformation. Now, how do you go about it? Examine a section of your customers. Ask them where they would like to see improvements in the area of their relationship.

  • What would they like to see more of?
  • What would they like to see less of?

Some more questions may not directly apply to you, your customers, and your staff. But are essential in guiding you on how to choose a CRM system. These include questions like:

  • What departments/teams would use the CRM?
  • How quickly does the solution need to be in place?
  • Is it compatible with the current systems you have already on the ground?

Tip: It’s not just the IT department that should be involved with it, input from various other departments

Step 4: Implement Correlation

Correlate all the data and feedback you’ve gotten, and then you’ll see a pattern start to emerge. Write down everything you want to observe. Put it together as a list that would guide the right choice of CRM. Preferably, the qualities you think have higher priority should come initially.

Also, note the ones that are a must and even the options that you are flexible on.

2. Identify Goals

The CRM flow will move you many steps closer to your customer and in prioritizing your business goals. It is essential for every company because customers are at the heart of every business. Whether it’s a mini grocery or a multinational conglomerate, without customers, either would crash. Besides tips of how to choose CRM software, key goals you may want to put in check include:

  • Increasing profit margin.
  • Increasing efficiency.
  • Capturing more market shares.
  • Providing better customer experience.
  • Improving employee performance.
  • Reducing the total cost of running a business.

At this stage, and in order to cover the full goal set, it is essential to put talks of having a custom Customer Relationship Management system on the table. How does this help?

Gartner projects that by 2021, 75% of middle-sized and big businesses will leverage hybrid IT strategies. Using slow and outdated software or getting caught up in the constant frustration of trying to make off-the-shelf software fit to unique business processes is vicious to success. At worst, some companies even use spreadsheets alone to manage data.

If the company has complex processes and wants a flexible solution made exactly for the tasks and nuances of the company — in this case, it is worth looking towards a custom system or a hybrid option (ready solution/service + custom refinement or integration with existing customers).

Supercharge your business efforts with HuskyJam’s custom CRM development tools.

3. Research CRM Functionality

Conforming to SalesForce research, the need to meet and exceed customer expectations cannot be overemphasized. Clearly, to impact these expectancies, you have to adopt CRM tools. Likewise, about 57% of clients stop buying from a company when a competitor provides a better experience.

SalesForce research graphs

The image describes the proliferation of customer expectations versus how these buyers think companies are performing as per reaching them. There’s still much to be done, as you can see, and apparently most market players are below the landmark ― they are missing the mark on experience.

CRMs and their functionalities should be deployed even more. See below elaborations of the what, where, and how of such functions.

  • User experience and journey: Experience-driven firms have 1.6 times, and 1.9 times more customer satisfaction and order rate, respectively. Being able to visualize the narrative of the end-user as it pertains to your company is everything. All customer journeys have 5 main things in common — buyer, expectations, journey phases, actions, and insights. Therefore, CRM is beneficial, should the company need to merge the needs of employees and customers from one perspective. User journeys are not just for the shoppers but they are also with which employees have to improve on service.
  • Task management and activity scheduling: Manually keeping track of tasks can feel like a task itself, wouldn’t it be great your team can put all the tasks together in one place? CRMs combine to-dos, planners, and calendars into one view, where creation and overseeing of personal, groups, and overall responsibilities across all boards.
  • User profiling: A company’s customer base may consist of thousands if not millions of unique personas. Marketing to these individuals, therefore, presents a challenge. If you try to appeal to everyone, the message could be too vague but developing a marketing plan that targets every individual on their own terms is also obviously unrealistic. The best approach is to identify customer groups and segments using profiling. The profiles of such groups usually share similar traits that resonate with each user. This will then help the company to evaluate better which segments would be the most attractive for their products.
  • User right-to-access sharing: The most simple way of sharing access to dashboards in the workplace is to install CRMs. Implement a flexible CRM system for distributing user rights to access information and system functions.
  • Statistics: It puts up current statistics on a colorful dashboard. It helps to sort out the clients based on age demographics and location, and likewise, where to boost customer loyalty, where to reward it, and where to put in more effort. In line with Qualtrics research, loyal customers buy 5 times more and refer friends 4 times as much.
  • Automated Marketing: 79% of industry toppers make use of marketing automation. It helps the executive in tracking the demographic and age bracket most interested in your product. You can then make changes that will target and attract more of them. This would save a lot of money that may have gone into research, trying to find the same information.
  • Data for Sales: You can take real-time data from all your online platforms, including social media, blogs, websites, apps, and polls, and then breaks it down. The only thing is to know how to pick the right CRM for this. Meanwhile, garnering data may equally push the planning of sales campaigns and advertisements. The company can create better sales campaigns using this feature if a campaign is pitched online, the impact can be monitored using this feature.
  • Connect to Mobile: Everyone has a Mobile smartphone; these functions can connect the management system to your team’s smartphones. Indeed, 50% of all customers connect to customer services through mobile apps. This will make it easy for them to access the features and data from it anywhere anytime. They can also email alerts on how a campaign is doing directly on their mobile device.
  • Online Content Analytics: According to a Medium publication by Gorgina Gottlieb, Co-Founder of Squelch, 90% of enterprise chiefs agree that data analytics influences the delivery of high customer experience. More so, you can even keep tabs on the kind of content that translates readers and online followers into real customers using the data. And then make more content like it.

