Choosing the right tools for your team is often the difference between optimized returns and diminished ones. The best example of this is your customer relationship management software (CRM). CRMs help you organize your sales and marketing team's information around your current customers, leads, audiences, and key industry trends. This piece of software is critical to maintaining the smooth relationship between not only marketing and sales but also your company as a whole.
But finding the right CRM is critical. If your CRM is unreliable or difficult to use, your sales and marketing teams will probably be disorganized and mismanaged as well. Because of this, it's critical you understand how to pick out one that is the perfect fit for your organization's unique needs. Here are three steps you can take to make sure you choose the right CRM the first time:
Have Specific Requirements
Knowing what you want is the first step to purchasing a CRM that meets your needs. So when you're picking out one, explore in-depth what your company needs to thrive.
The biggest mistake that we often see is marketing managers and executives trying to determine their needs on their own. Instead, take time to talk to team leaders that will be interacting with the new software, then ask them what they need. Have conversations with your sales and marketing employees on all levels. Listen to them. There may be a problem that everyone has adjusted to, that if fixed, could make a huge difference.
Determine Your Organization’s Needs
There's no way around it: If people don't use the CRM, it doesn't matter if it's the best in the world - it's useless. Prioritize picking the software that your teams will be comfortable using, instead of the software that has the most capabilities.
A major factor in whether or not your teams use the software will come down to how technically savvy their members are. You don't need to quiz each employee or anything so confrontational as that. But you should ask your managers to observe how they are with new technology.
Is there a lot of pushback in situations where a free online solution may be better? Do many people prefer to use sticky notes rather than online files? Do they prefer iPhones over Android smartphones?
If you aren't sure, ask a few CRM providers that you like to demo their offerings to at least one of the groups. During this demo, watch the faces of the people in the group to get an accurate feel of whether or not the software would overwhelm them.
Provide Training And Support
No matter how comfortable your employees are with new software, you should still offer individual training, ongoing technical support, and periodic retraining classes.
But one thing you must accept is that some employees will be resistant to the new software, even if they understand how to use it. People hate change and will resist new things no matter what.
For sales, introducing a CRM may feel like their putting all of their hard-won data into a shared database and that they're giving away their commissions or allowing slackers to thrive.
For marketing, introducing a CRM may make them feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data they work with every day, and worry that reporting it all will take up more time than it's worth.
So don't assume that everyone will start using the software diligently the day after initial training. It may take days, or even weeks, for management to convince everyone to use the new CRM as they should, which means some may forget things over time, for a reason they'll be afraid to admit.
Training and re-training sessions serve not only to make sure everyone does know how to use the software you've invested in, but also that it does matter that they use it.
Last Word— Make Sure It Fits Your Needs
Follow the three steps above, and you'll choose a CRM that fits your exact needs. Make sure this tool is user-friendly. Determine what your users want. And provide as much training and support as possible.
Also, get buy-in from senior management. If it's important to them, it will be important to your employees, and it will get used. Even the best CRM is no good if it's not used.
Your CRM is an integral tool for organizing your brand and it’s outreach to audiences. But it’s only as powerful as your employees make it. So make sure you invite everyone who will be using the software to be a part of its selection and listen to even the most junior-level employees' observations and concerns about processes, and how they can be improved.
Your CRM organizes relationships, but your people create them. Never forget that!