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How to Choose the Right CRM for Your Small Business

How to Choose the Right CRM for Your Small Business


by


A good CRM can lead to stronger customer loyalty—and sales.


Business owners are always looking for ways to increase their company’s productivity and efficiency, while also improving customer loyalty and sales. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution can help you do both.

At its most basic, CRM is software that helps your company build and maintain relationships with clients. It’s a way to manage your customers’ contact info and track how and when you’re communicating with them. Most providers have incorporated a series of other tools—sales, accounting, vendor information and more—so you can run a huge part of your business through a single interface.

Prices depend on the solution and your company’s size and needs. Your bill could be $10 a month or hundreds of dollars. It’s a good idea for almost all businesses.

A survey by Tech News World showed that 67 percent of customers who interfaced with a business using a CRM solution reported better quality of service, and 58 percent reported a closer relationship and increased satisfaction during their interactions.

But choose the CRM that’s the best fit for your company. Get it right, and you’ll see improvements in your customer’s satisfaction, sales and team efficiency. Get it wrong, and you’ll be paying for a system no one uses.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since the system will be utilized by virtually every department within your company, a good CRM should first and foremost be easy for staff to use and understand. There are a few essential questions to ask when selecting a CRM.

»   What do you want the CRM to do for your company?

»   Will it be cloud-based or installed on the computers in your office?

»   What tools or features does your ideal CRM offer?

»   How difficult will it be to introduce your existing data into this new CRM? Is the system a good fit for your business?

»   Any other possible drawbacks or challenges?

It’s critical to carefully do your homework up front and pick an appropriate CRM. Failure rates for CRM implementation can be as high as 63 percent, according to Business2Community.

The Features You Need

Your CRM should at least have these key features.

»   Is your CRM easy to use? Does it seamlessly integrate with your business and your other systems?

»   Does your CRM have tools for automated email responses and full-fledged email campaigns?

»   Can data be entered from any location? A system you can only use at the office is not much of a solution.

»   Does your CRM track sales quotes and orders? Can it be used to generate invoices?

»   Can it help you calculate sales forecasts?

»   Can your CRM help your individual salespeople track their own progress and how close they are to meeting goals or quotas?

Analytics and data tracking should be properly set up so that you’re getting accurate and relevant insights. And don’t forget to find out what customer support is offered. If it fits your price range, select a system that offers 24/7 customer support.

The Human Element

When adopting a CRM solution into your business, don’t forget that the ultimate success of implementation will be determined by the individuals on your team. Is the CRM easy for them to use? Do they get value out of using it? Remember that for some of your staff, you may be asking them to change their habits and the way they keep track of things—no small thing.

Perhaps get a few key members of your staff involved in the selection process. Then, once you’ve decided on a CRM, allow time for training to make sure that everyone knows how to use the system and where they can turn if there’s a problem or question. Assign one or more tech-savvy staff members to be the designated CRM guru within the company.

Selecting the correct CRM for your business is an important decision. Keep these tips, your own research and your employees’ feedback in mind when making your decision.

Written by

Mark Dryer is the CEO and founder of MDL Technology, an IT and managed services firm in Kansas City. (816) 781 - 3006 // mdryer@mdltechnology.com

Categories: Tech

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