Running a business seems glamorous and exciting – you are not told what to do; you get to pick who you work with; you get to pick out the look of the office; you get paid the most money; get the best office; get to connect with powerful people. The list of exciting decisions truly never seems to stop; however there are plenty of boring and mundane decisions a business owner has to take into consideration – which HR software to choose; which email marketing software to choose; employee background check hassles, and finally, choosing customer relationship management (CRM) software.
For those who are unfamiliar, CRM software helps a company manage their interactions with customers and clients. The software helps to organize all business processes by making sure every department is in line which the other. Companies use CRM software for many reasons:
- Organize your sales process to help a sales team win over new clients
- Help manage existing client and customer relationships
- Increase communication between departments
- Creates a sales process that can be reproduced and repeated
In other words, this is a crucial business strategy that affects the success of the company; making this software extremely important. Yet for some reason, few business owners look forward to making the decision between software.
Fortunately, the subject does not have to be quite as boring as it sounds. Once you put all the different software options next to one another, it almost becomes somewhat of a game – which software offers the best price along with the best features, which software can do this and which software can do that. However, you must know what you’re looking for before you can begin researching software:
5 Things to Look for in CRM Software
- Real-Time Changes – If your CRM software takes fifteen minutes to update, this could cause a serious problem in communication. A sales team makes phone call quickly, so they need to have their information up-to-date at all times.
- Changes Occur across the Board – A big reason companies use CRM software is to help communication amongst employees as well as help employees keep track of new and existing clients. If someone in sales makes a change on the CRM software, it is important that the finance department can see this change. What if the sales team canceled an order, but the finance department couldn’t see the cancellation? You would then have a headache of a problem on your hands.
- Integration – Chances are that unless you’re a brand new start-up, you use some sort of software or system to manage your customer accounts. Check to make sure that the CRM software you choose can integrate with your current systems. Will you be able to use both systems, or will they clash? Keep in mind, most companies use more than just CRM software to run a company.
- Usability – If you can spare your employees for a few hours, it might be a good idea to have a meeting that lets them use the different software choices. Your employees will be using this software day in and day out, and not all of it is easy to use. Fortunately, many software companies will give you a free trial.
- Customer Service – Ironically enough, you’ll want to make sure your CRM software has a good customer service department. This software can get very involved, so only the technologically savvy may be able to fix any glitches you might find when customizing it to your needs. If you’re a newer or smaller company without an IT department, this will be crucial.
There are tons of websites online that can help you make the right decision on CRM software, but it always helps to know what you’re looking for when checking out different features. The good news: If you’re looking for CRM software you’re likely a smart, business-minded individual, and there is no reason you shouldn’t be picking out software for years to come! Okay, that isn’t so glamorous, but you’re also likely to be the boss for years to come. There we go; that’s better.
About The Guest Author: Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to corporate credit cards. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including business credit card applications to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading B2B Directory, Business.com.