You are looking for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but you are unsure what to look for.
You asked around, and google but you’re getting information overload.
You have second thoughts on why you should even spend time evaluating a CRM system in the first place (Your processes are working fine, so why rock the boat?)
Firstly, forget about all the features vendors or experts are selling to you.
It’s fine if you want to know generally how a CRM system can help you but that should not form the basis on how you should evaluate a CRM system.
You need to start from where you envision your business is going (or at least plan to become in the future), and what changes you need to make to get there. Yep, it’s really that simple.
Then you decide which CRM system can help you get there. Easiest, fastest and cost-effective.
Many businesses run their “CRM system” on excel and Google spreadsheets for years and survived but the “excel” way of keeping track of customers can’t continue for long if you want to grow your team and your business. Why not?
Many reasons, but here is the top 3.
- It’s time consuming to prepare the reports you need to make timely decisions on your business (and it may not be accurate since it’s prepared manually).
- The time that your people spend preparing reports can be better spent for other activities that adds values to the business (The act of preparing reports doesn’t help your business increase sales, reduce cost or improve customer satisfaction).
- You’re paying salaries for work that can be automated (In other words, you’re already paying for a manual CRM system through salaries today).
So how do you decide which CRM system to go for? Every vendor is shouting features and highlighting technical terms that you probably don’t understand.
It all depends on your business needs but here are some time-tested tips on what your CRM must at least do/have:
- Anywhere anytime access. That means being able to access your business knowledge from a smart phone, tablet or laptop.
- Real-time dashboards and reports you need to monitor your business health (Building reports should be easy and done in seconds. Not hours).
- Flexibility of the CRM system to adapt to your unique business needs (Your CRM should be able to change easily whenever you add/remove processes in your business).
- Integration options with other systems (You may not think about integrating your CRM with other systems today, but you want that option when that time comes).
Don’t get distracted by all the bells and whistles a CRM can do. Decide what you need to get your business going (either to help you increase sales, reduce cost or improve customer satisfaction) and get the CRM to adapt to your business needs.
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