For businesses both large and small, the practice of tracking customers through piles of paper and Excel spreadsheets is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems make it possible to not only record key customer information such as addresses and phone numbers, but also to track correspondence, sales pipeline data, and financial metrics. A good CRM system goes even further as it enables companies to design and deliver targeted marketing campaigns and to generate a meaningful cost-benefit analysis for each initiative.
As more and more businesses have realized the benefits of CRM systems, vendors have flooded the market with products designed to expand on traditional methods of customer tracking and marketing campaigns. CRM systems have become so widespread that providers have entered niche markets with software designed for specific industries or based on company size. Hundreds of options can seem overwhelming and make it difficult to pick the right solution. Use these strategies to help you find the CRM software that is best for your business.
A great way to narrow your search for the best CRM software is making use of online reviews. Several reputable business publications release impartial reviews of CRM systems and typically provide extensive additional information. For example, Business News Daily is a website focused on providing help and solutions for small businesses. The site’s reviews include pros and cons for some of the most popular CRM systems along with an exhaustive list of CRM software vendors. If you’re starting from the very beginning, review sites that aggregate and compare several systems will save time and make you aware of options you might not have found on your own.
CRM Industry Conferences
Many popular CRM software companies such as Salesforce, SAP and WorkWise sponsor conferences for their current users and businesses looking to purchase CRM systems. Held all over the world, these conferences cover other valuable business tools and strategies while highlighting the strengths of their proprietary products. An added feature of conference attendance is access to experts in the CRM and marketing fields who use test cases to help leverage the system you choose for the most benefit.
Network with CRM Experts and Colleagues
Networking groups are an excellent source of information when it comes to choosing the best CRM software for your company. Whether you belong to groups based on the size of your business or your specific industry, learning from others who have successfully implemented CRM systems is a great way to research the vast number of options. Many vendors are skilled at selling you on certain features of their products, but there’s no better resource than someone who’s actually put those features into action to recommend or endorse a particular product. Business colleagues who have gone through the search process themselves are much more likely to point out limitations and pitfalls of certain systems along with their advantages.
When taken together, these strategies will help you diligently conduct research while also narrowing the field of CRM systems that are best suited to your company. A CRM system can be a big investment, and the process of choosing the right one can be key to its success.