CRM systems are the backbone of most sales organizations today. In a growing number of companies, it also serves as the system of record for marketing and customer support. Companies can take advantage of many efficiencies of scale when multiple departments use the CRM tool as their system of record, not to mention the additional benefit of having employees across the organization consuming the same information and working from the same “source of truth.”
Take your time to fully review CRM vendors before selecting one for your organization. This is an important decision and likely one that you will live with for quite some time. While most CRMs have similar core functionality and are built to solve the same high-level problems, each solution has variable components that may address your specific needs better than others. If you are clear on your objectives and requirements up-front, you will be best-suited to conduct a full analysis and comparison of the options and identify the most appropriate CRM system for your needs.
Today’s CRM systems are commonly being used to manage the entire customer lifecycle, from suspect and prospect phases, to customer, and on throughout support phases. If your organization is planning to use your CRM system in multiple departments, be sure to include a representative from each department who can contribute to your requirements document. Be clear on the functionality needed and how it will be used so that you can test all required scenarios during your proof of concept. Otherwise, you may get sidetracked by features that you don’t actually need and end up with a system that looks good on the surface, but doesn’t meet all your specific needs.
Many CRM systems were built for the masses and focus on general elements needed for sales and the executive suite. There are now CRM systems designed to fulfill specific needs in certain industries where you may have more specific KPIs to monitor. CRMs built for specific industries may offer elements customized to industry standards, compliance, tracking and reporting. Ask vendors how their tool accommodates your needs at the micro level.
If you have special requirements for your industry, think carefully before buying a generic tool. If you need a lot of customizations for your specific workflows and processes that you can’t customize yourself, there could be a lot of hidden costs in your implementation.
Add-ons & Integration
Meeting your defined requirements is obviously priority number one. It is worth your time, however, to understand the value-added features of each CRM. There may be features that aren’t included in your requirements document but would add valuable time-savings or industry-specific tracking and reporting to your processes. There may be features that fulfill a need that you hadn’t considered or that was a nice-to-have vs. a need-to-have.
Integration options are also key. Discuss with each vendor all the integrations they have and be sure the ones you need are on the list. It’s crucial to the long-term success of your project that you can connect your CRM system to all other relevant systems within your business.
Modern CRM systems are built with customer needs in mind. Find the solution that best fits your business. In addition to the specifics above, look for a modern design that is easy to navigate, requires limited training, and demonstrates best of breed UI features like drag and drop functionality. Pipedrive is a good example of a modern CRM system worth checking out. Contact us for more information about the new integration between ClicData and PipeDrive CRM.