Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be a powerful tool for reaching new clients but finding the right option can be a daunting task.
Well-known offerings like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are expensive but come with robust automation and potent tools for crunching customer data.
Others, like Zoho or start-ups like Insightly, cost less than more feature-rich services.
The bottom line: There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right software depends on a businesses’ size and needs.
Here are four factors to consider when adding CRM software to a sales and marketing program.
1. Is the price right?
Take a look at your marketing budget before committing to any CRM software. The well-known options can be pricy.
Salesforce, perhaps the best known and most popular CRM system, has plans that cost up to $300 per user per year.
That price might be worth it for your agency if one staff person can dig deep into targeting specific groups of clients. But to get the most out of CRM, your entire staff should be involved in reaching out to potential clients and sharing information.
The power of a CRM system comes from sharing data and impressions of customers, without the need for confusing spreadsheets, email chains or meetings. If you are paying $50 per month to have your entire five-person agency use a CRM system, you will likely make the most out of your investment
In contrast, Zoho CRM is free for up to three users.
2. Is your agency growing?
By facilitating the sharing of data across a company, a CRM can help streamline the process of organizing a growing agency.
It can’t hurt to have a variety of customer data available to ICs or new hires who can reach out to leads with detailed information.
Marketing can also be streamlined. Send a similar email to members of the same church, for example, or pitch a last minute cruise deal to families a few days before spring break. Your staff will be able to ascertain which customers received which emails or direct mail pieces and can proceed accordingly.
3. How detailed is your customer data?
A detailed database is essential to any company’s sales efforts. The more information you have on potential leads, the more directly you can sell them with personality and nuance.
The most expensive CRM software is useless if the data it’s using is dated or scattershot. If you aren’t currently using a CRM solution, take care to shore up your customer database and ensure that you have detailed information entered in a uniform manner.
Good data helps target the right customers and communicates with them more effectively.
4. What are your goals?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for CRM so a good deal of research is needed to examine how particular systems fit your growth goals.
If you generate strong business in social media, consider a smaller service like Nimble that integrates social media marketing.
If you need a service that will link to your existing contacts in Outlook, Microsoft Dynamics may be the best choice.
Choosing a system designed to help you realize your goals, will enhance your sales staffs’ efforts and streamline communication throughout your business.