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Selecting the best CRM software for your business can be a challenging process. Get it right and your chance of success goes up significantly. CRM or Customer Relationship Management is essentially a business software that helps individuals and teams maximize their productivity by improving customer communications and marketing/sales/customer service effectiveness overall. Primarily, CRM is a system for recording and storing all customer-interaction information in one place.
To put it simply, CRM solutions offer a standardized method for both gathering and sharing customer data as well as improving the way your company markets, sells and supports customers. managing.
Unlike the past, where only the big companies could afford CRM software, today businesses of all sizes have access to affordable & easy to use CRM software options. In fact, we offer both Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM) and Power-CRM. Power-CRM is built on the Microsoft Power Platform (the same platform as Dynamics 365) and offers license subscriptions starting at $20/user/month.
There are several other CRM software solutions available in the market today including Insightly, Zoho CRM, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and Salesforce that offer organizations traditional CRM functionality however one significant differentiator is the integration with Microsoft Office, Outlook and Office 365. This is an area that both Power-CRM and Microsoft Dynamics 365 stand apart from the competition. If your business uses these Microsoft products, you should look closely at Power-CRM and Dynamics 365. Selecting the best CRM by looking at the other tools being used in your business today.
Combining the components of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), Microsoft Dynamics 365 also stands apart from competitive solutions. Microsoft Flow, PowerBI and Powerapps enable integration between Power-CRM/Dynamics 365 without the cost of custom development or 3rd party data tools that most other CRM providers require.
Ease of use is critical in any CRM solution. Both Power-CRM and Dynamics 365 come with practical functionality that is easy to use but powerful. The Power-CRM solution takes it a step further by significantly simplifying the user interface and includes true sales process guidance. For example – it includes powerful functionality to assure every lead/prospect gets the proper follow up and attention –
Enforces a minimum required time for sales to follow up on a new lead
Automatically pre-schedules the follow-up cadence to assure every lead has 6-12 sales “touches”
Automatically updates the status of the lead/prospect based on sales activity
Sales professionals can focus on action vs analysis as Power-CRM guides them to leads/prospects that are due for follow up. Similar functionality is available in Power-CRM for opportunity and account management as well.
Why Invest in CRM Software?
Here are the top reasons why you should invest in a good CRM software solution:
Important metrics & business insights
Data is one of the most valuable assets for any business but it is only useful if it is put in a format that allows users to easily understand and act on the information. Any number of spreadsheets or properly stacked email folders could not provide the deep analysis that a CRM can.
Improved customer service
Selecting the best CRM solution helps in improving customer service by assuring that every customer inquiry is handled. It holds users accountable for proper follow-up and KPI’s such as time to initial response. It also helps users provide better support by displaying all the vital information on dashboards, such as customer preferences, purchase history, past interactions, and more.
Having information on the dashboards allows service representatives to appropriately answer queries and personalize their interaction.
Centralizes your customer and prospect data
One of the primary benefits of CRM is in centralizing customer information in one system for better visibility, improved marketing and better analysis, Better coordination of sales team activities.
The importance of CRM in sales cannot be overemphasized enough. Right from seamlessly managing team communications internally to keeping track of tasks performed by your teams, CRM software allows you to perform the sales activities based on best practices to help you improve sales effectiveness.
Improves customer engagement
A good CRM helps you provide a positive experience to your valuable customers every time they interact with your company/employees. This is possible due to the fact that CRM provides detailed information on each customer, thereby allowing the employees to engage with them effectively.
- We aligned with Microsoft and have 16 years of experience helping businesses plan, implement and support CRM solutions. Both Power-CRM and Dynamics 365 offer: A familiar and intuitive user interface that ranks highest in user adoption.
- Come with a host of powerful built-in tools like LinkedIn integration Relationship Assistant to improve productivity and efficiency and more.
- Both solutions offer flexible architecture, affordable pricing, and easy deployment options to suit the unique needs of businesses.
- Full integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, Outlook, Office 365, Teams Power BI, Skype for Business, SharePoint, and more.
