Finding the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to help your sales team with contact management, sales management, and productivity is crucial to success. Getting this piece of your strategy right can set off a chain reaction that cuts costs, saves time, and can even boost morale.
Here are some of the main questions you need to consider when trying to choose the best CRM system for your business, and how to turn the answers into a clear decision.
The best CRM system for your business depends entirely on what you need it to do. The first step in choosing a CRM system is to be clear about what you want to achieve, and which problems you want it to address. Pinpoint and analyse any weaknesses in your sales and marketing process, and then consider the impact on your wider operations.
There are four key areas you should consider when determining if you need a CRM system:
You need to plan for where you are now, but also for where you think you’ll to be in the future. On-premise systems don’t typically allow for fast growth. By the time they’re fully implemented, you’ve outgrown them. Not all businesses are the same, so look for a CRM system that grows and adapts with your business at your own pace.
Small businesses – Do you need the system to scale as you grow? If you are a small company with a handful of users, any new system you introduce must be affordable now and flexible in the future, so you don't have to start from scratch and learn a new system when you expand. Imagine the benefits of never having to change system after growing from 20 users to 20,000!
Mid-sized companies – Because you’re competing with bigger players while also defending your position against newcomers and disruptive startups, the sales force automation features offered by CRM solutions can be a lifesaver for mid-sized companies. Find a CRM that can help you escape the squeeze from huge pressures on time and resources; one that can remove the repetitive administration tasks from sales and free your team to focus on winning deals.
Large companies – Most large companies likely have a CRM system in place already, but it may be time to upgrade. An updated system will better meet your needs and evolve with your business, which most likely encompasses more than just sales. Lucky for you, CRM systems have evolved as well. Marketing automation, customer service solutions, business intelligence and a platform to build virtually any functionality you require are all part of a modern CRM. Your CRM vendor should be a close partner, working with you on the implementation you need, including scalability and customisability, so you can achieve your goals.
Salesforce is a scalable solution for every size of business, from startups to market-leading enterprises.
Many companies start their CRM journey in the sales department, but soon discover that the benefits of better customer information can be felt elsewhere, too. For example, connecting your customer service solution to your CRM can help your whole organisation to develop a more customer-centric approach, providing insights on where to improve your offering. And unlike even the best standalone service desk software, an integrated CRM system can help you join up those insights with sales, marketing and beyond.
IT can benefit as well. With cloud-based CRM, the provider takes care of maintenance, backup, and security, freeing up time that your CTO and team would normally spend overseeing routine installations and upgrades.
You might be surprised at how far a CRM system can be integrated into your business. Think about whether a wider solution that integrates otherwise siloed systems could improve how you work – linking marketing to sales or service, or supply chain to production and delivery.
Now you need to drill down into the detail of your shortlisted solutions to see what best fits the requirements you gathered at the start. There are a number of different assets available to you to help you make your decision:
Dig a bit deeper and see what the pros have to say. Gartner Group is one of the world's leading technology research and analysis firms and has positioned Salesforce as a leading system for 9 years in a row. It puts Salesforce in its top Magic Quadrant analysis as a market leader with a strong ability to execute.
There are a number of respected and crowd-sourced review sites focussing on business software systems – with the reviews written by users of the systems.
If you investigate a product using one of the larger review sites you can see that many of the products have hundreds of ratings – so the sheer volume of reviews gives you some assurance as to the consistency, honesty and value of the opinions. If there are only a handful of reviews, be more careful about the weight you place on them.
At Salesforce, we are confident that if you take a look at some of the well-known business software review sites you will soon see that our customers value our services. See for yourself and check out our CRM reviews on:
Take a free trial so you can explore the CRM. It's the best and easiest way to find out if it does what you need and determine how simple and intuitive it is to use.
Work with an expert from your CRM solution provider. They will act as consultants to ensure you have the right implementation and functionalities you need, as well as make recommendations on how you can improve your CRM. Use this combination of a hands-on trial and expert guidance to choose the best CRM solution for you and your business.
Having explored the detail of what the various systems offer, how easy they are to use and how well they might integrate with any of your internal systems or processes, you're likely to have a firm favourite.
By choosing Salesforce you will get: