How to pick a CRM
‘You need a CRM. All good businesses have one’
So you are told.
The first thing you do is going to Google, search for ‘Business CRM’ and you get over 25 million results.
The next step you are thinking “ok that is not going to work.” So let’s ask on Facebook or LinkedIn and see what other people are using.
You get 48 comments all telling you what they use and why it is the best.
How do you choose your mind shouts? Either at this point, you find yourself picking this project up and putting it in the ‘too hard basket’, or you lose yourself playing with different CRM’s. You do not really know what is possible but you know a couple of your deal breakers.
A CRM is like getting into a relationship. You think you know what you want, but you know that whatever relationship you get into you will find some hidden surprises and some baggage!
So, how do you find the CRM that is just going to do it for your business? The one that is going to take all the pain away, or make you more efficient, increase sales conversion and make your business run like clockwork?
The answer is not Tinder!
Over the years, our team has worked with hundreds of businesses to find the right CRM and over that time it has helped us learn a few things that I would like to share below. I hope that it will put you on the right path.
Looks & Personality Count
When I first started out with my first CRM ten years ago, I found myself attracted to many of them. The slender lines, the easy to use interface and those little-added extras the developers threw in to make the experience great.
However, over time, using my first CRM or two, I realised I had not taken the time at the start to work out what I really wanted.
What was really going to be the difference maker in my business? Having something was better than nothing, right? Wrong.
The wrong CRM can cost you thousands of hours of mental stress. It can slow down processes, frustrate your staff and make you lose business.
Getting into a relationship with a pretty CRM that does not have the personality to keep up with your business is a recipe for disaster.
It leads to pain and if not to a heartache, definitely to a headache.
Take the time to sit down and look at all the aspects of your business. Think about the people who will actually be using it every day.
Work out what your deal breakers are but also what they will be like in the future. Imagine getting two years into the project and finding out your CRM does not want to have children, but you do.
Awkward, to say the least.
Prepare to commit once you have finished dating.
Once you have done the initial legwork by yourself or with an expert, you need to be willing to commit.
Getting six months in and then moving on will cause you more pain. The grass, at some point or another, will seem greener on the other side. It happens.
One time, we swapped CRM four times in a year and I can tell you it was painful. Although, at the time it seemed like the best thing to do.
If you do the work upfront, stick with your decision. It is why the first step is so important to make sure you know what you want.
The importance of the whole family (your team) loving the CRM is also priceless. Buy in is the hardest part of the software. You need to make your team feel involved in the process.
Many of us have been in a business where a new piece of software was pushed on to us. I am sure you remember how well that went.
Get an extroverted CRM not an introverted one
When IT first started, you had much of what I would call introverted CRM’s. They were offline, did not like to talk to other software and were hard to upgrade.
In the last ten years, we have seen the shift to extroverted CRM’s. These CRM’s have the following characteristics:
- Cloud based – Allowing access from anywhere in the world with ease.
- Constant New Features –The best CRM’s are ever evolving and should evolve quickly with the times. These features usually cost you little to nothing if you pick the right provider.
- Integrated – Many CRM’s have built-in integrations to software like Xero or MailChimp to make moving data easier. Keep an eye out for CRM’s with Zapier integrations. They are my favourite and allow for amazing flexibility and additional external features.
- Monthly Licensing –This has been around for a while but nowadays you will be paying a software user licence each month as opposed to a large upfront. Keep an eye out for the yearly prices. Sometimes, you get a couple of months free when you pay in advance.
- Mobile – A CRM that likes to get out and about is key. The app they provide should be seamless and feel easy to use. It is how a large percentage of your team will interact with it. The mobile revolution is here; make sure your new CRM is up for the task.
Just be careful whom you get into bed with. Remember this is for the long term.
Don’t do it alone
In the early days, you used to spend $50,000 on a piece of software developed for your company. In some cases, this is still a good option.
However, for many people, the idea of a $50 a month licence makes grabbing a CRM off the shelf a breeze.
What they do not realise is that not knowing the questions to ask can hurt. Like that first date. If you do not know what to ask, you may not know who you are actually dating until you are in too deep!
Invest in a consultant. Whether you pick us or not, it does not matter. However, pick someone who knows more than you do.
It is like grabbing Xero and thinking you are now an accountant. An accountant can work with Xero to get you the best results from it. Sometimes it will save you $1,000’s in tax (legally) which you would have missed doing it alone.
The same is true with a CRM. A feature that may not make sense to you with a few clicks could save you hours a day in reporting or on other tasks.
If you are on the path to getting a CRM, book a call with us. Press the button below and lock in a 30-minute call with one of our Software Architects. It could be the most valuable 30 minutes you spend this year.