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Author: Bonnie Data

Every business can benefit greatly by utilizing best-in-class-software, especially when it comes to a CRM.  However, there are many products available that range in cost– from virtually free to tens of thousands of dollars.  Therefore, spend the time finding the product that is the best value for your company’s needs. 

Here are ten things to consider when evaluating the value of any CRM your considering.  

  1. Adoptability – Features that make your sales reps jobs easier are essential.  A CRM must prove its value to the sales team first and foremost.  The system needs to eliminate duplicate and administrative actions.  For example, anything that a salesperson writes, types, or takes note over more than three times should be able to be automated so that the same information doesn’t need to be written or typed repeatedly.  A system that provides benefits to its sales team needs to be the priority in a CRM.  
  2. Ease of Use – Small business sales teams are best served by user-friendly, intuitive CRM solutions that can be learned in an afternoon and don’t require ongoing maintenance. Keep in mind that 55% of sales reps feel that ease-of-use is the most important feature of a CRM. 
  3. Useful Sales Processes – Your CRM should make your reps more effective, not just more organized. CRMs with sales process capabilities help reps know when and how to reach out, so they can focus more on closing.   Incorporating best practice uses of the sales process tools and features of your CRM is valuable.  Sales process tools also provide managers with another way to break down their pipelines—not only quantitatively but qualitatively. 
  4. Integrations are also a very important part of the CRM decision.  If your sales reps must leave their CRM every time they need to send an email or check their appointment calendar, that lost time will add up and hurt your team’s productivity. Look for a CRM that integrates with the business software you already use, so you can do everything in one place. 
  5. Contact syncing is a very important element. Manual data entry sucks countless hours out of a sales team’s week. The best CRMs reduce as many of those repetitive tasks as possible by allowing you to quickly sync your email accounts, your calendar, and your smartphone– giving you one location for all account information. 
  6. Team wide connectivity – A good CRM allows sales reps to easily communicate and share customer information with other team members outside of the sales department.  For example, the ability to quickly enable your support and marketing teams to provide additional assistance on deals in progress gives you a tremendous advantage over sales teams who are isolated within their organizations. 
  7. Reports – While most CRM platforms can show you your sales and pipeline figures immediately, the most useful ones allow sales teams to utilize custom reports.  Such reports help drill-down by product, source, and other filters, so you can find the numbers that matter to you. 
  8. Mobile access – Sales reps need to be equally effective both inside and outside the office, so the ability to access deals and contact information from any device is crucial. Ideally, your CRM should offer iPhone and Android mobile apps that are reliable and easy to use without sacrificing desktop features. 
  9. Customization – CRMs with massive feature lists usually come with massive per-user costs, and some CRMs nickel-and-dime their users by charging extra for standard features.  It’s important to find an affordable CRM that includes all the features your sales team will use right out of the box.  However, in many cases the out of the box systems do not provide the features the business needs.  Therefore, understanding the system’s customization and your company’s needs should also factor into your decision. 
  10. Customer Support – Easy to reach and inexpensive support is imperative. The end users of the CRM need to be able to get the training and help they need when they need it. The support should come from actual human beings who are available during normal business hours by phone or email. 

Keep in mind that for successful implementation and to maximize the value of your CRM investment, your sales team needs to fully adopt it.  By eliminating common pain points, providing short and frequent training opportunities, and providing customization tools that benefit your sales team, they are more likely to get on board– which needs to be the priority of your CRM.