It’s 2019, and just having a CRM system alone is not good enough anymore. The CRM system you choose must also have all the features and usability of a modern CRM if you want to get maximum return from your investment of time, effort and money. Yet, spending money you don’t have on a system that’s too complicated and offers features you’ll never use, something often called overengineering, results in a system you’ll likely abandon or find too cumbersome and expensive to continue. That’s why most SMEs prefer a CRM system that only contains the core functions necessary to support their goals and objectives and that’s an easy-to-operate interface that’s user-friendly without all the bells and whistles of a more expensive, complex system with features they’ll never use or find too hard to implement! Balancing the goal of using a right-sized CRM system makes it sound like choosing a CRM is a confusing process. Here is why that isn’t so.
Does choosing a CRM require a degree in rocket science?
No, it doesn’t have to be so complex, and the top providers such as HubSpot and Salesforce realize that fact, as well. Which is why both firms offer a full range of products with an easy-to-use interface, embedded with the core features which are of the most important to their specific clients. Both providers allow easy upgrades to a more full-featured system as your business needs change without losing all the time and effort necessary to set up the system in the first place.
And, there’s lots of help out there for businesses confused over which system is right for their business needs so, if you’re confused choosing between the top two CRM systems, check out this comprehensive HubSpot vs Salesforce comparison by PieSync where they go into the details of not only the features that each service provides but also the pros and cons of those features.
In fact, PieSync plays a huge role in simplifying the CRM experience for companies by enabling two-way syncing between multiple business applications, such as MailChimp, Google Contacts, HubSpot and Salesforce, to name a few.
Core features you need to consider when choosing a CRM system?
It may vary quite a bit depending on the kind of business you operate and the sales system you employ, but, at its core, all CRMs should provide the following features via a simple and intuitive interface. This is not a complete list, but they should be the priority:
Contact management is a core process required in any CRM system, but just because it’s a core process, doesn’t mean that every business has the same needs within contact management. However, here are some of the features of the CRM’s contact management processes you should expect from your CRM system:
- Easy collection, updating, and retrieval of all relevant customer data
- Automatic reminders via syncing the contacts data with the calendar
- Detailed ticket creation for easy service
- Easy syncing of customer data across various departments
- Cloud syncing and mobile device compatibility
Perhaps the most important aspect of a modern CRM system is that it enables the client businesses to utilize the data they collect from their clients and sales efforts. Analyzing this data is the key benefit of a CRM system, as it highlights opportunities and identifies clients who slip through the cracks, allowing management to optimize processes to achieve better performance. Analysis is an ongoing process, and thanks to advances in machine learning, the longer a good CRM system works for your business, the more accurate its analysis, predictions, and guidance will be.
Keep in mind that simplicity doesn’t mean that your CRM should provide incomplete data and poor analysis; instead, it should focus on prioritizing what’s important to your business and presenting the features in a simple and easy to access manner, so that they can be used to further improve your business performance.
Lead management and nurturing
A critical element to consider in choosing a CRM system is how well it handles lead management and nurturing. Not only should your CRM system allow facile contact management, but it must also track contacts as they move down the funnel to becoming customers. By sharing this information across the organization, you optimize the conversion of contacts to customers and ensure their customer journey is seamless, with nary a hiccup in sight.
Even after a contact becomes a customer, your CRM system should monitor their orders to optimize their value over time, something called CLV or customer lifetime value.
Social media integration
While not a deal-breaker, social media integration is something to consider when choosing a CRM system. Increasingly, even in B2B marketing, prospective buyers and customers are on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Integrating your CRM system with your contacts’ social media accounts offers opportunities to engage them on these platforms, which may be preferable to having contact through a salesperson. Also, handling complaints on social media means faster complaint resolution and offers an opportunity to turn negative word-of-mouth into a positive outcome.
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