Why do we need CRM systems in our businesses in the first place? Is it that you have heard from someone, that ‘oh, you run a business, hence you need to have a CRM system’. Then you go to Google and click on the first app that pops up. But then what do you do? Let’s face it, there are hundreds, if not thousands of CRM systems and tools out there is the world wide web.
But how to choose the one right for you and your business? Before looking at any specific apps, firstly ask yourself, why do you actually need one? What’s the purpose? What kind of function does it need to fill?
Firstly, be very clear on why you need a CRM app. Sometimes, a spreadsheet is good enough (don’t shoot me – hear me out!). The reason for me saying this is that if you are just starting out and you don’t have many contacts to start with, you probably need to establish first what kind of information you need to capture besides the basic contact details. This is a good time to start with a plain spreadsheet. Identify what information you need and start filling it in. Perhaps use an existing client as an example to bring context. Don’t worry, this data is not going to get lost and you will not need to duplicate much when transferring this data to a CRM. The majority of CRM apps allow excel file or csv import. This way you can plan what you actually need, rather than fit it with existing app requirements.
Once you have honed down the main reason, there are a few other things to consider as well:
What actions are you going to take when using your CRM? Is it for sales tracking via sales pipelines, e-mail marketing, project management or perhaps all of the above? Do you need an app with specific permissions and levels of accessibility? What kind of information is your team going to be exposed to and what is for your eyes only?
How much are you willing to spend each month on a subscription? This is guided by how many staff you have and lots of the time, what level of subscription you need. Lots of CRM systems have free trials – make use of them, that’s what they are there for. I would also recommend opting for a monthly payment rather annual one. Although it is almost always cheaper to go annual, you are taking on risk as you are committing to use the systems for the full 12 months. Consider your staff retention – does all your staff need access for the full year or perhaps it is just you who needs access to your CRM?
Let’s face it, the system might have all the right bells and whistles, but if you just don’t like the look and ‘feel’, then it will annoy you and you are less likely to use it. Or is it just me??? I have trialled numerous CRM systems over the years and given them a good couple of weeks, so I can ‘get used to them’, but in the end, I still moved away.
No matter which CRM you are using, then the key is to USE it! Because this is the only way you can take full advantage of it. There is no point to have a CRM just for the sake of it being the tool to make your everyday life easier. The whole idea is to make sure that you can locate your connections quickly and have relevant information stored.