Nowadays, companies of all sizes are looking for ways to improve their approach at marketing their products, sell them and provide customer service to gain a competitive edge.

Many of businesses are paying their attention to Customer Relationship Management solutions as an instrument that will help them manage their customer relationships before, during and after the sale. Choosing a CRM to automate key customer-facing processes begins with spending a lot of time considering the options and thinking how each of them is going to influence your company’s processes. The cost and time required to setup CRM means that you should choose a solution that fits your business needs perfectly. By working through the following simple five points, you will better develop your goals and criteria that your future CRM must meet.

Software (PD)

Examine how CRM will improve your business efficiency

Inspect your key business processes and analyze expectations to decide what exactly you want your future CRM system to improve. Start the process by thinking strategically on how CRM will help you to reach your goals, and how you will measure your progress. Then, think about your customers and what you are doing to improve in your interactions with them, it will help to understand what kind of data you need to store in your CRM system, what functionality it needs to have, and what kind of processes it will help you to improve within your organization.

Decide what features you need in your system

Consider how your business is going to change in size in the nearest future: are you going to hire a larger number of employees or downsize the business because of financial reasons. Analyzing all the details, make a list of features your CRM need to have: examine the company’s workflow for all customer-focused activities, which your CRM is going to enhance, define how leads will get into the company, what happens at each stage, how the work moves from one stage to the other.  Also, think about the new functionality that can be implemented at a later stage to help you with your growth. Once you understand what is needed to support future business growth, be sure to understand the costs involved to scale or add future software features.

Analyze the flexibility of the CRM system

Ensure your existing applications and systems will integrate with the CRM system you choose. For example, you may take advantage of several email programs such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook or use multiple social channels like LinkedIn or Facebook to interact with your customers. Modern CRM systems offer you options for seamlessly integrate all of your great tools and social networks. Also, pay attention to your corporate hardware before making a decision about CRM software. Find out what you need to have CRM synchronized automatically and verify if you can ensure the offline access. If your team are working constantly on the move, look for the mobile app and check the functionality that the system offers in its mobile versions. These are small details, but they will make it possible for you to be several times more productive.

Subscribe for the free trial before purchasing

After you audit your existing processes, which you want to improve and make a list of all the CRM options that might fit your goals, take time to subscribe to the free trial before make a final decision. Most of vendors give for a trial up to several weeks to work in the system. Subscribing for the free trial will show you if your expectations on each solution are realistic, how it is convenient to use each CRM and see if you can measure the results from the usage.

Define realistic project timing

Implementing a CRM system takes a lot of time, so implementing a solution without careful consideration can be a reason for a failure. That is why you must investigate the amount of time required to implement the RM software system into your company system. Regardless of the CRM you are going to choose, the critical area to think about is the CRM success among your employees – how you are going to make them use the system to ensure you will get the proper and consistent data. So, consider the proper time for implementing the system as well as for adapting employees to working in CRM to establish a realistic timeframe before implementation.

CRM is a tool than can be used by all departments dealing with customers and prospects in your company, and when used to its full effect, it provides you with great the data that can be used to develop your business, identify leads, increase customer loyalty, and much more.

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