How to Choose a CRM for Your Business

Table of Contents

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a software program that puts all your customer interactions in one space. It’s an intuitive platform that can help you improve customer experience, buying journey, and increase sales – all good things every business needs.

But many questions may arise when thinking of a CRM like: 

How do I know which platform to pick?” or “What CRM types are compatible with my industry?”

Here’s what we’ll cover today so you can understand everything you need about CRM’s:

  1. Defining your goals and objectives
  2. Reviewing your current systems
  3. Creating a list of different CRM options 
  4. Testing user experience and workflow compatibility
  5. Assessing customer support
  6. Evaluating your CRM’s business value

Now, before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s determine whether you need a CRM in the first place. 

Signs You Need a CRM System

Let’s face it, the reason you made your business is to create a life of leisure and freedom… to make time for what you love most! You didn’t start your business to be glued to your computer. And although your business is skyrocketing, you seem to be losing time responding to client intake forms rather than focusing on your zone of genius.

Let me say this bluntly: it’s time to make a shift. Okay, whip out a clean sheet of paper, let’s make a quick checklist to see if a CRM is the right solution for you.

You’re struggling to keep up with new leads

With growth comes a higher level of responsibility. You worked your tail off to get to where you are. No more scouring the internet to find clients – they’re now pouring into your website. However, missed opportunities have been piling up because you just can’t be everywhere at once. After all, you’re only one person. 

With a CRM, clients can be tended to while you take a siesta, lounge around at the beach, or make blue frosted cupcakes with your kids. 

You’re not spending your time growing the business

Don’t fall victim to your own business.

Let me explain.

Your business is like a 3rd-grade class. If you (the teacher) go in on the first day, throw around some fun beach volleyballs, care less about enforcing classroom rules, and toss tootsie-pops at every student, then they’ll be running circles around you. 

On the other hand, if you go in the classroom and set boundaries they’ll respect you.

A business is the same way. You must set boundaries and put systems into place. 

A CRM can help manage these tasks so you can put your head in the game for your clients. 

You’re looking to streamline your systems and improve your customer’s experience

The most effective way to keep existing clients and wow potential ones is to give them an extraordinary experience. From the moment they inquire on your website from the time you deliver your service to them, they should feel like Queen Elizabeth II. 

If those daily tasks have piled up to Eiffel-tower-heights and just never seem to get done, it’s time to consider a CRM. Think about the brain space you’re currently using on little odds and end tasks when you could reserve that for the parts that really make an impact. 

The right CRM will streamline your process to provide you with more mental freedom and ensure an awesome experience for your clients. 

What’s that? You have 3 checks? Okay friend, you’re ready for a CRM. Now… how to choose one. Keep reading to find out.

Ditch the overwhelm. Get expert marketing automation advice for your B2C or B2B business.

6 Steps to Choosing a CRM System

Don’t stress yourself out even more spending hours deciding on which CRM is right for you. Instead, we’ve compiled 6 simple steps you can take from defining your goals all the way to making the right decision. Let’s start with defining your business goals and objectives.

Infographics showing how to choose a customer relationship management (CRM) software in six steps.

 #1 Define your objectives and goals

We’re going to just say this point-blank: a one-size-fits-all CRM doesn’t exist.

With that, you’ll want to think about what issues you’re having specifically. Maybe you’re trying to prospect clients better or automate online transactions. Whatever your current dilemma, write it down and rank it in terms of urgency. What needs to be fixed tomorrow, by the end of the month, and by the end of the year?

Now, identify the problems that will improve customer interactions and free up your time. If chasing down invoices is keeping you from eating dinner with your family, consider using Ontraport. Focused on improving workflow with your sales team? Check out Nutshell.

The point is, write out all your current issues so you know what you’re looking to fix. Then, consider which ones are priorities. 

#2 Review your current systems 

Now that you have a starting point, run through a typical work week. Note what else isn’t working or what is working just fine. 

After, you’ll want to audit your current systems and tools. You don’t want to get caught spending hundreds on Click-Up, Asana, and if they aren’t even working for you, do you? Cancel subscriptions that don’t suit you anymore and note the tools that are essential to your business. This will help you understand whether or not your current systems will integrate easily with a CRM you’re considering. 

If you’re not just a one-man-show and you have a team, ask for their input. What challenges do your sales and marketing teams have that you need to consider? Their feedback is extremely valuable.

Now for the fun part, shopping.

#3 Create a list of CRMs

After compiling all your business data, it’s time to shop for CRM options. 

Spend some time looking into which software your industry is using. As you peruse different sites, keep your list of must-haves in mind. Think about how your current problems could be solved. 

Here’s a snapshot of CRMs by industry to save some of the research time for you:

Note which software features would instantly solve your business bottlenecks, which integrate seamlessly with your current tools, and price points. We’d recommend not spending more than an hour researching. 

Here’s the bottom line → a CRM must fit your business, not the other way around.

#4 Test the user experience and workflow compatibility 

It’s time to take that bad boy for a spin. See how it runs! Ask for a free trial for you and your team. Go through your workweek and see how it fits into your workflow. Essentially, it should fit like a glove and mitigate your business headaches. 

Then, review the trial with your team and see how everyone felt about it. After all, a nice shiny new car looks great but if it doesn’t fit your best friends or get you where you need to go, then what’s the point? 

#5 Assess the customer support

There’s nothing worse than signing up for a new tool only to find their customer support is non-existent. Throughout your trial week, browse their resources, reach out to their customer support and see if you’re happy with what they have to offer on that end. Some platforms even come with training and ongoing support – those are CRMs to keep an eye out for. 

Another element we recommend you think about is scalability. Assuming you’ll want to grow your business, does this CRM software offer an effortless process to do so? Do they offer features that are customizable for your needs? 

Keep these questions in your back pocket as you get ready to pull the trigger. 

#6 Make a decision

After testing a couple of CRMs, it’s time to make your final decision. 

We know, this may not be easy and it might not be perfect, but taking action is the important part. Review this list again and note the essentials:

  • Fixes most of your biggest business issues
  • Has quality customer support
  • Is within your price-point

About the Author

Adriana Stein is an Online Marketing Consultant based in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from the US, she is a native English speaker and specializes in helping companies with their SEO & content marketing strategies, along with graphic design, brand copy and website development.​

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