How to Choose a CRM System

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CRMs keep track of all of your customer information and streamline the sales process. Many companies also offer supplemental software for marketing and customer service teams. Trying to make sense of the different price tiers, subscription services, features, and third-party add-ons can be almost as stressful as opening yet another spreadsheet. We’re here to help. Below, we’ll outline what a CRM system is, how much CRM systems cost, and everything else you need to know to decide which CRM is right for your company.

The first step to choosing a CRM system is identifying what you want it to do. Keep in mind that while the general purpose of a CRM remains consistent, different products offer different tools. What’s more, many CRM companies tier their plans so that access to advanced features requires purchasing more expensive subscriptions.

The second step in choosing a CRM is to assess how many of your employees will need access to the CRM software. Prices for SaaS products are often per user, so knowing how many users your company will have helps you estimate your costs accurately.

You’ll also need to determine which teams will be using your CRM. Basic CRMs streamline the sales process, while some also offer marketing and customer service software. (Some CRM providers even provide software for Human Resources and other departments.) Businesses that want support for other teams may benefit from this additional software, but what works for one team may not work as well for another. Also, keep in mind that different CRMs scale differently, and some CRMs with affordable entry plans can become drastically more expensive as you add more users or upgrade your subscription.

One important thing you need to clarify during your search for a CRM is to understand whether your team will actually use it. Make sure that any CRMs you look at are user-friendly – especially in your team struggles with basic programs such as Excel and Outlook – and that the software includes training and support features.