Okay so you’ve been told you need  Customer Relations Management (CRM) software. You’re probably asking yourself, why? I’ve done business the same way for 100 years, why change now?  How do I choose the best one for my company in a sea of options?  Hopefully I can help answer all those questions you have so that you can make an informed decision moving forward.

A good CRM can help you scale business processes, become more efficient and it’s all done under one common platform used throughout your organization. This helps you take the data and turn it into usable, actionable information that can drive sales and improve your ROI.

As the Business Development Coordinator, I can’t imagine my day to day operations without our CRM (Highrise). I break down our use of CRM into 3 stages.

  1. Sales – The CRM is how I track my leads and move them through my sales funnel. I can assign myself reminders to follow up and close the deal which is really helpful when you are working with many leads ranging from hot to cold. I can also assign them labels which really helps me prioritize and focus on the best ones.
  2. Project Management – Once a sale is made, we create a case which allows us to track the build out and communication throughout the build so that everyone on the team is on the same page. The project manager can assign designers and developers tasks to move the project from start to finish and I can stay up to date on the project.
  3. Retention – After a website is live, I like to schedule reminders to follow up with my clients to see how everything is going with their business. With our line or work, a website is never finished. It can always be improved and this really helps me to reach out and offer suggestions on how we can improve what we have already built and talk through any pain points that we can alleviate. I’m all about building long lasting relationships with clients and the CRM allows me to do just that.

Now that you know how I use a CRM, the next step is to start looking at what’s available. Some of the most popular CRM’s in use today that are worth checking out are:

So how do you choose the best one? A lot of CRM’s will allow you to test drive them so I highly recommend you test the top CRM’s out before committing.

I’ve put together a list of  features you can use to help you compare one CRM to another.

Here’s the breakdown of common features –

  • cost
  • ease of use
  • contract-management features
  • lead-generation tools
  • sales and marketing tools
  • employee-tracking capabilities
  • customization options
  • automation capabilities
  • third-party integration
  • reporting and analytics
  • mobile access
  • customer service

Like any business decision, deciding on which CRM is best for you and your organization really depends on your goals. I can’t tell you what features listed above are most important because it depends on what is important to your business and what you are wanting to accomplish. However, I can tell you that integrating any CRM into your organization is better than not having one at all.

Best of luck!