How to choose the best CRM for small business
Most vendors advertise their software to be the best CRM for small business. Before buying one for the brand name, wait for a second and think whether your business really needs a complex, feature-heavy, enterprise CRM software just because it’s well-known in the market. Nobody knows your business better than you, so you know exactly what you want before you look for the best CRM for small business.
CRM REQUIREMENT GATHERING
Step 1: Set your business objectives
Set clear business objectives on what you want to achieve and how a CRM can help accomplish your them. Some of the business objectives can be to, increase sales, track and improve sales productivity, improve customer relations and retention, identify industry trends and enhance strategy, measure the ROI of marketing activities and so on.
Step 2: List your business challenges
The primary reason to use a CRM software for small business is to help solve your business challenges which can be lack of efficiency and productivity, increase revenue and sales, retain existing customers, or just a realization that you need to be more organized in maintaining your customer data.
Step 3: Involve all stakeholders
Understand how other departments use customer data and get inputs on what they want to achieve from a small business CRM. For example, the sales team want to identify the best deals to improve sales efficiency and close more deals; the support team want insights into customer data to boost relationships and reduce churn and so on. Once you have the required information, prepare a checklist of objectives, capabilities, and requirements which will help you during your CRM software evaluation.
CHOOSING THE BEST CRM
The best CRM for small business is one that helps you solve your business challenges and move you closer to your objectives. And choosing a small business CRM that has the right functionalities is one of the most important factors in CRM purchase. For example, if you’re a real estate agency, you will require a CRM system that manages listing and inventories, captures leads from the website, tracks deals across the pipeline, automation, custom workflows and so on.
Tip: Create a checklist of the necessary features you require in a small business CRM. Then make a list of CRM vendors and begin your evaluation process.
Budget plays a crucial role in the purchase decision. So while investing in small business software, you need to calculate the long-term costs and analyze the benefits obtained from the money spent. One way to be certain is to ask the vendor up front what additional benefits you get along with the pricing package. For instance, does the pricing package involve training, implementation, customization, and support, or do you need to pay extra?
Tip: Find out if the small business CRM seamlessly integrates with your other applications without huge infrastructure changes. Make sure you get all your answers so that you don’t end up spending for add-on costs.
Your business might be small right now, but as you grow and enter new markets, you may double your sales team and invest more in marketing activities to increase revenue. As your business requirements increase, you may require a lot more from the CRM system. And it’s not feasible to transfer data to a new program and convince your sales team to use it each time. Choose a small business CRM that is scalable and grows along with your company.
Tip: Most CRM systems come with different plans that cater to different business sizes. So when your business grows, it’s easy to upgrade plans and retain the data.
Salespeople who are on the go spend more time on their mobile devices and tablets than on their laptops and desktops. Therefore, it is important to choose a CRM software that can be accessed on the field and even offline. Most CRM systems come with iOS and Android mobile versions which can be downloadable for free.
Tip: Some of the basic functions you need to look out for in the mobile version are - access to the customer database, appointments, deal pipeline, real-time notifications and synchronization of data.
Ease of use
Your CRM software should be intuitive and really simple to use so that salespeople can easily adapt to the system. The CRM system should also be quick to configure, and easy to import and export any form of data without the help of consultants and endless hours of training. It is important that you choose a CRM for small business, which is flexible enough to sync with your existing sales process.
Tip: In order to make sure the implementation process is quick and easy, many CRMs come with a free trial for a sufficient period of time so that you can use it to the fullest. By this period, you will understand if the CRM system meets your requirements.
Good support service
It is common to encounter glitches along the course of using small business software. But when you do so, your CRM vendor should have a good customer service team who are quick to respond and provide help. One way to be certain about this is to contact their support during your evaluation period. If the customer service is not instant and requires longer waiting time, there isn’t any point going ahead with that vendor.
Tip: Apart from providing user manuals, some vendors conduct free webinars, product demos, and certain programs to learn about their small business software. Use them to your advantage by enrolling in one of these programs to learn about the CRM software.