How to Evaluate a CRM for Your Business: The Ultimate Guide

A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a vital tool for any business. Instead of manually managing spreadsheets and keeping track of customer data, CRM systems allow your company to automate and streamline the process. But with so many CRMs on the market, how do you know which one is right for your business?

Understanding how to correctly evaluate a customer service management system can make all the difference in choosing one that meets the specific needs of your business. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of evaluating a CRM and selecting the right one for your business needs.

Table Of Contents

  • What Is A CRM System?
  • What Type Of Companies Should Use CRM Software?
  • The Top 6 Benefits Of A CRM System
  • What Type Of CRM Systems Can I Choose From?
  • The Most Important Factors You Should Use To Evaluate A CRM 
  • Questions To Ask Each CRM Provider
  • Choose Your Provider And Implement Your New CRM System

What Is A CRM System?

Before choosing the right CRM system for your team, you’ll want to understand what it does and how it can help your business. A CRM system is a software application that helps companies manage customer data and interactions. For example, CRMs can be used to track leads, customers, sales opportunities, and support issues. Most CRMs also include features like contact management, task automation, and reporting.

The CRM market size currently has a value of 120 billion dollars and is only predicted to increase year to year as more businesses invest in customer relationship management systems.

What Type Of Companies Should Use CRM Software?

Any type of business that interacts with customers can benefit from a CRM system. This includes companies of all sizes in any industry. Whether you’re a one-person operation or a large corporation, if you have customers, a CRM can help you manage and nurture those relationships. Likewise, if you have a sales team, marketing team, or just want to increase efficiency within your business, customer management software is a good investment.

The 6 Top Benefits Of A CRM System

There are many benefits of investing in a CRM system for your business. The six most common uses include:

1. Increased Sales

A CRM system can help sales teams close more deals by giving them the ability to track leads and opportunities. In addition, by being able to streamline the sales process, including tasks, events, and communication, sales teams can increase efficiency and close more deals.

2. Better Customer Service

CRMs can help customer service teams by giving them a single view of the customer. This allows agents to resolve issues and provide a better overall experience quickly. In addition, some systems include features like knowledge base management, automated ticketing and intuitive integrations, which can further help customer service teams. In fact, a compatible CRM solution is among the top three tools and technologies for creating personalized interactions with customers to foster loyalty and better marketing ROI.

3. In-depth Analytics And Reporting

A customer service management system can give you insights into your business that you wouldn’t be able to get from a manual process. By tracking customer interactions, sales data, and other information, you can generate reports that will help you make better decisions for your business. Additionally, some CRMs include features like dashboards and visualizations to make it easy to see your data.

4. Centralized Database

A CRM system gives you a centralized database for all your customer information. This includes contact information, purchase history, support issues, and more. Having this information in one place makes it easy to access and use when you need it. Plus, your business will never have to use multiple programs for different aspects of customer management again.

5. Improved Communication

A CRM software platform can help improve communication between coworkers by giving them a central place to communicate. This can be done through features like task management, activity streams, and notifications. Additionally, some CRMs include built-in chat applications that make it easy to communicate with teammates without leaving the program.

6. Increased Productivity

More than 50% of teams have improved their productivity by using a CRM system. When you have all your customer information in one place and features to automate tasks, you and your team will be able to work more efficiently. Additionally, tracking your sales data and customers’ interactions will give you insights into where you can improve your process.

What Type Of CRM Systems Can I Choose From?

There are four main types of CRMs:

Operational CRMs

These systems are focused on automating and streamlining processes like sales, marketing, and customer service. Operational CRMs typically include features like contact management, task automation, and reporting.

Analytical CRMs

These systems are focused on generating insights from customer data. They use data mining, segmentation, and scoring to help businesses make decisions about marketing, sales, and operations.

Collaborative CRMs

These systems are focused on communication and collaboration between departments within a company. They typically include document management, social media integration, and project management features.

Strategic CRMs

These systems are focused on providing a 360-degree view of the customer. They help businesses manage customer data, interactions, and channels in one place. Strategic CRMs typically include features like lead management, contact management, and reporting.

The Most Important Factors You Should Use To Evaluate A CRM

Once you’ve decided to choose a CRM program for your business, it’s time to narrow down the top programs by evaluating them for the features that are most important to your business. Here are some of the most crucial CRM features to consider:

Sales Forecasting

One of the top features to consider in a CRM system is sales forecasting. This feature uses data from your sales team to generate predictions about future sales. This information can be used to make decisions about marketing, operations, and other business areas. For any business that relies on sales, this is an essential feature.

UX Design

Another essential feature to consider is UX design. This refers to the overall design and user experience of the CRM system. A good UX design will make it easy for you and your team to use the CRM system and get the most out of it. On the other hand, if the interface is challenging to use or is confusing, it will likely lead to frustration and decreased productivity. 

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a feature that allows you to group customers together based on shared characteristics. This can be helpful for target marketing and understanding which messages are most relevant to each group of customers. Additionally, customer segmentation can help you identify, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities.

Customer Management

Customer management is a broad term that refers to the various ways you can manage your customer data. This includes features like contact management, account management, and lead management. A sound CRM system will make it easy for you to add, edit, and delete customer data. Additionally, it should allow you to import and export customer information to keep your data up to date.

Standardization Of Processes

Will you be able to standardize processes with the CRM system? This is an important consideration, especially for businesses with multiple locations or departments. Having a standardized approach can help to improve efficiency and communication between departments. Plus, it can make it easier to train new employees on the CRM system.

