Your CRM software will define your relationship with your customers. Here’s how to sift through the noise and choose the right types of CRMs for your business.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software used to be a tool to help sales and PR people maintain customer information. Now, it has expanded to provide accounting, sales, marketing, and vendor tools all in one suite.
There are many types of CRMs available for companies ranging in size from one-person shops to publicly traded entities. Each software solution comes packed with features from the very simple to the very complex.
Keep reading to discover how to choose between the types of CRMs available.
Start With Your Needs
A one-person shop is going to have vastly different needs from that of even a mid-sized small business. When choosing a CRM tool, identify what the bottlenecks are within your business.
Use these questions to inform your software choices:
- Are you using multiple software tools that don’t work well together?
- Are you still using excel worksheets for your business data?
- What workflow areas take up most of your time?
- Consider the size of your shop, the number of users, and your budget
- Do you need your system to be cloud-based or on-premise?
Cloud-based CRM tools are software services hosted online. You can access it anywhere the internet is available. They can be created custom for your business but typically are ready-made services.
In 2017, more than 3 million people worked from home at least half the time. This number is only expected to climb in the future. Cloud services allow business owners to offer employment flexibility.
On-premise CRM solutions are customized for your company. They are centralized where your business hub is and maintained by your IT crew. This is a great option for highly sensitive customer data. The price is much higher initially than cloud-based but pays for itself over time.
Look for Integration
Automated workflow is a growing trend among Software as a Service (SaaS) tools. Seamless integration among all your apps is one of those automated features. The CRM you choose should work with your web forms, e-commerce platform, accounting software, and more.
One simple CRM tool is Mailchimp. Its main features include marketing and email campaigns for small businesses. While it automates email communication, a tool like this is not going to include a lead generation sales funnel like Pipedrive. Instead, you’d have to implement a third-party syncing tool for a seamless Pipedrive MailChimp integration. A syncing tool like PieSync is great for businesses that can’t afford a custom software solution.
The main purpose is to improve workflow. Any software you choose should be easy to implement in real-time. For more robust platforms, make sure the company offers training and customer support. You don’t want to get saddled with a hefty price tag for an application you can’t use.
Find a Price that Fits Your Needs
CRM software range from simple and inexpensive to complex and high-end. Inexpensive options, $10-$15/month, are great for tiny small businesses. At this price, implementation is straightforward but with limited features.
Software in the $20-$75/month price range offer more capabilities like higher storage minimums or number of user accounts. This is great for growing businesses with a few employees.
The high-end CRM tools, $250+/month, require training to use. These usually include full accounting, e-commerce, marketing features and more. The more expensive software is great for higher customer and employee volumes.
The Right Types of CRMs
The right types of CRMs are easy to implement, integrate and offer room to grow. For more complex CRM tools, training and customer service should be able to answer every question. Take your software for a test run before you commit.
Choosing a CRM should come down to what improves your business workflow. When your workflow improves, your business improves.
Learn more about how to improve your business with email marketing here.