What is Client Management software?
Customer or Client Relationship Management (CRM) software helps organizations collect, organize, manage and access existing and a potential client or customer interactions in order to streamline the sales process. However, CRMs aren’t all the same anymore. The best CRMs have morphed into something much more than the definition above.
Before we look at tips to choose the best CRM software, let’s take a look at some of the features that make CRMs more effective than others.
Features of an effective CRM
More user-friendly and intuitive interfaces with the option to customize help with adoption and minimizes errors caused by users.
The ability to track your sales funnel and pipeline and manage them from one platform allows for better analysis and sales forecasting.
Attaching documents and storing them with the appropriate records help streamline workflows very effectively.
- Dashboard views
Visual overviews of your sales pipeline will help you understand what is working and what needs improvement.
The most effective CRMs have a mobile app as well as desktop options to capture and access customer information anywhere.
- Social media integration
With the ability to interact with potential customers on social media straight from your CRM, you’ll increase your reach significantly.
Your CRM would not be fully effective if it didn’t keep your clients’ information safe and secure.
These features are important for an effective CRM, but there are more attributes to consider when determining which CRM is best for your small business. Take a look at the tips below to help you choose the best client management software for your small business.
Tip #1 Gain full understanding of CRMs in general
Knowing how CRMs work is the first step to doing your research to determine which one will work best for your organization. By gaining a full understanding of the benefits of implementing a CRM and how they work to your advantage, you’ll understand why it is so important to your business. If you are able to learn the ins and outs of CRMs, you’ll also be able to help your employees adopt the technology with less effort.
Tip #2 Gather business requirements to understand your needs
Document any and all requirements you or your employees have for their new CRM. At this stage, it doesn’t matter if it’s a feature that is available on all CRMs or if they are available on any CRMs at all. It is a quick and dirty draft of your ideal CRM solution. Gathering these business requirements will help you determine the kind of CRM and features that suit your specific business.
Tip #3 Determine which CRMs would work for you
After gaining a general understanding of CRMs and determining exactly what your particular business needs in a CRM, it’s time to research what kinds of CRMs are available and cross-references their features. The type of CRM may depend largely on the products or services you provide and whether you need sales, marketing and/or support. Researching what is available will narrow down your results based on what you have already determined.
Tip #4 Decide on cloud-based or on-premise
Another question you’ll want to ask yourself is whether it would be more beneficial to implement a cloud-based or an on-premise software solution. A cloud-based solution will be less expensive to implement upfront since it does not require the hardware necessary for an on-site solution, but an online connection will always be necessary and subscription costs will need to be considered. On-premise solutions give you complete control over the CRM and its integrations, but the upfront expenses are often cost-prohibitive for small businesses. Choosing a flexible solution that allows your business to grow is a good option.
Tip #5 Compare finalists
Now that you’ve determined which CRMs will meet your specific needs, it’s time to compare the finalists. Since your list of contenders should be drastically reduced with all of your research, it will be much easier to choose which solution is right for your business. Ensuring your final choice has the features of an effective CRM mentioned above will help you as well.
Tip #6 Compare costs
Finally, if you are down to your final selections that all include your requirements, but you still haven’t decided, take a look at the cost. Small businesses don’t tend to have the budget for software that larger corporations do. However, if it’s your first consideration, you may not meet your own business requirements. Making it your final step will ensure the solution you choose is cost-effective as well as being the right solution for you.
Once you have chosen the perfect CRM for your small business, it’s time to implement it and get everyone on board with using it. Treating your CRM implementation like a marketing campaign can help. Make your employees aware of the benefits of the software. Knowledge of how it will benefit them can lead to a desire to use it. Once they have the desire, you have “sold” them on it and they may become champions for its use by other employees. Other factors that can help with the adoption of new software includes training them on how to use it and all of the features within it. Finally, provide them with the information they need to get support if there are any questions or issues. These will help you get your employees on board and allow you to reduce your time spent on it to periodic check-ins to see if they are using it correctly and if they have any questions.
A good example of an effective CRM is Agile CRM by 500 Apps, which meets the criteria listed above. It is a cloud-based solution that can help your small business meet your sales and marketing goals. The all-in-one CRM can automate your sales, marketing, and support in one cost-effective platform enabling small businesses to function like the Fortune 500.
If you are in the market for a new client management software and don’t know where to start, these tips will help you get started and, more importantly, help you find the best CRM for your small business. CRMs have come a long way from their humble beginnings as a customer contact database. Doing your research in advance will help ensure you are getting the best client management software for your money. If you would like to see if Agile CRM is the right solution for your small business, give it a try for free for 30 days.