Customization To Your Business Needs

Customization is another critical feature to consider. Does the CRM system offer customization options to meet your specific business needs? Many CRMs provide some degree of customization, but some are more flexible than others. If you have unique requirements for your CRM system, it’s essential to choose a program that can be customized to meet those needs. For example, if you need a CRM system that integrates with your accounting software, you’ll want to choose a program that offers that type of integration.

Analytics And Reporting Features

Reporting and analytics are essential for understanding your sales data and customer interactions. A good CRM system will provide insights into your sales process, customers, and marketing campaigns. Additionally, it should allow you to create custom reports to get the specific information you need.

E-mail Integration And Tracking

E-mail integration and tracking are important features for any CRM system. This allows you to track e-mail interactions with customers and prospects. Additionally, it can help you automatically add e-mail contacts to your CRM system. Having e-mail integration and tracking is a helpful way to keep your customer data up-to-date and accurate, as well as ensure that you’re following up on hot leads or potential sales.

Interaction Tracking

Interaction tracking is a feature that allows you to track customer interactions across multiple channels. This includes phone calls, e-mails, social media interactions, and more. This information can be used to understand your customers and their needs better. Additionally, it can help you identify sales opportunities or areas of improvement for your business.

Mobile CRM Option

Can you take your CRM system with you on the go? A mobile CRM option is vital for businesses that need to access their data while away from the office. For example, this can be helpful for salespeople who are frequently on the road or customer service representatives who need to be able to access customer data while away from their desks.

Pricing

Finally, pricing is an important consideration. There are a variety of CRM systems on the market, and they all have different price points. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a system that fits within your budget. Additionally, you’ll want to consider whether or not the features offered can justify the price.

Questions To Ask Each CRM Provider

Once you’ve evaluated your needs and compared each CRM system to the factors listed above, you’ll want to start reaching out to CRM providers to ask questions that will help narrow your decision down even further. 

While features are important, integration and understanding exactly what you’re getting are critical in order for your business to make the right decision. So here are some questions you should ask each CRM provider:

questions to ask CRM provider

How Long Will It Take To Implement The CRM?

It’s essential to understand how long it will take to implement the CRM system. An average CRM system will take anywhere from one to three months to implement. This means that you don’t want to choose a system that will take more than three months to implement if you’re looking for a faster solution for your company. 

What Is The Annual Cost Of The CRM?

The annual cost of the CRM is another important factor to consider. You’ll want to make sure that you have a good understanding of the pricing structure and what exactly is included in the price. Additionally, it would help if you asked about any additional fees that may be associated with using the system. For example, some CRM systems charge a fee for each user, while others charge a monthly or annual subscription fee.

Will This System Integrate With My Existing Tools?

As we mentioned before, integration is an important consideration when choosing a CRM system. You’ll want to make sure that the system you choose will integrate with the existing tools and software programs that you use. This will help to improve efficiency and avoid any data entry errors. Make sure to ask about any current programs you’re using and how you can integrate them with your CRM system.

If you can’t integrate your programs within the CRM system, you’ll want to know if the potential CRM provider can extract the data from your old system and upload it into your new one. If not, this may prove to be a very time-consuming and costly process.

Does It Cost Extra To Implement This CRM System?

Some CRM systems charge an implementation fee, while others include it in the price. Therefore, it’s important to double-check with your provider to ensure that you’re not being charged any hidden fees.

Are Training And Support Included In The Cost Of The CRM?

Training and support are essential factors to consider when choosing a CRM system. You’ll want to make sure that you have access to training resources so that you and the rest of your team members can learn how to use the system. Additionally, it would be best if you asked about the availability of customer support in case you have any questions or run into any problems.

Most CRM systems offer dedicated training and support resources. However, some companies may charge an additional fee for these services over. For example, you might need to purchase a few months of support for the CRM system, which will allow you to have a certain number of support hours past the initial installation of the system.

Can I Try The CRM Before I Buy It?

Many CRM providers offer free demos and trials of their products. This is a great way to see if a system is a good fit for your business without committing to it. Keep in mind that not all providers offer free trials, but most are happy to provide a demonstration of the product.

Is This System Scalable?

Scalability is an important consideration when choosing a CM system. You’ll want to make sure that the system you choose can grow with your business. For example, if you have plans to expand your sales team in the future, you’ll want to make sure that the CRM system can accommodate additional users.

What Happens If I Need To Cancel My Service?

If you decide that a CRM system isn’t suitable for your business, you’ll want to know what the process is for cancelling your service. Some providers charge cancellation fees, while others require you to give notice before cancelling. Make sure to ask about this ahead of time so that you know what to expect if you need to cancel your service.

Choose Your Provider And Implement Your New CRM System

Now that you know how to evaluate a CRM for your business, it’s time to choose your provider and implement your new system. This is a huge decision to make, so do your research and ask plenty of questions.

Once you’ve chosen a system, the next step is to implement it. This can be a daunting task, but fortunately, most providers offer support and resources to help you through the process.

Conclusion

Evaluating a CRM system doesn’t have to be complicated. By following the steps and questions listed above, you can be sure to choose the best CRM system for your business. With the right CRM system in place, you’ll be able to improve efficiency, sales, and customer satisfaction while helping your business grow.

Don’t forget to take advantage of free demos or trials before committing to a CRM system. This will allow you to try out the system and ensure it’s a good fit for your business. Then, once you’ve found the right system, you can start reaping the benefits that a CRM has to offer. 

If you’re ready to create smarter touchpoints for your customers and take advantage of all the digital options available for companies like yours, explore more at ASAR Digital.

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