shopping for crm

Shopping for CRM? Here are five questions to compare software

by Nathan Giordano

Today’s customer is more focused than ever on what brands they want to support–or not. Your ability to deeply know your customer and to make their experience with your brand as enjoyable as possible is no longer a competitive differentiator; it’s table stakes.

If you haven’t yet invested in CRM software, or your current CRM feels more like a glorified Rolodex to you, then right now is the best time to update your customer management processes to meet your customers’ demands. 

Studies show that CRM usage has ballooned from 56 percent among businesses to 74 percent in 2019 alone, and 91 percent of businesses with more than 11 employees are using some form of CRM. Fortunately, technology has moved beyond mere database management and offering businesses unprecedented real-time CRM software capabilities. But how can you decide which system is the best choice for your business? 

Before you invest in a new CRM system, here are five questions to ask to determine the best fit for your team. 

 

1. Is it easy for the sales team to use? 

Automation is great–if it actually streamlines the process of collecting, inputting, and analyzing sales data. “If your sales team is getting lost in your CRM’s data, it might be time to relook at your dashboard tools,” said Carlos Bravo, account executive and CRM expert at Simplus Australia. “Identify clear and visual ways to let your sales team review sales numbers, pipeline, and activities.”

Your sales team’s focus is to build customer relationships, not to spend valuable time inputting data, so look for a system that encourages quick and consistent data entry to support your sales team with reliable information and customization options. 

 

2. Can I customize the features to match my inventory?

All businesses share the need for customers. But that is where the similarities end. Look for a CRM system that is customizable and scalable to your company’s individual and expanding needs, and that can do so with more clicks than code. 

The need to design a CRM system that supports your specialized sales cycle is where Salesforce Sales Cloud really shines. “In many cases, the standard fields in Sales Cloud get the job done. If they work for your business, you’re all set,” explained Salesforce Trailhead experts.  “But if you find that specific pieces of info your sales team requires don’t have a designated standard field within an object, you can create custom fields.” 

Working with the right advisory services can ensure the custom fields you think you need will actually help your sales team track valuable leads and monitor valued customers. “Remember,” added Salesforce Trailhead experts. “Fields determine how you report on your business’s success. You’ll want to make sure your fields represent crucial, reportable information from the beginning.”

 

3. Can other departments use it? 

Your CRM software can prove it was worth the investment when it creates a comprehensive and collaborative view of the company’s customer and product data. While your sales team may cheer for the change, your finance and warehouse have reasons for high fives as well. 

“Just as much as sales reps don’t want to waste time on mundane admin sales processes, finance departments don’t want to be spending their hours chasing sales reps for customer information, triple-checking figures, and trying to quantify costs,” said Kyle Hanagarne, VP of Communications, Media & Technology at Simplus. 

Implemented properly, CRM software enables all of your departments to work together to provide a seamless and memorable customer experience. Studies show that 92 percent of companies utilize a centralized and collaborative CRM system because it helps prevent silos within the organization. And a team that has visibility into the whole customer journey can be more effective in sales cycles, more productive in providing the right support at the right time, and more efficient in capitalizing on customer touchpoints to provide a better experience at every stage of their journey. 

 

4. Can it cooperate with a data enrichment tool?

Your business depends on reliable data. It’s one of the most valuable resources for your company. But it’s only valuable if it’s accurate and if you can access it to ask and answer the right questions. It’s important to use a CRM system that works with your data enrichment tools to ensure your target audience or marketing campaigns are based on reliable data. 

Experts estimate that dirty data costs businesses 12 percent of overall revenue or some $3.1 trillion annually. Despite the tremendous revenue loss, studies show that at least 27 percent of business leaders aren’t even sure how much of their data is accurate. It’s absolutely worth your time to invest in the proper technology, integrations, and process changes to cleanse, maintain, unlock, and take action on your most valuable asset. 

 

5. Is it designed to be customer-centric?

At the end of the day, CRM is all about your customers and enabling you to better engage with them. The automated features of today’s CRM software are impressive, but aside from churning out aesthetic real-time reports, does it empower your frontline with the tools to cover the basics? Does it create meaningful metrics that can shape new strategies to heighten the customer experience? Is it helping your teams create incredible moments with your customers that inspire them to keep doing business with you and to share that positive feedback with others? 

Your CRM should provide your sales and support teams with quick, accurate data that focuses on what’s important to your customers and helps formulate how to serve them best. 

To stay competitive in your industry, you need an automated system that works as hard you do to identify and connect with your customers. The answer to these five questions will ensure your CRM software is designed with your business goals in mind. In addition, partnering with a proven consulting agency will ensure you navigate your software choices seamlessly. Sites like DesignRush are a great way to start your search for a partner—or you can jump in and get started with Simplus’ team of experts today. 

 

nathan giordanoNathan Giordano is a sales director for Simplus. A passionate and process-focused consulting sales leader, Nate is currently working to bring Simplus’ expertise within the Salesforce ecosystem to an untapped client base in the Northeast. He focuses primarily on High Tech and Professional Services organizations, but he also brings direct experience with manufacturing, biotech, SaaS, banking, government, startups, and other industries with both domestic and global footprints.

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