How to assess a CRM before investing
Where do you start when your company is ready to incorporate a CRM program into your business model? If you are considering this important and efficient upgrade, you have doubtless already spent untold hours developing your enterprise and putting your unique spin on it. You need a sales CRM platform that integrates seamlessly and connects with every aspect of your business.
A viable CRM system will manage all your company’s relationships and interactions with both prospective and current customers. You want it to optimize sales by helping your reps better engage with prospects, track interactions with current clients, organize communication records, calendars, schedules, sales and service records, competitor equipment records, marketing data, and much more. Used correctly, this tool can create and drive complex workflows for an entire sales team and give management the ability to track employee progress in real-time.
Careful consideration of the following questions will help ensure that your CRM investment is sound, providing a valuable resource for your business both now and in the future.
What are our goals with this system?
A CRM system is much more than a data repository. What you want this tool to do and how your employees will use it is as unique as the way you do business. When you begin shopping for options, it can be very helpful to spend time defining specific and measurable goals with which to evaluate CRM platforms available on the market.
A good first step is to define your sales team’s top priorities. Look for products that automate repetitive sales tasks, so that reps can focus on closing deals rather than being bogged down with manual data entry.
Beyond that, what is it most important for your management tool to do? Spend time evaluating data storage, potential, and current client database reporting, lead tracking, training, sales pipeline management, reporting, and marketing outreach functionality when considering a CRM program.
Collaborate with your entire team and solicit their input on what they deem to be essential goals.
- Do you want to formalize and document your sales and delivery workflow?
- Do you want to increase time management skills for your reps?
- Do you want to automate sales outreach? Do you want to reach a particular deal close rate within a certain timeframe?
Choose several top goals as benchmarks when you are assessing CRM systems.
What are our must-have Features?
Different CRM systems have different features. They may focus on different client communication modes, different ways to log and analyze sales data, or different pipeline management tools. You are seeking the CRM software that best fits the way your company does business today, with the ability to expand into future markets as well. Have your team look at where most of your company resources are invested right now. Identify key workflows, as well as soliciting insights from your team into areas of improvement.
Narrow down your CRM choices to those which align with these workflows, and desired areas of improvement and market development.
Are you looking for…
- streamlined automation?
- increased communication between teams?
- new lead management tools?
- integration between the sales and marketing departments?
Combine the top desired features with your company goals to narrow down the list of new CRM products you will consider.
How will we drive user adoption?
User adoption is critical to seeing a return on investment for any software tool. It is critical to craft a strategy to ensure user adoption. Who will use the system? Ideally, your CRM is a tool to link different departments with a common database and tools to optimize their use.
Engage all staff in a conversation before adoption. Take time to understand their pain points and their concerns. Involve them in choosing a system that addresses those concerns. Assure them that there will be adequate training, support, feedback opportunities, and system evaluation in place.
Using a tool is certainly better than just observing it. Make sure there is adequate meeting time and opportunities for direct demonstration with all stakeholders. Remind them that a data-driven business culture facilitated by a CRM system can provide both better customer service and increased revenue.
Getting Started With SalesChain
This getting started video outlines some of the onboarding process and is used to help dealers switching to SalesChain understand the depth of automation we can offer.
What integrations do we need?
Most enterprises make use of multiple software products to manage various aspects of their business workflow. Integrating your CRM system with other key industry software products can streamline that workflow. It precludes the necessity of populating the same data across disparate programs and applications. Eliminating that duplicity also reduces the error inherent in manual data entry.
Start by generating a list of all the current products and applications that your company makes use of.
- Do you need to synchronize calendar information?
- Do you need to share sales pipeline data across departments?
- Do you need to pull in leads from other databases?
- Do you need to add marketing data to your contact list?
Now evaluate CRM products with an eye to these integration needs. Search for a tool that already integrates with as many of your needs as possible. If there is one you cannot find, see if the CRM software offers an API to connect you through.
What KPIs will we track in our CRM?
Tracking KPIs, such as sales metrics, provides vital information used to set business goals, evaluate workflows, and identify areas that need improvement. But this data analysis should not only be the purview of the managerial staff. All employees are stakeholders – when the company does well, they do well. A CRM platform that provides your sales team with the ability to examine key sales numbers within a powerful business intelligence module not only saves time but elucidates areas of concern as well as improvement. This data can help measure the success of all your teams as well as your workflow process. Consider not only sales activity data, but lead projection, revenue, support services, and marketing data as well, in your evaluation of CRM products.
What support/customization is available?
Avoid purchasing a CRM package that is cost-effective but offers minimal features to fulfill your company’s requirements. By using software designed to meet the needs of your industry and, more importantly, the needs of your business, you will be optimizing your investment and saving time in the long run. When your software developer is familiar with the specifics of your industry, they can provide a workflow process that makes sense. They should also have professionally trained call center personnel to provide detailed and expert customer training and support for all the members of your team.
What should you do if you’re considering changing CRM systems?
If you are an office technology dealer, SalesChain represents your number one choice. When your organization partners with our industry-specific software solution, you are presented with a set of tools that is specific to the functions of your business and easily upgradable with collaborative customization. Because there is a clear workflow, and clear utilities to facilitate your unique sales process, your organization can take advantage of our system much more effectively.