Evaluating and Choosing a CRM

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Brands in every industry are leaning into digital tools to monitor, optimize, and improve operations. While CRM solutions were once only popular among sizeable B2B organizations, now companies of all sizes are wondering how to choose the right CRM solution to inform their day-to-day.

Ready to get plugged in? Here’s what you need to know and look for when choosing a CRM.

What Does CRM Stand For? What Does It Do?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRMs are digital tools that store past, current, and prospective customer contact information, manage marketing campaigns, track contact interactions, and highlight future sales opportunities.

Examples of CRMs

You might already be using a CRM, and you have almost certainly heard of popular CRM software companies. Some of the largest CRM companies are:

  • Zoho
  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • Oracle
  • Zendesk

So, which is the right one for you? It comes down to finding the best CRM features to suit your company’s needs and an interface your team will actually use.

How to Choose a CRM

Follow this five-step CRM evaluation checklist.

1. Remember why you need a CRM—and what kind you need.

Using a CRM fulfills a need, or several needs, your company has identified. For example, benefits of a CRM may include:

  • Creating a better customer experience
  • Evaluating the buyer’s journey to improve your lead-to-sale rate
  • Improving internal communication
  • Improving data and document management – for legal purposes and administrative efficiency

There are three types of CRM software designed to help businesses:

  • Collaborative – Collaborative CRMs are designed to improve efficiencies inside your company and help different teams work together. These are most effective for storing customer data shared across the organization and keeping your marketing, sales, customer support, human resources, and other departments informed of changes to clients and customers.
  • Operational – Operational CRMs streamline a company’s relationship with customers. This is an excellent tool for sales teams to automate drip emails or other tactics to turn site visits or inquiries into qualified sales opportunities. An operational CRM can amplify the size and effectiveness of small sales teams and reveal what sort of communication is most productive.
  • Analytical – Analytical CRMs are designed to organize customer and operational data into actionable processes. According to one estimate, more than half of the structured data collected by a business is never used. Analytical CRMs can sort through the reams of information sourced from your digital assets and help you understand how your customers behave, shape future sales efforts, improve customer retention, and understand the problems your customers face.

Some CRM solutions may claim to be all of the above, which could be true – or not really. Keep reading to learn how to evaluate a CRM.

Related Content: What Are the Benefits of Email Marketing?

2. CRM Integrations – Make Sure All Your Toys Play Together

CRMs store and organize data. That makes it extremely important to find a CRM that integrates with your web platform, social channels, existing email client, and all other major systems. Be sure to check the integration capabilities (and ease of use) of all CRMs your company is considering.

3. Automation Matters

Automate repetitive tasks and email follow-ups to save time, reduce mistakes, and stay top-of-mind with your clients. In addition to facilitating contact management and lead generation, automation can also be used to generate reports and decision-making insights.

4. Check Out Customer Support

Narrow down your list of CRM options, and then do the unthinkable: call them. Customer support is the most underrated feature of any software and should play a key role in choosing a CRM. Read reviews, try contacting the company by email, and give them a call. You want to work with a partner that values what you do. Pick the CRM that picks up the phone.

5. Get Buy-In from Your Team

Who is going to use your CRM? Invite members of every level of the organization to experiment with, test, and provide feedback on the CRMs that make your shortlist. (Many solutions have free trials or guided demos.) Getting employees to be a part of the selection process will increase the likelihood of choosing a CRM they’ll want to use. CRMs are pointless if your team doesn’t make the most of the available features.

Ready to Pick a CRM? We Can Help

We aren’t a CRM company, but we know how vital these tools are for running effective marketing campaigns and analyzing their results. Our full-service marketing agency is always happy to answer your questions, learn more about your business and marketing needs, build custom reports, and ensure your CRM tools play a role in your company’s success. Get in touch today and let Oneupweb be a part of your next project.

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