Guide to Choosing the Best CRM Software for your Business
A recent Forrester report reveals that just 34% of sales reps are satisfied with their current SaaS CRM software. In fact, the report also points that around 25% of CRM buyers find it difficult to integrate their CRM with other systems, and around 18% of buyers aren’t able to get a 360-degree view of each customer on a single pane.
In this day and age where CRM has become a competitive market, implementing the best CRM software for business and easily integrating it with other systems for a 360-degree customer view shouldn’t be difficult. In short, there should be zero reliance on IT.
Having implemented CRM software for over 300+ businesses and worked with CEOs, CROs, VP/ Director of Sales and IT Directors across these companies, the one common concern I’ve heard is:
The biggest challenge we face today is lack of visibility into what’s happening with each lead and opportunity. There is no clarity on when and how we contacted a prospect/customer. Reporting, of course, is an area of concern too.
Although these are key areas that deserve attention for a sales team to function efficiently, there is a minimal focus on how salespeople engage with their prospects and customers.
Given these factors, you need to know how to choose the right CRM for your business. This might be a tricky proposition as there are numerous CRMs in the market that don’t deliver what they promise. Take a look at this video, that showcases what large, clunky CRMs say, but what they actually mean.
In a day and age of consultative sales, it’s critical for businesses to start engaging in realistic and sensible ways. And, for any sales rep to embrace this bare minimum expectation, they need the right level of context about a prospect before jumping on a call or sending out an email. More importantly, this context needs to be provided within the CRM ecosystem, without them having to switch between 20 tabs before reaching out.
Which comes to the question—what are the factors to look for while choosing a CRM software? Or, let’s rephrase that a bit, what aspects do users want in a CRM software?
Be it a startup or an enterprise business, there are 3 key ingredients that make the perfect recipe for a CRM:
A CRM should be able to manage the entire customer acquisition lifecycle, from the time a lead is created to the time that lead is converted into a customer. Multiple blocks (as listed below) form the core of management abilities in a CRM.
Businesses today have understood the vitality of investing in marketing to generate leads. But the big question here is, are all the leads generated across various sources, under one single roof? Of course, collating all the data manually in a spreadsheet isn’t scalable after a point, and sales managers eventually find their data scattered across spreadsheets and applications. An ideal solution would be to adopt a CRM software that has the ability to migrate or import historical data (preferably in .CSV format), integrate with webforms, email, phone and chat, and offer API access.
Tweaking the famous saying in sales lingo—time and prospects wait for none. True to its tone, the time it takes to reach out to a prospect to the time it takes to create interest to purchase is super critical. In fact, some prospects make purchasing decisions based on the time a sales rep takes to respond to them! Thanks to this expectation, your CRM software needs to assist sales reps to remain agile.
In other words, once the leads are brought under one fold, the CRM software should be able to categorize and assign leads to the right people from the right teams without any time lapse. The quicker the assignment, faster the contact attempt. This ability is an absolute productivity boost and also helps sales managers ensure that no leads remain untouched after a stipulated timeline.
Not all leads who have shown interest are going to buy your solution. It boils down to the sales rep’s ability to focus on and crack the right opportunities. For high-velocity sales teams, the onus is on the CRM to pick up the right signals. Here’s why: contrary to popular assumption, CRM software shouldn’t just be a dumping ground for leads but offer intelligence based on the data fed into it. Having the ability to score or bucket leads based on a set of parameters is an immense productivity boost. Given this measure impacts predictability, constantly calibrating the score conditions is critical for the lead scoring model to be successful.
Diligence as a discipline defines a sales rep. Although the concept of “building rapport” has taken all the limelight, it’s equally important to stay on top of your follow-ups to see a significant improvement in conversion percentage. It’s tedious for sure, but rewarding when it works. So, what can a CRM software do here? It can send reminders for meetings and follow-up tasks so you don’t miss out on any. Of course, an integration with your native calendar is yet another good-to-have feature to manage appointments.
Reports and insights delivered at the right time can go a long way in putting your business on the growth path. A CRM should offer advanced reporting that feeds you and your team crucial inputs to ace your sales game.
Getting a lead to respond is the first success metric for any sales rep. Come what may, all of us try every possible channel to reach a lead. And here’s how a CRM software can help:
Inbox is every sales rep’s best buddy. And it’s every sales rep’s wish to see zero outstanding emails at the end of the day (Of course, we know that wish would never come true). But here’s what can make your life easier—a CRM that can easily integrate with your email and save the trouble of logging every conversation. This functionality serves two purposes:
- Improves visibility into every conversation that has ever happened
- Creates business continuity, should a sales rep choose to move roles
Also, the option to run a sales campaign and shoot bulk emails can make a CRM compelling enough to work with.
One of the most frequently used communication channels, the phone, has been a game changer for sales reps. And, one that integrates with a CRM is a must-have! In the age of VOIP, sales reps can comfortably avoid manual call logging at the end of every conversation and let the CRM digest the recorded conversation. This integration is a time saver and as a sales rep, I’ve saved about 3 minutes per contact attempt when given the chance to communicate from the CRM.
Let’s face it, email and phone are the most commonly used communication channels. But there are other modes of communications that sales reps use to get in touch with prospects and customers. It’s, of course, important to capture this piece of information as well and helps your business in two ways:
- Has an account of the efforts put in by a sales rep
- Analyzes which mode of communication works well and which doesn’t
Be it a mere LinkedIn message or a breakfast meeting, it’s best to record every activity in the CRM software to determine its effectiveness.
This aspect is and will be a game changer for any business that wants its sales reps to be prepared during a call or meeting.
Today, in any business, almost every team uses at the least one software as a part of its day-to-day operations. Sales teams, in particular, could have a dependency on other teams like finance, billing, legal, operations, support etc. to engage effectively with both prospects and customers. Given the criticality of these commonly known dependencies, it is only ideal if the CRM software offers the flexibility to integrate with other tools.
With the right integrations in place, sales teams can avoid moments of embarrassment where context is key. If done well, sales reps can wow their prospects with the depth of information they have and serve them better.
Email and Website Tracking
Sales reps, to a fair extent, bet big on their gut feeling. This gut feeling is second to none, but thanks to the technology, every prospect’s behavior can now be tracked at various levels—website, emails, in-app events (applicable to SaaS companies). The market today offers an array of software that can help you track your prospect’s activities across the board. However, this information is best consumed and utilized when provided within the CRM software. With information on which pages the prospects visited and the contents they clicked in the email, sales reps can fine-tune and customize their sales pitch.
Social media has become an inevitable part of all our lives and has certainly added a dimension to the sales world too. To help sales reps customize their pitch, there is no better place than social media to pick their cues—prospect’s job title, interests, area of expertise etc. Today most sales reps research about their prospects/companies on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, mounting the number of tabs they may have to switch between before making a contact attempt.
Considering most businesses have gone digital, there is a lot of information available in the public domain. Ideally, a CRM should be able to pick up the right signals from the available data. This ability can significantly help sales rep customized and engage based on the persona. Also, businesses can reduce the amount of time spent on researching.
Buying a CRM software for your business isn’t a one-time purchase but a long-term relationship. And making a hasty decision while choosing a CRM will only cost you your time and money.
If you’re looking out for a CRM software, try Freshsales that has all the three ingredients—Management, Communication, and Context—that make the perfect recipe for a CRM software.
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