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A Guide to Help You Find a CRM for Your Business  

Your customer relationship management (CRM) powers every interaction customers have with your brand, from the first visit to your website to the last customer support call.

Whether you’re new to CRM or looking for a better way to manage your customer relationships, your new CRM should help you achieve your business goals, meet the needs of your customers, and set you up for success in the long term.

This guide provides the information to efficiently determine and plan how to choose and implement the right CRM for your business. 

You’ll learn how to define how to make your CRM for your unique business, navigate the software market, and get your team ready and on board.

Understand Your Customer

You’ve heard this phrase a lot, but there’s a reason why it’s a cliche—knowing your customers and how they react to your brand at every stage is vital for revenue, and loyalty. 

The consumer of today expects you to understand their needs and pain points. They’ll move on to a competitor if you don’t provide them with the education and support they require. 

Customer relationships are essential for growth and require more than good customer support or new products. You must continuously study your customer’s ever-changing needs and challenges and use those insights to respond to their requests quickly. This is especially true when they need help with your product or service. 

But how can you do this without hiring new people or spending the bulk of your time on manual data management? Through a CRM, you can manage your customer relationships, engage new ones, and build a program that leads to loyal customers. 

Reasons Why You Need a CRM 

Maybe it’s getting more difficult to keep up with processes and understanding your customers’ profiles and needs. Maybe you realize your sales and marketing teams can no longer work efficiently in your current “separate but together” departments. Be it workflow issues or wanting a better way to scale; these scenarios point to needing a CRM right now. 

Problem #1: Your teams work off different versions of the truth

Your customer data is scattered across systems and records, so each team sees a different piece of the puzzle. This can lead to internal frustration and inconsistent customer experiences, as various departments have incomplete or outdated information.

Problem #2: Your sales, marketing, and service teams are siloed

When each department uses its own system, getting everyone on the same page is hard. Your sales, marketing, and service teams may have different goals and operations, and handing off customers between stages of the lifecycle can be difficult.

Problem #3: Your teams rely on manual reporting

Without a CRM, your teams will likely use manual processes like spreadsheets or legacy systems to track customer information and build reports. This is time-consuming and error-prone, making it difficult to identify critical insights.

Problem #4: Your reports are incomplete or inaccurate

Reports are essential for understanding how your sales and marketing teams are performing so you can improve campaigns and optimize sales processes. Incomplete or inaccurate reports will hinder your team’s ability to create the best engagement and sales efforts for leads and customers. 

Questions to Ask When Researching CRMs

Finding the right CRM is more than just picking a popular option or the one you used at your last job.

Before you start talking about new solutions internally or exploring vendors, ask yourself:

  • What are your main business goals and KPIs? How are you currently able to keep track of them? What are the gaps? 
  • How do your sales, marketing, and service teams interact with contacts and other data? Do they have access to the prospect and customer info they need? What are their pain points?
  • What are your customers’ biggest complaints about your brand? Have they told you about unmet needs or disconnects? Have you identified ways to improve their experience?

Here are some tips:

  • Business goals: Consider what you want to achieve with your CRM, such as increasing sales, improving customer satisfaction, or reducing churn. 
  • Employee needs: Talk to your team members to understand how they use data and what their challenges are so you can identify what’s most important to them. 
  • Customer expectations: Think about your customer’s journey and what they expect from your brand at each stage. 

Your Guide to the Right CRM

The CRM software you choose should be tailored to your business. You can take these steps to ensure you’re informed along the way. 

Have an Open Discussion About Your Team’s Needs

Even the best CRM won’t work if it doesn’t meet your team’s needs or fit with their current processes. Before looking at specific features or benefits, find out what each team needs from a new CRM.

Talk to the people who use your current CRM or similar systems every day. Leaders are important, but you should also talk to:

  • Revenue and business operations teams who manage backend systems
  • Sales, marketing, and service teams who rely on frontend functionality

Find out how each team interacts with contacts, objects, and other data and what they need to see in your CRM. This is also a good time to ask about their current challenges and what improvements would be most helpful.

Once you have a good understanding of your team’s needs, take it back to your leadership team to see if any overarching trends or priorities need to be considered. Then, use this information to define an “ideal state” for your new CRM.

This is a great time to get buy-in from the team and other departments. Get them excited about a better way to work and a single source of truth for data across the organization. 

Get Clear on Goals

Once you know what your team needs, figure out what you want your new CRM to do. Create a list of measurable goals and outcomes for both individual users and the business as a whole.

Ask yourself some questions like:

  • Are we new to CRM or switching from another system?
  • What are our current goals, and how do we measure them?
  • Are there any gaps in our performance management or reporting?
  • Are there problems we want to solve but don’t have the tools for?
  • What reports or insights are most important to us?

Use your team’s feedback, business goals, and answers to these questions to define your top priorities. Then, list must-haves and nice-to-haves for each team or department. Use this to guide what features you need in a CRM.

For example, tech stack compatibility is probably a must-have for your operations team, while unlimited admin support might be nice but not essential. If you had to choose one, you’d go with software compatibility.

Review Your Current Tech and Software

To ensure your new CRM is easy to use and works with your other software, take a look at your current tech stack first. 

Consider which CRMs will play well with the tools you’re already using, and if you’re unsure, reach out to your IT person and ask. 

The best CRM would help declutter your tech stack and provide more streamlined efficiency. It would also smoothly integrate with progams you will still need to use, such as social media tools. 

Some companies choose to use two CRMs. For example, they might use HubSpot for marketing and then move leads to Salesforce when ready for sales.

If you plan to use more than one CRM, ensure your data will sync between the two systems. 

Companies like HubSpot offer integrations that make this possible and keep information flowing smoothly between CRMs.

Costs and How to Measure ROI 

CRMs are an investment, and cost might be a driving factor in choosing for some teams. 

Sticking to a budget is important, so consider the pros and cons of a more expensive vs. less expensive option. Also, consider the long-term value and how a CRM will ultimately impact your company’s bottom line. 

When a CRM helps automate certain processes for your team and staff, they may be more inclined to enjoy their work and stay at your organization. 

A CRM helps your team deliver a great customer experience, which can lead to more sales and growth. When this happens, will the CRM be able to keep up? If you can’t scale or customize it, you may spend more in the long run. 

A more expensive CRM might have a higher upfront cost for a year or two, but when you expand, it can grow with you. This might be a more efficient way to view how the CRM you choose can be sustainable and cheaper in the long run, rather than starting over with a new one every few years. 

Look for CRMs that offer add-ons or full-scale products to support your growing business and manage other aspects of your internal operations.

Outline Your Implementation Plan 

As you move closer to your final purchasing decision, establish an internal plan to guide your new CRM’s setup, launch, and adoption. Here are a few steps to help you get started:

  • Identify internal resources to support the implementation of your new CRM and migrate your data from existing systems.
  • Create a realistic timeline for implementation, configuration, and launch. Build a buffer for QA and testing before you onboard sales, marketing, and service teams onto your new CRM. 
  • Develop an adoption and maintenance strategy to prepare you to handle critical tasks like data migration and team training. Outline a maintenance plan to ensure best practices are in place from day one. 

No matter your unique situation or software requirements, the value of your new CRM should lie in its ability to serve your organization sustainably for years to come. 

Your CRM should also serve as the foundation of your customers’ experience, evolving with you as you grow and refine your offerings to meet the needs of your constantly changing customers. 

If you have questions about switching CRMs or want to know how our team can help you, please contact us. We’re HubSpot certified and ready to help you from implementation to execution. Be sure to check out HubSpot’s guide about how to use a CRM.

Download the full guide as a PDF here.

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