Selecting and implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software can be daunting.
It’s not unusual for companies to spend months going back-and-forth in their deliberations while considering different CRM options.
The reasons for those back-and-forth discussions can vary. Some people are unsure whether they need a CRM at all. Then there are others who know they need one, but they can’t decide which one. Finally, there are the organizations that know they want a CRM and have a solution in mind — they just need a leader to make the decision and make it happen.
A CRM selection checklist
These discussions should always take a big-picture view of your team’s needs. Whether you’re at the beginning, middle or end of your CRM selection process, you can organize the conversation by putting some key questions on the table. Consider this your checklist of things to consider before committing to new software:
- Do you want to simplify internal communications?
- Do you want comprehensive access to customer information in a single database?
- Do you want to make it easier to identify quality leads?
- Do you want to streamline marketing campaigns?
- Could you benefit from automating some manual tasks?
- Plus: A bonus question — to be shared at the end!
As you work through this checklist, you can start to identify which CRMs will help you work more effectively in the relevant areas.
Here are some key points to address for each question.
1. Do you want to simplify internal communications?
A good CRM should help your team stay on the same page and share information efficiently by:
- Keeping all of your relevant sales information in one place
- Ensuring the information is always up-to-date
- Giving everyone access to these details
- Acting as a “single source” of data
Your CRM should take team collaboration to the next level by giving team members access to centralized customer data and a shared calendar. It should also eliminate the need for team leaders to take on a liaison role where they’re constantly trying to “keep everyone in the loop.”
2. Do you want comprehensive access to customer information in a single database?
Trying to manage your customer information without a CRM is a recipe for lost information, and ultimately, lost sales. The right system will allow you to track every piece of information related to each customer relationship, including:
- Adding unlimited contacts per customer
- Tracking customer interactions (meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.)
- Specifying customer preferences
- Maintaining details on quotes, invoices, and payments
Customer communications and scheduling should also be streamlined, allowing every member of your team to provide efficient and informed customer service.
Need to follow up with a particular customer next week? No problem. Ideally, you’ll schedule a follow-up activity and the CRM will automatically send you a reminder about it.
Wondering when your team last touched base with a customer and what was discussed? No sweat. With shared access to notes and activities in your CRM, it should be simple to check what’s happening with an account, without needing to track down your colleagues.
3. Do you want to make it easier to identify quality leads?
This is where your sales team will get excited. One thing a CRM should do — and this is a must-have — is help you turn your contacts into leads and turn those leads into customers. The system might help you accomplish those goals by:
- Capturing leads from your website through a contact form
- Allowing you to easily convert emails in your inbox into new leads
- Allowing you to mass import existing spreadsheets of leads
Once the leads are in your CRM, a comprehensive system should help you streamline the lead management process. This might involve categorizing and filtering your leads and tracking the status of potential sales in your pipeline. With these features, you’ll be well-equipped to close deals faster.
4. Do you want to streamline marketing campaigns?
A sophisticated CRM will help you streamline your email communications with existing and potential customers, allowing you to easily share reminders, promotions, and announcements. The platform should help you:
- Strategically filter your contacts based on key criteria
- Create mailing lists for targeted email campaigns
- Send out mass emails
Whether the CRM offers built-in email campaign functionality or integrates with other email marketing software, you should be able to leverage your customer data for better marketing results.
5. Could you benefit from automating some manual tasks?
Automating manual tasks is more than just an individual pursuit — it’s now a widespread and fast-growing trend in every sector and industry.
No matter what your business does, there are many repetitive administrative tasks that can take away from your day-to-day productivity. These might include:
- Processing orders
- Creating and sending invoices
- Managing inventory
- Turning timesheets into reports
Of course, every business has unique needs related to these complex processes, so it’s hard for out-of-the-box software to accommodate them. If you’re looking to streamline and automate specific tasks, it’s worth looking for a CRM that can be customized for your business.
6. The bonus question
It’s time to unveil the bonus question. And if you’ve already answered “yes” to the previous five questions, this could be the one that makes the final decision for you:
Does your business use QuickBooks?
This is key. If you already use QuickBooks for your accounting, then Method:CRM could be the perfect CRM for you.
Method:CRM offers a two-way, real-time sync with QuickBooks, giving you one centralized view of your customers, transactions and sales data. It’s a great solution that allows you to make full use of your QuickBooks data while extending its power far beyond accounting.
Plus, with Method:CRM’s complete lead and customer management features and fully customizable platform, you’ll have everything you need to streamline your operations and grow your sales. Sign up for your free 30-day trial to see for yourself!