By Lucy Crossland on Fri 08 July 2022 in CRM
Choosing and implementing a CRM system takes time and consideration, and when there are hundreds of options to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to start. Whether you’ve used a CRM before, or are looking to build the right tech stack for your business from scratch, here are some key considerations that’ll help you save time, and critically, help you make the right choice.
Choosing the right CRM system
Whether you currently have a CRM system in place, or something slightly different (like you’re using spreadsheets), weigh up the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take some time to be honest about what’s working well with the current system/process, and more importantly, what’s missing that’s resulted in you looking for a change. Make a list of your must-have features, or if that’s too tricky, jot down what results you expect to see from a new CRM system. It’s likely that as you speak to CRM software vendors throughout your search, they’ll want to know what you like and dislike about your current setup, so they can tailor the demo and follow up accordingly.
Evaluate the pros & cons of your current CRM system
Consider your current business challenges
Think about the problems that you’re currently facing as a business. Is it related to customer service, efficiency, growth, or something else? Let’s say you sell coffee to coffee shops, and one of your main challenges is being able to offer great customer service to every customer and retain customers long-term. You’d want to shortlist CRMs that can let you log issues like a late delivery to a new customer, alert you when a regular customer hasn’t placed their weekly order of coffee beans, and automatically identify your advocates so you can generate 5* customer reviews and upsell new product lines. Facing up to the challenges you’re incurring right now and knowing the areas where you need to improve are essential in finding a great CRM and implementing it in the right way.
Take advantage of free trials, demos & walkthroughs
It goes without saying that in order to properly evaluate a CRM system (or any bit of software for that matter!) you need to take a free trial and book in those demos. Most software providers offer free trials, and many have pre-recorded walkthrough videos or live 1-1 demos you can book onto at a time that suits. No matter what the subscription terms are like, it’s vital you trial a system before committing. Plus, many CRM software vendors let you turn your free trial into your live system once the trial has ended, meaning anything you’ve configured in the trial doesn’t go to waste. So, think of the trial as part of the implementation process!
Read public CRM reviews
Aside from taking a free trial and getting a demo, a great way to get a further insight into how real businesses like yours are using and rating software is by reading reviews from current users. Gartner's latest report on CRM Software Trends in 2022 analysed how reviews from current software users impact the decisions of potential buyers. More than two-thirds of respondents said reviews from industry peers are a valuable part of their decision-making process, with B2B buyers looking out for recent and high-quality reviews.
Top tip: rather than rifling through thousands of results, make use of the filters. Whether it’s price, industry, star rating or something else, you can even compare different systems side-by-side using websites like G2.
If you’re already using an Inventory Management system and/or an Accounting system, heading to that system’s marketplace is a great way of shortlisting CRM contenders. Take the Xero App Store for example – it features a list of different CRM systems and their ratings based on real customer reviews. So, if you’re already using Xero, you know there’ll be some integration capabilities with the CRMs they list. Again, this list can even be filtered by industry to evaluate which CRM systems are best suited to what you’re selling.
Successful onboarding & adoption
Set SMART goals
Once you’ve chosen a CRM system that aligns with the needs of your business, it’s important to set some SMART goals. But a great CRM vendor should work with you on setting these as part of the onboarding process. By setting these objectives, you can track progress against your goals with the vendor, and make sure you’re consciously working towards these goals as a team.
Create a training plan
A plan for how you’re going to onboard staff and adopt the CRM is crucial for long-term success with your new system. There are many reasons why you should consider the vendor’s tried and tested onboarding programmes, but make sure they offer value – here are 4 signs of a great software onboarding package to look out for as part of your CRM search. Ultimately, it’s in the vendor’s interest for the CRM to stick and for the team to use it day in, day out, so work with them and their onboarding plan to give you the best chance of a great implementation.
Want a great CRM, built to grow your B2B product business? Prospect CRM is consistently rated the #1 Stock-Aware CRM for B2B Wholesalers, Distributors & Manufacturers. With a mixture of step-by-step guidance from our expert team, help docs, and a free Academy site, your business can look forward to a successful CRM implementation. Try Prospect CRM for free or request a demo now.