There are many choices when it comes to buying the best CRM software, but to choose one that fits your business needs is a challenging task. The nature of business has changed from being product-centric to being customer-centric, which has led to exponential growth in the CRM market. CRM is expected to touch more than $80 billion in revenues by 2025 at a CAGR of 6%.
One of the key factors behind the growth of CRM solutions is accessibility. Companies need access to customer data in real-time, in which mobile and cloud solutions lead the way. Many top CRM software companies are focusing on customer engagement, emerging SMEs, social platforms, and the benefits of sharing ideas in real-time. Enterprises are coming up with solutions for Social Monitoring, Social Listening, Social Middleware, Social Management, and Social Measurement to provide the best-in-class customer experience to their customers.
Step 1: Do you Need a CRM Solution
The need for CRM emerges gradually over time as a business develops. Initially, when businesses are small, keeping track of sales and the associated revenue generated can be done in an excel. As the business grows, keeping track of individual sales becomes tedious. Sales representatives focus more on closing deals rather than keeping reports or maintaining trackers. An efficient CRM tool can help maintain data in just a few clicks. It not only makes the jobs of a sales representative easy but also provides opportunities for further growth and revenue generation by enabling them to monitor the data and identify opportunities and areas of improvement.
Step 2: Recognize the Features that a CRM Tool Can Provide
Once you are aware that your business needs a CRM tool, you need to know the features that a CRM tool can offer. Different CRM tools offer different features; however, certain features, such as the ones mentioned below, are provided by most tools.
- Customer Management – A CRM tool provides users opportunities to service customers better by segregating them in groups. It provides a platform to store information on customers and helps organizations interact with customers through multiple channels such as emails, chat, live calls, etc. A good CRM tool can identify revenue opportunities by identifying customer behavior and traits.
- Analytics and Automation – Some of the best CRM software offers users various dashboard options that help them gain a clearer idea of the business, which, in turn, makes their decision-making process easier. CRM solutions also help in creating workflows to streamline business operations. Analytics and automation in a CRM tool also help businesses identify areas that can be tapped for growth.
- Adaptability – CRM tools can be used to great effect in the BFSI, education, government, healthcare, and manufacturing end-use industries.
- Forecasting and Lead Generation – A CRM tool provides insights on how current operations are managed and what can be expected in the near feature, which helps management create plans for the business accordingly.
Step 3: Understand your Business Requirements and Needs
Researching the features that a CRM solution offers will help you understand what is required for your business. You can make a list of the top features you are looking for in a CRM solution based on the business priorities you need to achieve. It is advisable to keep pricing in mind as well. If a feature comes with a higher cost or added cost, you can evaluate if your business really needs the feature. Once you identify the “why” and the “for what” you need CRM software for, the next step would be to find the best CRM software for your needs.
Step 4: Research to Find the Best Options
When looking for a suitable CRM software in 2020, you will come across various options, each providing a different set of features. Today, several directory and software selection sites make this process much easier. Here is one of the many marketplaces available to get you started.
You can begin by trying to understand the features of the various software available in the market and shortlisting the ones that meet your requirements. As mentioned earlier, do keep costs in mind. A healthy comparison of the different solutions that meet your requirements can go a long way in helping you choose the right one.
Step 5: Shortlist Options that Meet your Needs
Once you have gone through the available option and shortlisted the ones that meet your requirements, choose the top three options that have all the features in your priority list. Working with more than three choices can be counterproductive and make your selection process unnecessarily complicated. You can take help from external consultants to create requirements, evaluate software contenders, negotiate terms, and then install, configure, and train employees on how to get the most value from your new CRM.
Keep in mind hidden costs, if any, while looking at pricing options. You will also need to understand the renewal process, as well as other terms and conditions, to understand the true value of the product.
Step 6: Insist on a Product Demo
Always take a demo of any product you are interested in buying. Many companies offer a trial period to help you understand their product’s features and value before buying. Most companies have a dedicated sales representative who will take you through the various features and user interface of the product. This helps you understand if the product suits your needs and will be beneficial for your organization. The demo will also help you understand the training needs you and your employees will have to go through to make the most of the software.
Step 7: Choose the Best Product
This step is where you, after all your analysis and testing, choose the vendor or product that meets all your business requirements. If there are no vendors that meet all your requirements, you may need re-align your requirements or choose a vendor/product that meets most of your requirements.
Step 8: Negotiate to Get the Best Deal
Once you have decided on the software you need, negotiate to get the best deal possible. Typically, the end of the quarter or the end of the month is the best time to negotiate as most companies offer discounts at this time.
These are just some of the points you should look out for before buying a CRM software solution. Keep in mind that the needs of organizations differ, so you can tweak these points to suit your organizational needs. Ultimately, the solution you buy needs to work for you and give you and your organization the results you hoped to achieve.