Picking the Best CRM Software

Aperture & Sharpness

What should you be looking for when selecting CRM software?  Well it depends on what is important to you, but let me offer a few tips that may help you in the selection process.  While it seems almost impossible to differentiate one CRM solution from another other than by price, all CRM systems are not alike.  The first thing you need to do is determine what problem you are trying to address.  Most CRM systems address three specific business requirements.

One Central Database of All Customer Information

First is data consolidation. This enables you to capture, track, manage and share vital customer information with the people and departments that require it to efficiently do their jobs.  Previously known as contact management, this functionality is traditionally found in even the most basic CRM systems and is fine for those companies simply looking to get away from managing their business using an Excel spreadsheet.  But what if you need more?

Drive More Business and Close More deals

The next core functionality requirement most businesses have is how to get the telephone to ring more. Most businesses need more leads and may not have a structured sales process in place to ensure that both new leads and the sales cycle are properly managed to closure.  While lower cost CRM systems offer some basic sales management and reporting, you need to consider a mid-market offering that offers the work flow processes for creating marketing campaigns that generate new leads, qualifying or scoring the leads and automating the entire sales process.

Improve Your Customer’s Buying Experience

Lastly, providing world class customer service may be the difference between earning new and recurring business and losing to your competition.  More robust CRM systems offer a customer support application that provides service representatives with access to a complete customer profile. This enables them to react immediately to customer inquiries or complaints. Higher end CRM systems may also include a customer portal that allows the customer to check the status of their order or service ticket or edit their profile right within the CRM system.  This new self-service component provides customers with a better buying experience and gives your business a leg up on the competition.

Choosing a CRM Vendor

So now that you are thinking about your specific business challenges it’s time to start short listing some CRM vendors.  Most CRM companies target a specific market based on the functionality they offer.  The most basic low cost contact management solutions tend to sell to small office or small home businesses, while mid-market CRM providers focus on companies that have greater business requirements.  Enterprise CRM solutions offer scalable platforms that can support hundreds and even thousands of employees and as such tend to focus on this market segment.  So the question you need to ask is where do you fit?

Next, I would take a look at the CRM vendor’s track record. How long have they been in business? How many customers do they have that are similar to your business and what level of customer support do they provide?

While there are dozens of CRM software providers in the industry, one of the most popular CRM systems that appeals to mid-size and small enterprises is Commence CRM.  Commence has been providing CRM software solutions to this segment for more than twenty years and has been rated one of the best CRM software programs based on its robust functionality and attractive price points. Commence CRM is a web based CRM solution that provides online real time access to data from anywhere in the world.  What is also appealing about Commence CRM is that it may be deployed as a cloud based CRM program or implemented on premise.  Commence is ideal for mid-size companies that need a robust online CRM solution at an affordable price point.  For more information about Commence CRM software, visit the company’s web site at Commence.com.

Image “Aperture & Sharpness” by Ross on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

One thought on “Picking the Best CRM Software

  1. Interesting! Picking the best CRM software will rapidly improve the sales team and will begin seeing and reaping the benefits of this innovative technology.

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