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A good CRM will prevent important leads and contact details disappearing into the dark recesses of your computer, but with hundreds of CRMs on the market today, how do you choose the best fit for your business?

What to look for in a CRM

Your CRM should make things easier for you, not harder, so take a minute to think about what you’re going to need your CRM to do for you.

1.  Features

What features do you need? CRMs vary widely with what they can do. For example with HubSpot you can automatically add information to your client’s timeline, keeping interactions up to date. Salesforce at the other end of the spectrum, is widely known, highly customisable, integrating with an ever-growing range of other applications.

2.  Integrations

Without effective integrations you’ll find your team having to enter information into different systems. For example, if you’re using Xero, for a smooth flow from the quote stage to project completion and onto the sale, you’ll need your CRM to effectively integrate with Xero.

3.  Objectives

Consider what features you require you CRM to do: online quoting and payments (no more PDFs)? Email marketing? Task management allocation for staff? Time logging? Simple and quick creation (and filing) of proposals or other regularly used documents? Scheduling follow-up calls?

Different CRMs support different business objectives. There are three main types of CRM: operational (most common – strong on marketing automation and sales management), analytical (focuses on customer acquisition, retention and managing data), or collaborative (tracks and shares data and streamlines communication channels between buyer/business and staff/departments). What primary objective do you need from your CRM?

4. Suitability

Some CRMS are best suited to small teams and might even be low-cost or free for a small number of users (like HubSpot – or SharePoint if you have Microsoft Office), while others are loaded with features and priced accordingly, for large or enterprise teams (e.g. Salesforce). Take the size of your team into consideration.

5. Usability

How easy is the system to use? Do they offer a trial? Try it out before committing to a plan if you can. The system you choose needs to be easy for your team and ideally give your employees the ability to work from anywhere and from any device, in which case these days, it really ought to be cloud based.

6. Performance

CRMs that are accessible on the move through Apple and Android app have mobile applications. The mobile application often has less functionality than the desktop version, so pick one that doesn’t sacrifice too much in performance when you’re using it on the move.

7. Clean data

Quality CRMs will include tools to detect inconsistencies and errors for you, keeping your client data clean and tidy. If you need to keep things in order manually, you’ll need a system that is easy to manage and find your way around, but be honest – do you really have the time for this? A poorly maintained database creates lost leads, lost time and lost opportunities.

8. Budget

What are you willing to pay? CRMs can vary from very little, or even free, to hundreds of dollars a month. Be realistic with your budget and balance the cost against your needs.

The time honoured pros and cons table might be a good place for you to start. How important are the above points to you? Make a list of what your CRM must be able to do and what you can do without ,or don’t need, to shorten the list of possibilities.

Be aware that any CRM is going to take time to set up and get right but it’s well worth it. A good CRM will help you manage your business and effectively grow your database, your leads and your business.

If it’s all too hard, just give us a call on 0800 303 202, or fill in our form below. We’ll discuss your requirements with you, help you choose the best CRM for your business and get you set up.

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