Do anything business-related online and you’re likely to see ads for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps. What are these handy programs? Does your business need one?Gone are the days of the desktop Rolodex. Going are the days of the Excel-fueled database. What’s on the horizon? Customer Relationship Management software, known to its friends as just plain CRM.What do CRMs do?
Today’s CRM can be cloud-based or stored on a local computer. It begins where the vanilla spreadsheet or database leaves off. Not only does it keep track of the vital details of clients and customers, it can also keep track of suppliers, inventory, and a host of other things.Of course, not every CRM will have the same features. But here’s a representative sample of some of the bells and whistles on popular offerings:
Manages customers and potential customers
Tracks orders, inventory data, and customer complaints
Reports and forecasts sales and revenue
Monitors the effectiveness of sales, service, and marketing
Sends reminders for project deadlines and client interactions
Interfaces with accounting, shipping, productivity apps, and other common software
Integrates or monitors your business’s social media
That’s a pretty impressive list, but it begs one other question:
What Can CRMs Do for You?
The right CRM can lead to better sales, greater efficiency, and a general sense of “My, aren’t I organized!” Notice, though, these are the side effects of the right CRM app. Choose an app that’s too complicated to set up, too hard to use, or that has features that don’t match your needs, and it’s a different ballgame. In that case, look for confusion, frustration, and general non-usage.
How to Choose the Right CRM for Your Business
If you look at the best-loved CRMs—SugarCRM, Insightly, Nimble, Zoho, Salesforce.com, and ACT! are good examples—you’ll notice that the difference is not in the fundamentals. A CRM manages contacts across various stages in their journey as your customer, supplier, etc. The difference is in the details, but these details can make or break the product.So, if you’re considering adopting a CRM, consider these points:
How many people will use it? An enterprise-level CRM might be too cumbersome for a smaller business.
How much will it cost? For the very smallest businesses, some CRMs offer a free basic membership. Others are billed as a one-time fee, on a recurring subscription basis, or by the number of users.
Do I need onsite or cloud-based? If you have people accessing your CRM remotely, cloud-based is far more convenient.
Which features will I use? Pretty self-explanatory. Be practical, and don’t succumb to the siren song of more. More features can simply mean more confusion.
At Techsperts, we know that setting up your business software can be tricky, so we’re here for you. Read our blog for ideas, or give us a call anytime if you have questions! Featured image credit: 123rf.com