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Companies invest massively in technology and systems in order to improve sales and overall company results. If you’re looking to better organize your sales teams, customer lists and sales funnels, you’ve probably been told you should invest in a CRM.
With hundreds of options available, how do you pick the right one for your team and your organization?
By asking yourself the right questions. Here are the 7 questions you need to answer before you invest into a CRM.
1. What are the top objectives you want your CRM to help you achieve?
Before you start looking at CRMs, ask yourself what it is the main objective your company needs to achieve.
Do not look at a CRM software and try to understand how this tool can help you sell more. Turn that question around.
Once you’ve determined what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll then be able to find the right software that's going to help you reach that objective.
Typical goals when implementing a CRM or changing for a new one are:
Decrease customer acquisition cost
These are very global objectives that will take many different forms depending on the company, its maturity and its business objectives.
2. What’s your typical sales process?
The choice of CRM software will be influenced by your sales process and your customer journey.
While they may be interesting for large organizations with hundreds of salespeople, if you're a smaller company, this type of software could be prohibitive, all the while being overkill for what you’re trying to accomplish.
Because the customer journey often starts online with decision-makers doing their own research on your products and services before they get in touch with you, you’ll want to make sure that you have mapped out your customer’s journey. This will allow you to measure your efforts and see the gaps in your process along that customer journey.
The more aware you are of your customer’s journey within your sales cycle, the better you’ll be able to equip your sales and marketing teams with a strong tool to allow them to maximize each customer interaction and the overall results.
3. What types of integrations do you need with your other systems?
Most CRMs offer a lot of customization and integrate with numerous apps.
A native integration with your marketing software will allow you to measure your marketing efforts, while flowing data to your CRM so your salespeople are aware of the level of engagement of their prospects and customers with your company’s marketing efforts (for example, they will see if a contact clicked a link in your newsletter or downloaded a document off your website).
Beyond marketing, you may want to integrate your CRM with billing, customer service or even with your ecommerce solution. The idea is to leverage the CRM so you can streamline your sales process and maximize business intelligence on each customer.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution and trying to integrate all your systems may not be the best path. Still, you need to make sure that critical systems that increase sales performance can integrate.
4. What is your budget?
It’s important to establish a budget for your system, as there can be additional costs associated not only with the implementation of the solution, but also later down the road as your business grows.
Make sure you evaluate the following to ensure to keep your budget on track:
- Set up costs: Add not only the cost of the solution, but the cost of the consultant helping you, the cost of customizing the solution to your needs, the cost of integration with your other systems as well as any additional training you may require to get everybody up and running efficiently.
- Additional user fees: How much does it cost to add an additional user? How about 10? Or 100? Look at your projected growth and make sure you plan for these costs.
- Number of contacts: Perhaps you’re starting with a relatively small number of contacts, but what if this list grows significantly over time? Is the cost going to become prohibitive?
5. How much support do you require?
Does the software company offer support to help you set up your software and integrations? Do you have technical support in-house that can help you with this?
You’ll want to make sure that you have a champion super-user in-house that knows the system in and out to help address issues as they arise and be the point person with the software company.
You’ll also want to check the type of customer service you have access to on the CRM editor side. Do they have support in your time zone? Is it accessible only via a helpdesk during business hours or is there support via chat/phone during off-hours or on weekends?
6. Do you require special training for your teams?
The most expensive mistake you can make is to set up a sophisticated system, and then find out your team is not using it simply because they don’t understand how to, or don’t see the point of what you’re trying to accomplish.
When you’re designing the training for your teams, don’t stop at the practical aspect of the technology. Make sure your teams understand not only how this new system can help them, but how it can help your company grow and reach its goals long-term.
This is where an outside consultant can come in handy. Very often, product training is oriented towards the features of the software. While it’s important to be able to use the tool properly, giving your teams real-life examples will help them truly leverage the new tool.
A consultant will be able to bring real use-cases to life for your teams, so that the training will be driven by your reality and better targeted to the needs of your teams. Very often consultants have seen these use-cases in similar companies so they can save you time and money by implementing best practices right off the bat.
7. Should you purchase your CRM software from the editor or through a consultant?
The answer to this question will depend on the structure of your company. If you have technical resources such as an IT department or in-house integrators, then you can probably manage on your own, provided you also have a team to train your staff.
Smaller companies who want a simple out-of-the-box solution may not require training or much integration with their current systems so they can probably purchase the solution directly online.
For companies who may require customization/integration and who may not have the resources in-house to execute it all themselves, a consultant or an integrator will most likely help them get the most value out of their CRM right out of the gate.
What experience taught us about CRM implementation?
An average of 30% of CRM projects fail according to Harvard Business Review, but figures range from 18% to 69% in different studies.
The key reasons for these failures are:
- Lack of a coherent strategy
- Lack of attention to the process
- Focus on technology instead of people
- Failure to adopt after implementation
If making sure you choose the right technology for your needs and goals is part of the success recipe, it’s only one ingredient.
You need a clear strategy and defined sales processes before you implement your CRM. If is often expected that the CRM will help streamline processes, but the truth is that a CRM can only map and structure processes, it cannot create them.
Another key ingredient is to provide appropriate training, resources, and coaching to your sales and marketing team is the number one success factor for CRM adoption and increased revenue.
While it can seem overwhelming just looking at the chart of how many CRM systems exist, it’s important to understand the role of Technology in Sales.
When it comes to sales, technology means leverage. Leverage on time, leverage on productivity, leveraging your resources. etc. Good use of technology allows you to scale your efforts and accomplish a lot more by maximizing your current resources.
Very often companies don't understand how much they can leverage a CRM. They’ll invest in a CRM when they’re struggling with sales, at a time when a CRM won’t help them simply because a CRM is not a magic wand.
In 2022, technology is absolutely necessary and most technologies are readily available to almost any size company. You can have access to an amazing tool that will help you increase sales and reach your overall company objectives, all the while staying competitive in today’s environment by leveraging the data you collect on your prospects, customers and sales processes.