Netiks International has been developing CRM solutions for a variety of industries including banks, insurance companies, educational institutions, and governmental sectors long enough to assure you that choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for your business can feel very overwhelming. With so many options like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, and Zoho, each having different feature and tool sets priced at different ranges, businesses struggle to identify which CRM best suits their business processes and workflows.
Should a business go for the cheapest option? The Most expensive and feature loaded option? Or is there a definite criterion for choosing the suitable CRM for your business?
Although, there’s no rule of thumb when choosing a CRM, as each business has its own way of conducting business, here’s a list of 10 tips that will help you identify which CRM solution works best for your business.
1. Identify your goals and requirements
The first question to answer is “Why do I need a CRM?”, list the goals and requirements below in order of importance for what you want to solve by purchasing a CRM solution, this will establish a benchmark for you to narrow your CRM options list
- Track Sales Team Activity and Closing rates
- Track Leads, Opportunities and Closing Rates
- Improve Customer Service and reinforce case management
- Automate and personalize Marketing Campaigns
- Segment Customer Base and generate cross selling offers
- Use AI to boost sales and service team productivity
- Organize Business Operations and automate Workflows
- Offer Connectivity Between Teams
- Generate Customized Reporting and Dashboards
The list above is non-exhaustive, and you may adjust it as per your business requirements and set goals.
2. Identify the scalability of the solution
Whether you are a small business or an international enterprise, you are always at one stage of development as a business, and you are more than likely going to grow. Keep in mind that the solution you choose now should always be able to scale based on your growth as a business. There’s a no one size fits all rule, and scalability is something that a lot of business overlook when choosing their CRM.
By choosing a scalable solution you ensure that you will not need to replace the entire solution when your business outgrows the current feature set.
3. Assess the CRMs’ Ability to Integrate with Other Applications
Every business has its own business applications, whether it is an ERP, an HR software, an accounting software, a website, or any other application you have, make sure the CRM solution you are considering can integrate with your current applications. You don’t want another application that is used separately, you need a solution that can seamlessly integrate with existing software to form a fluid streamline for your business operations to take place.
At Netiks International, we have been seamlessly integrating CRM solutions with Core Banking, Core Insurance, and governmental solutions among others using the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions.
4. Make sure you get a user-friendly interface
A lot of applications and CRM solutions out there are just too complicated for a business user, bear in mind, not everyone is a tech savvy that can navigate any application without a hassle. You need to make sure that your CRM has a user-friendly interface for business users to be able to complete tasks efficiently and with minimal margin for error.
On the other hand, some solutions are too simplified in a way that they cannot deliver in terms of what you can do inside an application, thus rendering the solution obsolete for your business.
Choose the right combination of complexity against user-friendliness to achieve desired results.
5. Make sure the solution has GDPR features
A CRM without General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protocols implemented can have a huge toll on your business. For instance, managing user data, whether it is fulfilling customer requests for user/customer data reports or handling user/customer data deletion requests, this can be obnoxiously inefficient if you are trying to manage it manually.
Also, not having GDPR features in your solution puts you at risk of not complying to rules and regulations for conducting business. Simply put, if you don’t have GDPR features, your solution cannot legally operate in different parts of the world.
6. Identify what reporting capabilities the CRM solution has
Reporting capabilities are usually available in all CRMs; however, the customization margins as well as the types of reporting tools that are available for you to use vary significantly. You must make sure reporting is scalable, fast, accurate, and shows you exactly what you need to know to have an advantage over competitors.
Dashboards, Business Intelligence, Data Analysis, and KPIs are all things you should consider as reporting tools. In fact, these are exactly the tools you should be looking for in a CRM, especially if they are easy to read, easy to configure, and easily accessible. As these are the tools you will rely on heavily to make key decisions moving forward with your business endeavors.
7. Decide whether you want an On-Premises or an Online implementation
Not all solutions offer these options, as most CRMs operate strictly online. In some countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which implements strict data privacy policies where user data cannot exist on the cloud, render the online solutions obsolete.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a great option when it comes to this as it offers three types of implementations (On-Premises, Online, and Hybrid). However, if those regulations don’t exist for you, you must make the choice whether you want an On-Premises or an Online implementation. There are many major differences to consider when making the choice, here’s a quick compact comparison between the two:
If you decide on an On-Premises implementation, bear in mind that you must pay all the costs associated with servers, networking, maintenance, upgrades, and employee salaries associated with the installation and upkeep of your inhouse hosted Data Centers and Application Centers. Also, you will be the one responsible for making sure your data is secure and unbreachable. One last point to mention here is, when you go On-Premises, updates will not automatically roll out to you as soon as they are released, you will have to manually update your applications and data centers with the most recent updates.
On the contrary, if you decide online, then providers like Microsoft Dynamics 365 promise you 99.8% secure, always on, fast, and reliable cloud hosted solutions, where updates are rolled out automatically, and access to features that cannot be utilized in an On-Premises implementation (Like AI for instance).
Since, we mentioned it, a Hybrid implementation is a mix of the two options, however, not many offer this capability, in fact Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the only one I am aware of.
There are more differences that you might want to check per solution before you decide which route you want to take for the implementation.
8. Verify whether the provider will do the implementation, configuration, and training
There are so many difficulties associated with the implementation and configuration of such complex solutions, therefore, it is wise to ensure the provider is ready to implement and configure the solution for your business.
Not only that, but you must also make sure the provider is ready to conduct training for you and your business users to use the CRM to its fullest potential, there’s always one more feature that you missed if you didn’t receive proper training.
9. Evaluate the customer service provided
You will be amazed on how many business analysts, CRM professionals, and CRM blogs, miss this very important tip when talking about choosing an appropriate CRM, however, Netiks won’t forget it because we believe customer service is very important. The customer service you get after purchasing a solution is way too important to overlook. What if something breaks? You have a feature request? Or you need some guidance on utilizing a certain feature?
A lot of CRMs have common functionalities in the grand scheme of things, however, what’s different for each vendor is their ability and readability to service their solutions, as well as how much they charge you for that service, so make sure you read some reviews on the customer service quality, as well as the premium you are going to pay for it.
10. Assess Subscription Costs and Other Costs
Price is usually the main driver for businesses to choose a CRM solution, these usually come in subscription costs. Also, different vendors have different subscription plan management, these could be in the form of per user subscriptions, as bundles, or per system module required.
However, what most people don’t know is that almost every CRM solution has other costs related to the implementation, configuration, training, customer support, as well as any other service the vendor may offer.
Consequently, after narrowing down your choices, consider inquiring about all the costs that you may incur for a CRM solution, as this can impact how much you are going to pay for the solution and related services significantly.
In conclusion, choosing a CRM is not an easy task; it is time consuming and has a huge impact on your business. However, the tips we shared with you will give you a proper understanding of what to consider when you are choosing the right CRM for your business.