Yesterday I shared the secret tool that helps my business grow and keeps me connected to important followups.
As a result, I received an overwhelming amount of questions from people asking me what CRM (Customer/Client Relationship Management) tool I use and how to pick one.
Finding the right CRM software/system — like many purchases we make for our business — is not always simple and I’m sure that I can’t solve this question in one blog post. However, today I’m sharing some things to consider when choosing your CRM.
Things to Consider When Picking a CRM
As you look through this list, identify the items that are important to you. Then, as you are shopping, compare your list to the features available in the tool you are investigating.
1 – On the Cloud or Self-Hosted
Do you want to be able to install the CRM system onto your own servers (self-hosted) and maintain it yourself or do you want the CRM system to be “on the cloud” (internet based) where you do not have to worry about software maintenance?
2 – Contact Entry
Easy entry of a new contacts:
- uploading or downloading multiple contacts
- single entry from my mobile phone, online or via my email
- integration with social media (e.g. all LinkedIn contacts are automatically in the CRM)
3 – List Management/Tagging
Grouping various contacts into segmented lists for easy retrieval and communication. Unlimited tagging or grouping of contacts for easy sorting so that one contact could be on multiple lists. (e.g. tags: client, female business owner, coach, speaker, loves dogs, attended X event, connected on Twitter, comments on my blog)
4 – Contact Management
All of the contact information that you want is in one place – emails, faxes, appts, tasks, file attachments. We live in a fast-paced business world and need to be able to access our client’s information quickly. In addition, some CRM systems will let you save company websites, maps, social media connection information and relations to other contacts.
5 – Notes
There is plenty of room for keeping date based notes. If the system is really great, the notes would import templates you can fill in to make note taking faster.
6 – Task Management
Date and Time based task lists with daily agenda and tasks viewable in the office or on the road.
7 – Marketing Automation
Tag triggered automatic follow-ups with customers or internal tasks. Meaning that when you set a tag for someone in your CRM, the system automatically triggers some actions to take place that you have defined. (e.g. New Client welcome series. You tag as ‘client’ and the system sets an autoresponder series in motion welcoming your new client to the family.)
8 – Email Management
Robust email tools and deliver-ability assurance programs with advanced auto-responders.
9 – Sales Team Coordination
Automatic tracking and distribution of leads and automation of tasks as assigned.
10 – iPhone/mobile application
Ability to access AND update data via your smart phone in an app. vs accessing the web version on the smart phone.
11 – eCommerce
Smooth integration with your eCommerce system so that you know the purchase history of each of your contacts. Even better, the CRM has a shopping cart and offline ordering integrated.
12 – Billing and Accounting
Smooth integration of sales and accounting reports with your accounting system or even automated billing.
13 – Integration with Outlook/Gmail
Provide an easy way for information / communication created in Outlook/Gmail to be incorporated into the CRM system with out manual entry of communication.
14 – Please comment below to help grow this list!
I don’t claim to have used all of the CRM software out there, but I have tried quite few. They all have different pros and cons. Identifying the features that mean the most for you is critical. What items would you add to the list?
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