Tracking essential customer data in spreadsheets, calendars, or email folders runs the risk of data loss (especially when employees depart the company). However, with a CRM solution, your data will be safe as it is stored in the cloud, replicated and prevents users from downloading data outside the system.
How to Choose the Best CRM Software? – Features to Look for in CRM software
Although the needs of different businesses vary, a strong customer relationship management software is one thing that every business needs. Whether you need to monitor customer relationships, improve marketing or provide world-class support, CRM software is a must.
However, selecting the best CRM software from the sea of options available in the market is a challenging task for most businesses. While some CRM benefits are nice to have for businesses, others are absolutely essential.
Here are the top three essential features to look for while you’re researching CRM solutions for your business:
Seamless integration is one of the must-have features in any CRM software. The software you choose for your business needs to be easily integrated with the other tools used in your company like Outlook, MS Office, your accounting/ERP system, etc. Look for a CRM that integrates with the business software already in use today at your business.
Ease of use
The fact that your users aren’t software experts makes it absolutely essential that your CRM should be as user-friendly as possible. A robust CRM solution should have an intuitive design and interface so the employees can learn the system quickly and start using them easily.
Great Sales Functionality is Critical
We have ranked the top sales features based on feedback from real users. The 10 are:
- Microsoft Outlook Integration
- Lead/Prospect Management
- Sales Opportunity Management & Forecasting
- Account & Contact Management
- Activity Management
- Guided sales processes
- Document Management built-in
- Mobile app
- Graphical dashboards with drill-down capabilities
- Easy to use
Steps for Selecting the Best CRM Software
The below steps are critical for a successful CRM implementation project.
First, determine specifically what your business needs in CRM software. If you do not have a sales tool in place today you may want to start with the basics, the Power-CRM solution offers a Contact Management license providing complete Account & Contact management along with Outlook integration, mobility, activity management and dashboards for $20 per user/month. Once your users adopt basic CRM functionality you can simply upgrade as many or as few users to the Marketing, Sales and Customer Support license level ($45 per user/month).
Trying to do too much in phase 1 is a top reason for failure. If you don’t have a CRM or sales tool in place today we suggest you begin with getting Contact Management adopted before introducing more complex functionality like opportunity management.
If you currently have a CRM or other type of sales tool in place, start by taking inventory of what specific features are being used in the current tool. This is an important step as the current features being used will need to be accounted for in the new tool. For example if your current tool has a key report that management is using, an equivalent or better report will need to be available in the new tool.
Type of Implementation
There are different ways to implement CRM software and selecting the best approach is critical to success. Is your sales process fairly basic or highly complex? Implementation services can be a large part of the overall investment you make in CRM software. If your sales processes is not extremely complicated you may want to select a CRM software that offers a pre-configured solution right out of the box. This significantly reduces costs and shortens the time to get the solution implemented.
Power-CRM comes pre-configured with over 70% of the typical configuration needs pre-built. Onboarding packages for Power-CRM start at $3995 vs the average implementation services cost of $18,000 that other CRM solutions require.
If your processes are more complex we recommend starting with a Requirements Analysis phase. During this phase, your requirements are thoroughly reviewed which will drive everything from product selection to the required budget for the project. Not performing a thorough requirements analysis is a top failure reason in CRM projects.
Additional key steps in a more complex CRM project include:
- Upfront planning to assure key steps in the project are managed well (user acceptance testing, training, support, etc.)
- Keep the Phase 1 scope manageable. Remember, users can only adopt so much at one time. You should focus on a few priority items in phase 1 that provide value to the users
- Proper training is critical for all levels of users (sales, marketing, administrator, management, and executives)
- Adequate support at go-live
These are only a few of the tasks that have to be well executed to achieve success. Keep in mind that CRM failure rates are still above 50%, contact us and find out why and how we assure success with your project.
About the author – R. Arnfinson is Marketing Director at Strava Technology Group. He has been in marketing for 10+ years specializing in content, organic search optimization, social and general digital marketing initiatives. To reach the author call Strava at 844.8.STRAVA (844.878.7282). Visit Strava on the web – www.stravatechgroup.com.