Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that companies use to manage and analyze data obtained during interactions with clients. This term is, actually, more often associated with software and apps that represent a central customer base in which all data related to cooperation are connected.
Due to technological advancements, CRM has evolved into a sophisticated supporting system that, besides obtaining all customer information in one place, assists companies in improving the overall business operation.
The advantages of implementing a CRM system reflect in:
- Improving the relationship with clients, gaining their trust, and building stable, long-term cooperation.
- Easier anticipation of the clients’ needs and the ability to meet their requirements in a timely manner.
- Predicting the product quantity required in stock, as well as easier communication and agreement with suppliers.
- Easier planning and a clearer strategy of all future projects, campaigns, and contracts that will be offered to the clients.
CRM is not focused exclusively on raw sales and profit, but it also enables the harmonization of business strategies, organizational structure, and company culture. Regardless of the size of the company, having such software will help create a good atmosphere for a long-term and prosperous relationship with clients, based solely on data obtained during past interactions.
How To Choose the Right CRM for Your Business
First Identify Your Needs
To find the right CRM software, you need to clarify the needs of your business and the goals you want to achieve. Think about features that could improve the performance of your employees or automate business processes in the company.
Some basic features that CRM software for solopreneurs and small businesses should have are:
Computer programs and applications can be complex to learn and hard to use. Many also require IT support for the setup, which makes you dependent on the consultants.
The CRM software should be intuitive and straightforward, so you and your employees can quickly incorporate it into your daily tasks without spending much of your time on training.
An Easy Upgrade
As your company’s needs can change over time, it’s important that your CRM is flexible and easy to customize. Check if the software has the ability to extend existing functionalities, or if there is an option to connect it to programs you already use, such as MailChimp, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, etc.
For everything to run smoothly, your CRM must be compatible with other apps. Email is probably your main channel of communication with customers. To nurture those relationships, try options like CRM for Gmail, or CRM for Outlook if you prefer it.
If your employees work in the field, they must be able to easily access data from their phones or tablets. The mobile version of CRM provides easy and quick access via devices other than a desktop computer.
To not depend on Internet access, look for offline support. Once you reconnect your device to the Internet, the app will automatically sync data to CRM.
Cloud or on-Premises
CRMs and data can either be hosted on your business server and accessed through your local network, or hosted on the vendor’s server and accessed using a web browser or mobile app.
Both versions come with advantages and disadvantages, but for smaller businesses, Cloud solution is more affordable.
CRM Reporting Capabilities
While all other functionalities are great, CRM reporting capabilities are what we aim for. The real picture of wins and losses is what provides the opportunity for improvement and surpassing the competition.
One part of customer success is the protection of clients’ personal information. Make sure the CRM respects the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so if your customer requires it to be removed from your database, you can honor their request and send a confirmation of the deletion.
Test Drive CRM Before Purchase
Since you are going to use the CRM for a long period of time, don’t rush the decision-making. There is a number of different, even industry-related CRM software, so try to get a demo version first.
A free trial will help you see if the CRM solution meets your requirements and is a perfect fit for your business. This will save you both time and money in the long run, so choose wisely.
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