When we meet with our customers, they often ask us what is CRM, how does it work, how does it really help businesses and, in particular, how do we make sure we have the right CRM system? A more important consideration is that the tool needs to be helpful to those who will use it every day: your sales teams. A few years ago, CRM systems were seen as management tools used by managers, mainly to supervise the work of sales teams. Some people were reluctant to use them. In reality, CRM is an effective tool that simplifies your team’s work. For it to work well, all of your employees need to adopt it. With more than 20 years of experience and 350 implementations under our belt, our team knows how CRM works. Every day at Gestisoft, we help a number of businesses choose the tool that is best for them. Below, we reveal the 7 most important tips we give our customers, to help you choose the CRM solution that best fits your business needs.
1. Picking the right CRM: Determine your budget
The first step in picking a CRM system is to determine your budget. It’s easy to forget this aspect, or even leave out some factors which, in the end, will have a significant impact on your expenditures and your profits. Of course, buying a CRM system entails costs related to its purchase, but it also means incurring time-related costs for your business. All of your employees will use this CRM. Think of the additional hours needed for training and support. Do you prefer to call on a team of experts, or on an employee within your company? If the latter, will they need training, or are they already a CRM pro? Important costs to take into consideration:
• Software costs
• Cloud license costs
• Server costs
• Coaching and support from experts
• The cost of and time needed for implementation
• The cost of and time needed for training
• The time your human resources spend on the project
2. Picking the right CRM: Identify your goals and your outcomes
Once your budget has been approved, you need to identify your goals. Your CRM needs to meet your specific needs, as well as the outcomes you want to achieve. Take the time you need to properly determine the goals that you, your business, and your employees need to achieve.
Possible goals, when purchasing CRM software:
• Automating sales to increase revenue
• Compiling data and statistics for better decision-making
• Ensuring better management of your sales team
• Aligning communications between different departments on your team
To do this effectively, quantify your current outcomes, and those you want to achieve using your CRM. You can then determine what you need to do to get where you want to go.
3. Picking the right CRM: Use the KISS method - Keep It Simple, Stupid
The simpler your tool is to begin with, the faster your team can adopt and use it to good effect. It’ll grow with you. As well, keep an open mind: this new tool may lead to changes in work methods within the organization. It will be important for your teams to feel confident working with it.
When implementing CRM software, don’t:
• adopt the tool before you understand it
• use a complex system, right from the start
• let your employees, when faced with something new, be without support
• forget to adjust the way you work
When implementing CRM software, do:
• keep your CRM easy-to-use for your employees
• let your team develop the tool as your needs evolve
• show that you’re open to something new
• accept that the way you do things may change
• encourage an agile working method: implement the tool in several phases, and work with employees
4. Picking the right CRM: Opt for a tool that can keep up with your growth
To be as effective as possible, your CRM must be able to keep up with the growth in your business and of your employees’ roles. Remember, the goal of your CRM is to increase your efficiency. As your business grows and your goals proliferate, and become more complex, your CRM solution will be there to help you.
CRM is useful for:
• your sales team
• your marketing team
• customer service
• integration of ERP software
5. Picking the right CRM: Ensure better labour management with CRM automation
Automation is a powerful ally in helping your team achieve your goals. The main goal of your CRM is to simplify tasks and the work your teams do, making their time more productive. It will become an important and needed partner. In the past, members of a sales team would use their “black books” to store information about their customers. Over time, we saw salespeople keep using that black book, even though they had access to a CRM solution. With incorrectly used and poorly optimized CRM software, your sales team will do the same. And that’s not what you want!
What CRM automation can do for your team:
• Create follow-up reminders
• Manage the sending of email automatically
• Sort customers based on their buying journey
• Improve sales processes
• Ensure contact is made with customers who are ready to buy
6. Picking the right CRM: Make sure you have support and partners available
Maximize your time; make sure to have access to top-notch technical support. You can train an expert in-house, or take advantage of customer support by bringing in a partner who has expertise with the solution.
Popular platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 are good examples of this.
Why train a CRM expert in-house?
• To do the configuration yourself
• To make sure support is always available
• To create supporting documentation
Why work with a CRM partner?
• Your budget, and your project’s level of complexity
• Your needs, and your proficiency with the solution
• Access to supportive resources
• High-quality customer support from the supplier
7. Picking the right CRM: Choose a tool that will be useful to everyone in your company
Implementing new software in a business is not easy to do. Some will be reluctant, while others will jump in with both feet. So you need to find a solution the whole company will get on board with. Before choosing your CRM, make sure that you have an overview of your needs and that you don’t make the decision alone. By involving employees and management in the selection process, you’ll have a better understanding of employees’ realities and needs. Also, the fact that your teams feel involved in selecting the CRM will help them to be more open to change.
How to make sure you implement your CRM properly:
• Get feedback from all your teams
o Define your needs and objectives
o Determine any current problems
o Discuss solutions your team has experience with
• Involve the employees who are going to use this tool the most
• Make sure you see the whole picture
• Test the product or ask for a demonstration before you buy
The best CRM is the one that meets your needs
Your CRM is not just a customer database. It’s a comprehensive tool that will help you become more effective. So, take into account your business objectives, your employees’ (users and administrators) day-to-day realities, and the time you have available to dedicate to this tool. In the end, there is no good or bad CRM. The best one for you is the one that meets the criteria you’ve established. If you still have questions, get in touch. We’ll be glad to discuss this topic with you in greater detail.