Customer relationship management (CRM) software empowers businesses of all sizes and sectors to make smarter, more accurate decisions.
According to some estimates, over 90 percent of companies make use of a CRM solution—and for good reason. On average, CRM solutions see a return on investment of $8.71 for every dollar that you invest.
Despite the obvious benefits of CRM software, however, it’s not so obvious how to choose the best solution for your organization. There are a lot of options available to you. Plus, your company’s situation may be influenced by a number of different factors:
- Number of employees
- Specific business requirements
- Preferred pricing model
- Upcoming projects
- Existing resources and technologies
Whether you’re making your first CRM purchase or replacing an existing system, this article will go over the most important concerns that you should consider when choosing a CRM solution.
Defining CRM return on investment
There are essentially three different approaches to CRM solutions: basic, standalone, and integrated.
- Basic CRM systems include standard functionality without any custom features or coding. This enables you to get up and running quickly and easily.
- Standalone CRM solutions include more complex processes than basic CRM systems, including custom features for reporting, views and workflows.
- Integrated CRM systems connect a standalone CRM system with external applications, websites, and systems. This helps you share data and make your workflow more efficient.
No matter which type of CRM you select, you need to understand the value of your CRM solution to evaluate whether it’s the right choice.
For example, focus on how a CRM will improve your customer relationships by giving you easy access to important metrics and key performance indicators, as well as helping you manage connections on social media.
On paper, defining the ROI of a given CRM is easy: simply weigh the costs of using it against the benefits that you gain by doing so.
In practice, however, calculating CRM ROI involves a good deal of subjective assessments and estimates about how much given features are worth to you. Note that most of the value you extract from your CRM will likely come from a few of the most frequently used functionalities.
CRM factors to consider
The cost of a CRM solution is perhaps the best factor to contemplate first since it can disqualify certain options right off the bat. Consider questions such as:
- What is the pricing model? Subscription-based or a perpetual license? Most CRM applications, especially those that are cloud-based, use a per-month, per-user pricing model.
- What are the different pricing tiers? Which features that you consider important? Make sure you’re looking at the price for the tier of service you’ll need.
CRM software comes with many different features and functionalities. Some of the capabilities that might interest you include:
- Lead management and sales for finding, nurturing, and converting new customers
- Marketing tools for email and SMS campaigns
- Reports and dashboards for highlighting important metrics
- E-commerce integration
Depending on your business, you may have other questions to ask when evaluating CRM software options, such as:
- How easy is it for employees to learn and use the software?
- What kind of support and maintenance plans are available?
- How will the software integrate with your existing technical setup?
Final thoughts on your CRM solution
With so many advantages at stake, deciding on the right CRM solution isn’t a task to be taken lightly.
If you need help selecting the right CRM software for your business, contact your IT managed services provider for additional guidance.