The four-step process to finding a CRM solution that works

by Steli Efti
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Bad CRMs. You know the type: clunky interface, obsolete features, massively user-unfriendly, too technical for your sales team, the list goes on...

Either you’ve heard the horror stories or you know from experience—maybe you’re stuck with a bad CRM right now. Frankly, it’s an awful situation for any sales team.

So how do you ensure that your next buy is legit, especially after a painful experience with another CRM?

We get it—picking a CRM solution is not as easy as it might seem at first. Not only do you need to make sure that the purchase is worth your investment, but also ensure that it ties closely to your requirements.

So let’s put you out of your misery and share a four-step process that will help you find the right CRM solution for your business.

Step 1: Talk to your sales teams about their needs

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Imagine you’re planning a trip with friends, and everyone has a different spot in mind—one wants a beach vacay, another wants to retreat to the mountains, one is set on backpacking...

It gets chaotic after a while, so you consult a travel agent. She proposes a “fantastic” destination (maybe one that gets her a good commission) and convinces you to trust her itinerary. But once you get there, nobody ends up getting what they want. Successful trip? Not really.

Buying a CRM can take a similar path. With so many decision makers and voices in the mix, picking a solution that satisfies everybody may seem impossible.

Many CRM providers want you to accommodate their software in your sales process, even if it’s not a natural fit. Despite knowing this, most businesses give in and end up with a solution that really wasn’t designed to meet their needs. And just like a trip that doesn’t match everybody’s expectations, this approach backfires real quick too.

So what’s the solution?

Talking to your sales team is the best way forward—that way you can analyze their needs and challenges before investing in a solution. They’re the ones using the CRM; they don’t need to be bogged down by complexity.

Is your sales team cold calling a lot of prospects? Then a CRM with a build-in predictive dialer could drastically improve their sales productivity.

Are you running a door-to-door sales team that’s always on the road and doesn’t carry a laptop around? Then a CRM with a full-featured mobile app is crucial. (Warning: Close would not be a good choice for this use case!)

Do they send a lot of emails to follow up with prospects? Then a CRM solution with email automation features could be a huge time-saver.

It’s also critical at this stage to have a well-defined sales process. By having one ready, you’ll be able to envision the touch points the customers will have with your sales reps, the unique challenges that would come across and how the CRM can help them with these challenges.

Bottom line: The CRM you pick should support your sales reps, the people who will be using it most.

Step 2: Understand your existing tech stack

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Tech stacks are essential for any sales team—you’ve probably got a list of go-to sales tools.

But here’s the most common mistake that sales teams make: They invest in a ton of tools without fully understanding what each tool can do and how they all work together.

This often results in a mish-mash of information, poor data recording, mismanaged workflows—all of which negatively impact your team’s ability to close.

That’s why understanding your tech stack and how it integrates with the CRM is essential. Before you go any further, let’s share why that matters:

  • With a proper integration in place, sales teams are able to clearly see how their efforts are converting—they can focus on metrics that matter and invest in improving the ones that aren’t converting as much.
  • Sales CRM that integrate well with marketing tools allow the sales team to evaluate leads and focus on the most important ones.
  • Integrations allow for better analysis and reporting, superior communication flow as well as better sales prospecting. Close.com offers one-click integration links that make it easy to gather information from other sources.

Step 3: Study & analyze online reviews for tools

What’s the first thing you do before buying the latest tech tool?

You look at reviews.

That’s the same mindset you should have when shopping for CRM software for your business. Here are a few ways you can seek outside opinions about the CRM you’re evaluating:

  • Speak with peers in your industry
  • Poll your Twitter followers
  • Check out reviews and ratings on sites such as G2 and Capterra

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  • Start a conversation about the product on LinkedIn
  • Keep an eye on popular subreddits such as r/CRM
  • Ask about the product in tech-focused Facebook groups

Reviews and ratings can tell you a lot about a product’s efficiency and it is always advisable to include them as a part of the overall research process. Close, for example, has been rated as a high performer for 2019 by G2.

Step 4: Analyze at least three different options

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To ensure that you are actually making a sound purchase (and one you won’t regret) it’s best to take the time to review at least three different CRM solutions and decide which of them is best for your business.

Following this step will help you a great deal because it will not only help you narrow down the best-suited tool for your business, but also help you pick the one that matches your requirements the best.

The CRM space is crowded with hundreds of options for you to choose from, but the truth is that not every CRM tool is meant to be a solution for you. For example, if you are in inside sales you may use Close but if you're a door-to-door sales pro; another solution might be a better or more tailored fit for your business.

Conclusion

13% of companies say that investing in a CRM tool remains their top priority in 2019. If your business is thinking of integrating CRMs in your sales process there’s some good news for you: Companies who have invested in a CRM have reported sales increases of up to 29 percent, productivity increases of up to 34 percent, and improvements in sales forecast accuracy of 42 percent.

That’s massive for any business, but one that depends on making a prudent CRM choice at the beginning.

So go ahead and talk to your sales reps, gather insights, look at reviews, match it with your tech stack and compare options. That’s your recipe for finding a sales CRM solution that will work for your business.

Looking for a cloud-based, affordable, easy to learn CRM that comes with straight-forward pricing?

TRY CLOSE