Click here to get recommendations from our mobile app development services.

4. Integrations with Other Software

If you have all the IT solutions in terms of software that your company is already using, you should double-check if the software can integrate and work well with another item with other programs. It would be great if there were a public API for custom integration with external systems. These integrations would most definitely need the help of the IT department. This will offer the required flexibility to digitize business processes.

  • Live Chat Integration At least 75% of online shoppers want some sort of response within 5 minutes. Live chat is an essential feature for most modern businesses. Integrating this and other chat systems into your systems is much simpler. You can chat with employees, customers, and partners, who are within the same CRM.
  • Email Integration: You can either integrate your emailing systems like Mailchimp etc. Most of the systems come with this feature, but you could check to be sure that yours is the same. Some companies simplify the process of sending automation emails by choosing a CRM vendor to provide the service.
  • Restrictions: You can control what data your employees can access. You may also reserve it for only top executives and those who need to know the regulations of your company. This will work in preventing leaks, and security violations. Keeping the customer’s information safe is a must because a set customizable or data leak could seriously design the image of the business.
  • On-Premise / Cloud-based license: Cloud-based CRM exists in remote servers and all forms of updates, repairs, upgrades, and backups are managed by the people who built the system. You should know that according to this report, cloud-hosted CRM systems are preferred by 63% of companies rather than on-premise systems. In an on-premise CRM, a network of customizable hardware and software systems is needed on the company’s site. These require a particular license order to be able to store information.

Integrations can be complex, but with the right skills, they’re as good as sorted.

Hire our team of experts

to help you integrate other programs into your CRM

5. Cost Friendliness

Choosing CRM software includes looking at the cost of buying, installing, and maintaining. The price should be close to your budget. There is no wisdom in purchasing and setting up a system that puts your company in the red. It’s further true that the cost depends mostly on the size of your customer base because it is charged per user.

Presently, the costs of customer relationship management systems differ though, with prices ranging about $7.75 to $161per user. So, there’s room for small businesses and startups to get a solution that is more friendly to their budget.

What Features Should You Look for in CRM Software?

What Features Should You Look for in CRM Software

1. Contacts Management

This is one feature most people look out for in the CRM system they want to buy. The function helps to personalize the experience of each one of your customers easily. You would be able to gather valuable and insightful data that will go a long way in contributing to how you interact with your customers.

Designating and wishing customers’ well on their birthday, national and international celebrations can be done seamlessly. It also helps in the easy tracking of customers and their feedback to your services/goods. The customer feels that the business cares and values them. It plays a massive part in bringing a smile to the client’s face.

2. Customization

Some unique businesses require a custom-made system designed around the quirks and distinct features and policies. Hence, you should understand how to choose a CRM system that highlights the unique points of your business and relay them to the producers of the system. Be sure that the operation can be customized to meet your particular needs. Customized systems save time and effort that would have been wasted in acclimatizing and training staff to get used to the new system.

