#77: I need to switch CRM systems, how do I find the right one?

Office Operations

Here’s a Q&A that I think will be helpful for you, especially if you are at a point in your business where you are adding new programs or services or people and you think that tools that you are using may need to change. The question is: “I need to switch to a new CRM program, how do I find the right one?”

CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management and it’s simply a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships.

I can tell you the wrong way to go about this and that’s to ask your Facebook group, “What do you use and do you like it?”

I’ve found that very few people match my exact needs, business model, budget, time, and level of expertise, so why would I ask others their opinions and then take their word for it? Also, you’ll most likely get 50 different answers. Not Helpful!

Here’s my quick system for finding a new CRM system:

Here’s another Q&A that I think will be helpful for you, especially if you are at a point in your business where you are adding new programs or services or people and you think that the tools that you are using may need to change. The question is, “I need to switch to a new CRM program, how do I find the right one?”

A CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management and it’s simply a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships.

First, I can tell you the wrong way to go about this and that’s to ask in a Facebook group, “What do you use and do you like it?”

As you can guess, I take a very methodical approach when it comes to tech and programs, and anything really when it comes to making decisions for my business. I’ve found that very few people match my exact needs, business model, budget, time, and level of expertise, so why would I ask others their opinions and then copy them? Also, you’re going to get 50 different answers, which isn’t much help.

Here’s my system for finding a new CRM system:

First, determine what information needs to be managed within your business. Answer questions to make decisions around key points:

  • What is the overall purpose of the system?
  • What information needs to be collected – do you just need a name and email address or do you need to collect phone numbers for your sales team or mobile numbers to use texting features?
  • What functions are necessary – does it need to integrate with other programs?
  • What information needs to be tracked?
  • How many people will be using the system? Is it just you or do you have a team of 3 in place?

Second, create a shortlist of options. Research and look for solutions that appear to fulfill your business’s needs. Narrow down the list to no more than 3 or 4 possible choices.

Consulting colleagues and reviewing industry standards are great ways to begin your research but do not rely on recommendations alone. Check the products against your business’s specific needs to ensure it is a good fit.

Take the shortlist of possible solutions and closely compare the solutions to the business’s needs. Using your database / CRM information sheet as a checklist. Check off what the solution can and can’t do for your business.

Narrow down the list to the top 2 choices.

Third, check References.

Talk to 1 or 2 people already using your top 2 choices. If you have colleagues who use the programs, start there. If there is no one who is using those programs, ask your top 2 choices for a list of referrals.

Set up appointments with colleagues and referrals and ask:

  • Why did you choose the database/CRM?
  • What are the 2 or 3 main things the database does for you?
  • I’m really looking to (whatever you determine you need to manage), do you see this as a good solution for me?
  • What do you like about the database or CRM system?
  • What don’t you like?
  • What other tools, databases or automation solutions do you use?

Take notes or record the interviews so you can compare their answers to your notes. Consult any appropriate members of the team who may be able to contribute knowledge and opinions to the decision.

Do you have enough information to make a decision? If so, go ahead and purchase. If not, take advantage of free trials, webinars, demos or speak to a customer service rep at the company. Or contact additional colleagues or references to get your questions answered.

There you have it, my system for switching your CRM system. See you next week with more Systems Sunday!

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