Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a tool that manages customer (and potential customer) information. There are (as is the case with most business software) off the shelf versions, SaaS versions that you subscribe to, and bespoke CRMs that are built especially for you.
But which is best, and what should you consider when choosing?
As a marketer, I have used a few different CRMs, and in each business, they have been configured differently to suit the goals and needs of the organisation. Here is a quick guide to help you consider which is best for you.
Questions to ask yourself when selecting a CRM:
- Do you know exactly what you want it to do?
- Do you need it to integrate with marketing tools?
- Should it integrate with other business tools?
- Will it need to scale with your business?
- Can you ensure it will be kept up to date?
- Admin time: how easy and fast is it to use?
- Will you use all the features that powerful off the shelf CRM has, or are you paying too much for what you need?
A good CRM should include:
- Lead management and Sales funnel.
- Log of customer communication, even if communications came from different channels.
- Customer information; contact details, marketing prefs, credit limit, past sales, favourite products, buying patterns, invoices, and statements.
- Calls to action e.g. call after their holiday, send samples etc.
- Able to avoid duplicate entries.
- Remote access, especially if you have staff in the field or working from home.
- Able to compare sales managers targets and performance
Make sure the ones on your short list include what you need - more features aren’t always a good thing, as long as it has the ones you require.
In terms of which type to go for, after considering the above, there are benefits of each:
With an off the shelf tool that you will own, there is a one off payment and no upkeep, but you will have to spend a lot of time configuring it to suit you, you may only use a small amount of the available features and it can go out of date quite quickly.
SaaS versions are good because there is no lump sum outlay at the start. However, you will have a hefty monthly payment to make and most charge per user license, so it can soon add up. It will however include updates, so it shouldn’t go out of date.
If you choose a bespoke CRM, following initial conversions with your developer, there is an initial payment outlay but you won’t have to do anything directly with the software. All of your data will be imported by them and it will be set up as you require, ready to go. It can evolve with your business, and won’t cost you per user.
Written by Jayne, Marketing Executive - Smashed Crab Software