3. Automation

It automates tasks, appointments and allows the employees to follow an established and active protocol in managing the relationship with the customers. There can be automated responses to particular situations; it could also directly contact the team responsible for bringing a solution to the customer’s problem directly.

  • Email marketing automation: According to Statista, about 3.9 billion more email users were registered in 2019 and the number could surge to 4.48 billion by 2024. Why does it matter? The faster the client base expands, the easier it will be to manage by automation. Email automation is an incredibly powerful tool for different aspects of the organization. It directly can result in client retention, higher ROI, and visibility.
  • Marketing funnel automation: You hear many marketers talk about how their marketing funnels are raking in hundreds of clients and thousands of dollars. Also, ever wondered how some agencies boast beautifully designed landing pages, email sequences, and social ads? Well, these days, you no longer need to hire a designer to achieve all of that. You don’t need to be a paid ads expert or a developer, because, with automation, you can have an actionable marketing funnel synced with a CRM. A marketing funnel is the best way to get people from point A to point B and to also make them buy more and more from you.
  • Promotional campaign automation: Just like sales funnels, campaigns can be pitched much easier. Automated campaigns literally cave out a path from planning to actually launch. For instance, we now have CRMs that can give insights on how A/B testing can be better harnessed. These kinds of systems specifically streamline customer needs and expectations in such ways to allow companies to run more impactful ad testing.

Need help with getting automated marketing? Get a free consultation on how to improve your marketing processes through automation and building a new CRM strategy.

4. Lead Tracking

This should necessarily be part of choosing CRM software. It evaluates the measure of the chances to convert a customer or predict clients who are likely to become loyal customers. In addition, sales and marketing teams are able to track customers actively.

Tracking ultimately boosts the efficiency of the sales teams and makes it easier for them to close deals and make sales. It also a way of keeping track of how productive your team is on their own. The system measures input directly from the staff and even the results from it.

As seen on BusinessWire.com, the global demand for CRM applications was estimated at around $25.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to rise to $36.53 billion at a CAGR of 9.4 percent by 2022. Big industry leaders in this area include Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, SAP, and SugarCRM.

This shows that entrepreneurs and businesses need to make sure that tracking not only works in terms of how much your staff is putting in per day but how much it’s impacting your sales and marketing too. Are you making more sales or less? If more sales, how many of them are direct results of the CRM system?

Conclusion

Businesses before relied on standalone systems to perform basic sales automation. This technology also allowed them to categorize customers in spreadsheets and lists. These strategies combined with the standard practice of evaluating customer satisfaction through surveys loosely served as the beginning of CRM.

Today, companies are seeking CRM solutions that allow the flexibility of industry-specific tools and customizable options. So, the incorporation of social media, business intelligence tools, analytics of big data, individualization of content, predictive technologies, and communication software are gaining importance.

When is custom Vs off-the-shelf CRM recommended ― you may ask.

Styling your applications according to some precise needs will give you a competitive edge, because you will maximize productivity and efficiency. Since your team is already used to working on these systems, it will take less time to train them. Customized CRM is useful where and if the following situations are apparent.

  • There’s a need to accurately describe the company’s business processes
  • You want to try any marketing or sales know-how of your company
  • Quickly change the process and functionality of the system to meet changing business needs
  • When you want a long-term strategy for managing customers
  • The need for different custom integrations of third-party systems

Off-the-shelf systems are better suited to smaller companies that are short on budget or are looking for generalized solutions for a short period of time. This is because the installation and maintenance of the stylized version could take more time and expertise, which also means higher costs.

At HuskyJam, we understand choosing a CRM system is a vital part of maintaining an existing customer base. How much are you in reach with customers, how are you making their engagements smoother and how do you make them rebuy your products? These and many other aspects are where we come in.

Our CRM development services center around the client’s bottom line, targets, and needs. If you have any CRM-related questions or if you are ready to improve your processes working with the customer base, our team will be happy to advise you and work out the ideal workflow and software solution to exactly meet your business objectives. Simply fill out the form.

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