In choosing the best customer relationship management (CRM) software for your business, you must consider various factors and check out reviews of the best online CRM software to help you decide.
Customer relationship management improves business relations and provides solutions to a variety of problems – downward trend of sales, unsatisfactory service, marketing troubles, and many others. Companies these days use a CRM software that could adapt to their system, manage their data, and find these solutions. Check out these factors that should be considered before selecting a CRM software.
Why Companies Need CRM Software
Customer relationship management is the use of various techniques, applications and software to collect, store, manage, and analyze big data containing customer information – what they need, what they want, how they react to business strategies and how they interact with the company. A CRM software usually has dashboards that generate reports and trends on customer information. It eases the burden of storing too many spreadsheets and organizing data that takes too much of employees’ time. Moreover, it could come with an analytics feature that can predict patterns on customer behavior that allow companies to make well-calculated risks.
Guide to Selecting the CRM Software
Know Your Business
A CRM software provides solutions to a company’s customer relations problems and needs. To use it effectively, one must properly map out the different processes and strategies the company uses that involves customer interaction and data. Which one of these strategies is not working well for the business? From an employer or employee’s point of view, it might be difficult to assess the company’s processes objectively. Hiring a consultant could be helpful in this case. After this assessment, you’ll figure out if your company needs a CRM software and which specific problems require the use of it.
Choosing the Right Team
While the CRM software can provide insights that help in decision-making, you would still need an efficient team to make these decisions. Who should be handling CRM software? It does not necessarily have to be an entire team of IT experts. They could be from different ranks and sectors especially if they can represent parts of the company that will be greatly affected by decisions made, especially those involving customer relations.
Getting Ready for CRM
If you are confident that CRM software will bring the solution to your company’s problems, here are the next things you must figure out. Are you going to use the software short-term or long-term? Here is where you decide if you only need CRM to provide immediate solutions or if you want to use it to improve the company in the long run. You also have the choice of running it in the cloud or on premise. Cloud-based software can save you hardware and labor costs; however, traditional storage is still less expensive and more secured when it comes to long-term use.
How CRM Software Fits into the Company
The first factor to consider is how well the software can integrate with the company system. It may require additional costs and time if the software is too complex for your pre-existing systems. Integrations are essential if you want to use CRM for the whole company and not only for selected departments. Another factor is how well a vendor can support you and your staff in adapting to these new applications and learning to maximize its capabilities. Moreover, see reviews of the best online CRM software vendors and see which one has been able to transform companies promisingly.
Recently, various CRM software have surfaced and some of them are altered to better fit certain industries such as insurance and real estate. However, this does not automatically mean that the software will work for you. You can still choose the unmodified type of software if it suits your company better. Lastly, check out the specific features of each CRM software. The CRM features that you should be looking for depends on the specific problems that you identified.
Must-Have Features of a CRM Software
These are the general characteristics that make an ideal CRM software and the specific features that it must have:
Simplicity. Before anything else, a CRM software must be simple enough to provide a user-friendly environment to your team. You can see this in the layout of features such as reports and dashboards. Are they too complex and overwhelming to be understood? If they are, it could cause serious problems in the long run. An ideal CRM software should be able to perform data management and still display clear and understandable results.
Remote Access. There is not much use to a CRM software if it can only be accessed through the office. Most of CRM software vendors offer cloud options that allow you to access information wherever you are and whenever you need it.
Mobile Access. Not all employees are sitting around in the office all day. Some of them, especially those interacting with customers, are out in the field with only their mobile phones. It would be useful to have access to big data while closing deals with clients.
Vendor Support. An ideal CRM software vendor must readily support the company and staff in running the software. A multichannel support, whether through phone or online chat, would be useful in time-constrained situations.
Integrated analytics. Analytics play a big role in a company’s decision making. It picks up relevant patterns and unique points from an overwhelming amount of data to provide insights or even predict customer trends.
Flexibility. One of the most important feature of any software is its flexibility to customization. Aside from being flexible in appearance and layouts, several CRM software also feature role-based access to data, which means that it could have different levels of accessibility depending on the department or individual on the user end.
Best Online CRM Software
Here is a list of the top CRM software varying from small businesses to large enterprises according to reviews:
SharpSpring – SharpSpring appeals to many small businesses for its simplicity and affordability. In a user-friendly platform, the cloud-based software provides quick and clear display of information that is easy to understand by a working team.
InfoFlo – For medium-sized businesses, InfoFlo could be the best fit. While large businesses may opt for a pricey software with many features and small businesses may choose a software based on a limited budget, InfoFlo is a mix of the two kinds. It comes with several useful features without the high price. User reviews reveal that its best feature is that it is easy to customize and its functions are easy to utilize.
Bpm’online – This cloud-based software comes at a higher price than the previous ones on the list. It comes with a unique platform that integrates marketing, sales, and service all in one. Bpm’ online is suitable for mid-sized or large businesses.
Less Annoying CRM – Here is another software that is good for small businesses. It also boasts a simple and user-friendly environment for users. The software offers a modified role-based access that manages accessibility of data to different employees. Also, it merges contact information, tasks, and events in one place which is good for team cooperation.
When CRM Software Selection Goes Wrong
A study by Merkle Group, Inc. on CRM initiatives show that around 63% of projects fail. While vendors are certainly not creating failing products, everything starts going wrong when a team selects the wrong CRM software for the company. Here’s what you should avoid to prevent the selection of a CRM software that does not go well with your type of business:
Wrong Assessment of Problems
Many companies who fail on the first step of choosing their CRM software experience failure in using it. If a company does not hire a consultant, the assessment of the effectivity of processes and strategies might be subjective if done by the company’s own employees. Some of them might deny the existence of problems if they’re small enough. However, these small mistakes may grow to become serious problems in the future.
Choosing Technology Over Need
Another common mistake of companies is thinking that the CRM software with the most impressive features and the most advanced technology is the best. No matter how striking the features of a CRM software are, they would not have much use if they are not fit to solve the company’s problems. This mismatch may force your employees to change their processes and adapt to it. Thus, you might be forced to change existing strategies that have been successful just to integrate with the software.
All in all, the key to choosing the best CRM software for your business is keeping it a goal-oriented selection. There are problems to be solved and you must find the necessary features of a CRM software that can bring promising solutions. Moreover, other significant factors include your budget plan, choice of storage, and the availability of your pre-existing systems to integrate with the software. Check out these reviews of the best online CRM software to help you make the final decision!
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