Many businesses go through growth spurts and managing this growth is an essential part of ensuring that your business scales adequately.
Scaling for growth, however, requires some additional resources as you’ll want to make sure your existing customers are kept happy and your new ones are satisfied with your offering.
This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software comes in. Previously used only by large enterprises with a lot of dollars, these systems are now becoming more affordable for smaller businesses.
But what is it and what should you look out for when opting for one for your business?
Let’s take a look here.
CRM software – what is it?
CRM software, or software as a service (SaaS) is a central database that collects and stores data about interactions between a business and its customers.
Wondering what type of data is collected?
It can vary and is sourced from a wide range of channels including the business’ official website, social media channels, logs from customer support as well as feedback reviews.
It is also a system that can help sales teams manage leads, build campaigns as well as log communications.
Ultimately, the purpose of a CRM is to help a company analyse the data and use it to improve their business – whether by improving the product offering, addressing customer concerns or to fuel business growth overall.
1. Lead management
According to some sources, lead management is the “core” capability of CRM systems.
Lead management refers to potential customers and their interest in your business.
Your CRM system should be able to pick up on new leads or potential customers and trigger a series of events in the form of automated emails, for example, to launch a conversation with the customer or help them navigate down the path to eventually making a sale.
2. Marketing automation
Marketing automation is closely linked to lead management.
It’s a process of automating campaigns and emails, depending on the process your customer or lead finds themselves in.
If they’ve signed up to purchase an item from your business but didn’t complete the sale, you can send follow-up, automated emails offering them discounts on your products so that your business doesn’t lose out.
Alternatively, you might be hosting a webinar and you’ll need to send a series of opt-in emails to help the customer through their journey.
With the help of a good CRM, these tasks can be automated and no longer need manual input from you or your team.
3. Email, mobile and social features
Does your business rely on extensive email marketing campaigns?
If that’s the case, you need to ensure that your CRM system will be able to handle them.
What’s more is when it comes to mobile, not all CRM software allows you to make changes on the mobile app.
This can hinder operations as you’ll only be able to make thorough data analysis and make changes to your strategy when you return to your desktop.
Some mobile apps only allow you the ability to view reports in real time.
While this is a great function, you need to make sure that you don’t need more from your provider.
As a final point in this subsection, check that your CRM system will be able to help you manage your social media presence.
Ask yourself what social features it offers and whether these will make the work of you and your team harder or simplify it.
The CRM system that you ultimately choose for your business should be easy to use and navigate.
However, what happens when you run into trouble?
Will the system simply send you an error message that will frustrate you to no end, or will it be intuitive and help you out of the trouble spot?
Also, what type of support is offered to you?
Is it subscription-based or tiered?
Are there blogs and videos on how to get through the technical glitches that might pop up?
These are questions worth considering.
5. Third-party integrations
The relationship between your business and your chosen CRM platform can take several different routes.
One of them is the ability of the CRM platform to allow third-party integrations so that you can get on with your work.
Third-party integrations should be downloadable and easy to use.
Just keep in mind that the more nuanced your requirements, the higher the price will likely be.
Security should be top of mind when it comes to choosing the right CRM system for your business.
Not only do your customers trust you with their sensitive data, but you also need to be sure that the cloud on which your data is stored is safe and secure.
A simple internet search will show you if your CRM provider has had a data breach in the past.
You also need to take a look at how they handled it, if that was the case.
7. Analysis, analytics and dashboards
Your CRM software should give you a whole lot more in terms of analysis and analytics.
What kind of reports and graphs will you be able to pull?
And importantly, will these be worth your while?
Also consider the dashboard offered and its ease of use.
Remember that it’s not only you who will need to understand how the system works, but your entire sales force and possibly marketing team, too.
As a final consideration, and not the least important one, is the pricing.
You can spend a lot of good money on a CRM system, but will it give you all of the above and more?
Alternatively, the cheaper options might be great in some respects but lack in others.
This now becomes a tough balancing act which you have to master.
Choosing the best CRM system for your business may seem like a lot of hard work.
And it is.
Simply because of all the research you need to put into it.
But your efforts won’t go unrewarded if you stick to the above-mentioned factors for choosing the best CRM for your business.
Once implemented, it can do wonders for your company – you just need to figure out where to start.
We hope we’ve given you that starting point with this blog post.
The rest is up to you!