Customer Relationship Management systems have come along way since their initial versions. Niche players orientated to different market segments have also entered the market. So what things should you be looking for when deciding on a CRM?
Integration - Leveraging Existing Data and Processes
It’s likely there is a wealth of data in other systems / repositories within your company that will be invaluable to the sales process. To tap into this data, the CRM needs to have integration points to these other systems. Some come with out of the box connectors to popular related systems.
This also brings up the question of how much you’re prepared to alter your processes to the CRM’s built in process flows, or customise the CRM. If you’re going to rely heavily on the latter, then choosing a CRM with suitable customisation features is going to be an important element.
Functionality and Data Quality
To ensure the teams adopt the product and don’t start using alternative systems such as spreadsheets, it’s important that the core functionality is easy to use and helps them do their core jobs. Presenting good quality leads, and helping with well timed followups is a feature of many CRM systems. However, the user experience, and ability to (securely) remotely access the platform can make a difference to the adoption rates.
Social Media and Relationship Optimising
Leveraging Social Media, as part of customer service is becoming increasingly popular. It also can provide visibility to the wider relationships of your leads and customers. Having a CRM system that can record these interactions against a customer's profile can help to optimise the relationship with those customers. It’s been possible to do the same with email interactions for a long time in CRM systems.
Analytics - Creating Actionable Insights.
Being able to see what’s happening in your sales team with low level analytics reports has been a staple feature of CRMs for many years. More recently, features are appearing that provide actionable insights through statistical analysis algorithms and machine learning.
Having the information aligned to the various decision making levels within your organisation is also an important factor. It should be possible to give insights to the C-level as well as individual sales reps.