How to choose the right CRM & CRM support partner for your business

For every business there comes a time when it reaches the point of no return. Where wading through countless different spreadsheets held across multiple locations, drives, people, devices etc is just no longer an option. 

The inefficiency and lost opportunity are simply too obvious and too real to ignore any longer.

No matter what size your company, the right CRM software can get you past this “point of no return” and enable you to grow your business in five key ways. CRM can help you by:

  1. Finding and connecting with the right customers
  2. Creating and nurturing deeper, more sustainable relationships
  3. Reducing cost of sales
  4. Increasing employee productivity
  5. Improving customer service & retention

So, while the benefits of CRM are clear, choosing the right CRM (and possibly even more crucially) the right CRM partner for your business is not so clear-cut.

One of the most important things you need to establish first is what your business needs actually are. One of the biggest mistakes I see repeated time and again is a business focusing on evaluating CRM systems and their differing features and functionality, rather than focusing on their own needs and priorities.

Before you even look at the functions certain CRM solutions might offer, turn your attention to your own business drivers, needs and requirements first. 

  • What are the most inefficient processes, or pain points in your business that can be addressed by a CRM system?
  • What operational process and workflows do you need to add or optimise to help your business grow?
  • Who is going to use this new CRM?
  • What other software does this CRM need to integrate with?
  • What budget is there for the CRM?

Asking yourself these simple questions will help you identify what you REALLY need in a CRM solution.

Once you’ve done this, then you can move on to the question of what you want the CRM system to actually do.

Does your business need a fully-featured CRM that can manage the entire customer journey across marketing, engagement, sales, service and more? Or do you need a more basic feature set for now, so you can more effectively manage communications, customers, prospects and leads?

At this stage, it’s worth pointing out that most CRM systems tend to come with a heck of a lot of functions and features, many that you may not need right now. But, as your business grows, so will your CRM needs, so make sure the CRM solution you choose is highly flexible and can be easily configured, customised, scaled and upgraded to meet your changing business requirements.

Relationship Unlimited can provide consultancy advice around the requirements gathering phase of your CRM project. So, if you’re at the stage where you know you need a CRM (but aren’t sure about the next steps) then you can take advantage of our free half hour consultation service with one of our highly qualified consultants here.

Now you’re ready to choose the right CRM system & CRM support partner for your business

The following are some of the key evergreen considerations I always recommend when choosing a CRM system and CRM partner. I’d also highlight that the Covid-19 era only makes all these aspects even more relevant and pertinent.

Make sure your chosen CRM system will integrate with your other applications

A key element in the selection of a CRM solution is how well it can integrate with your existing applications and technology platforms such as; finance, marketing or project management systems.

Similarly, make sure that you can easily migrate your existing contact/customer data into your new CRM system.

Make sure it’s mobile

With more and more teams working from home (or remotely) it’s never been more important that your sales teams and managers have anywhere, anytime access to customer and sales data. 

Make sure your CRM system allows for a quick response to customer needs, enabling your salespeople to chase leads and prospects and manage existing customer accounts remotely or “on-the-go”.

Make sure the CRM system is GDPR compliant (if you do business in Europe or internationally)

From the 25th of May 2018 new EU privacy laws have required global businesses with links to the European continent to comply with the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR).

As the NZ Law Society has observed, these new rules will impact on and apply to any international organisation (including those based in New Zealand!) handling the personal data of anyone residing within the European Union.

So, with GDPR now in effect, if you trade internationally then your customers’ data and where it’s stored is more important than ever before. Without GDPR-specific features native to your CRM system, you run the risk of failing to comply and the penalties can be substantial.

Make sure your CRM partner can deliver on customisation & training

A well-configured CRM system will support, automate and enhance your business processes and customer service activities. However, your brand new and shiny CRM solution is no good if it’s not properly configured, or if your team are not properly trained to use all the features.

Training is one of (if not the) most important factor for successful CRM adoption. It should be an ongoing, hands-on experience, so that everyone knows how to use the software to increase their efficiency, all supported by a great online knowledge base and learning management system.

Make sure you’re getting value for money

Technology has revolutionised the way we work in today’s globalised world. Make sure you are leveraging this change to best effect for your business when it comes to value for money.

The smartest technology platform providers think local AND global, by combining highly accomplished, local expertise with the very best certified talent globally. This approach provides best-in-class technology delivered to the very highest of international standards – delivered by a team of local experts.

By utilising this “best of both worlds” methodology top providers create unrivalled value and customer success for their clients.

In conclusion then, by following these steps and tips when it comes to choosing a CRM & CRM partner for your business, I believe you’ll save yourself time and money and better position your business for CRM success.

If you’ve found this article useful and want to learn more about Salesforce CRM or Relationship Unlimited then either subscribe to receive regular content at the top of the page or get in touch with us directly here.

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