We get asked a lot  to help a business with setting up their CRM or integrate into their existing systems. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is a way of organizing and managing communication with customers. We have had clients come to us with every array of CRM you can imagine, from an Excel sheet all the way to a robust enterprise-level system like Salesforce.com.  I wrote a while back about three of the bigger CRMs, and what their benefits and challenges are, so check it out if you want an enterprise-level comparison.

One problem that is common for many businesses is how to choose a CRM. Or even understanding if they need a CRM to manage their business. So – here are a few tips to decide what type of system will work best for your organization’s needs.

1. You are outgrowing your Excel sheets161225-microsoft-excel-spreadsheet-on-palm-foleo

We had a client come to us with a pretty tough problem. They were tracking their customer’s and sales on Excel spreadsheets. Now – if you are a small startup and don’t have a lot of information yet to track or don’t have a large group of salespeople using the Excel sheet, this isn’t an immediate need for you. But this client had hundreds of sales people using the Excel system and it just wasn’t efficient for them anymore. We went through a few iterations with them to find the perfect fit. We use Salesforce.com at Amadeus and we find it is absolutely worth the monthly price because it fits our needs really well. However, Salesforce is enterprise-level software and has more functionality than our client really needed, so we did some research into other systems like Highrise, and found that initially, that system wasn’t exactly a right-size fit either. However, because we have many systems integrations experts here at Amadeus, we were able to build on to and customize the Highrise platform to work exactly how our client needed.

2. You need complex reporting

A CRM has many benefits, one of which is the amount of data you are storing in it. However, some CRMs are better than others at reporting and analytics and so you should be aware of the differences when choosing. Also – the CRM is only as good at the data you are putting into it, so no matter what you have to be aware that periodic data scrubbing is important. Last point here is that the pre-packaged reports in most CRMs only give you so much information so you might need to work on some customization to get the information that is really important.

3. You want to be able to track sales information and use marketing automation

marketing-automation-infographicA CRM (most of them anyway) is great at tracking your sales contacts and activities, but it can also enable your marketing team to build lead nurturing campaigns. This is really advantageous to have both functions in one application. And, many CRMs integrate really well with other applications in case you ever outgrow the CRMs marketing abilities. For instance, we used to use the Salesforce.com email platform because it was easy and inexpensive. But once we started sending more regular email communications to our audience, it became too much work to use the built-in tool. Fortunately there are a lot of tools in the AppExchange marketplace to choose from which saved us literally hours of work.

Need help integrating our customizing your CRM system? Give us a call today!