You’ve decided that your business needs a CRM (customer relationship management software). That’s the easy part. Now you have to select a CRM from a wide variety of choices. In our experience, every business owner you ask has a solid recommendation for a CRM - but the answer is not consistent. The reason is that, depending on the functionality, features, user interface, and ease of use, a company’s favorite CRM tool will be different.
Here’s how to select a CRM that’s just right for your business:
What features does your CRM need? If you are unsure, you’ll need to do some research on the more popular tools and see what they offer. From examining the list of features, you’ll be able to make a determination on what’s important for your business and dismiss those features you aren’t going to use. This will also help you do a comparison of the various options, so keep track of which tools offers the functionality you need.
Each CRM is going to have a cost and they don’t necessarily align. Since each offering has different functionality and features, the costs of running and maintaining it will vary. You can find CRM tools that are free (avoid these as they tend to not have a way to export your data when you are ready to upgrade to a paid option), while many others cost a monthly fee. There are a handful of options that ask for you to pay for the software upfront (typically a higher cost initially) but these are starting to fade away in lieu of options with monthly subscriptions.
What is your budget? What can you afford to allocate towards a CRM system and can you build the cost into your overhead?
The next consideration is the time and energy it will cost to set-up your CRM. Because of the advanced functionality of many of these systems, it often takes quite a bit of time initially to figure out the software, import your date and get everything set-up the way you’d like it to run. This can be tough for business owners that are already overwhelmed with work. If you have the time to build your database, great. If not, you may need to budget in a few hundred dollars to hire an expert of that CRM platform to do the set-up for you.
It takes energy, time and money to invest in a CRM for your business, but once it’s going you’ll find that the tool is invaluable.
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