15 Questions to Ask When Looking for a CRM

CRM systemHaving a great customer relationship management (CRM) system is crucial for any company that wants to organize and synchronize its sales, marketing, customer service and technical support. More importantly, it’s beneficial to find a CRM company that understands the way you interact with current customers and how you want to reach prospective customers. When looking for an effective CRM, here are 15 questions to ask prospective companies before investing in one of their systems.

1.    Is the system web-based or desktop software?
Web-based CRMs will allow your sales team to work in the system from anywhere – a huge advantage for today’s “on the go” sales professionals. System updates are typically made by the CRM company. This is easier for most companies; however, it can pose some limitations for businesses with custom requirements. Software-based systems are best for companies with custom requirements. These can be more expensive initially, but they are easier to customize and run in your environment. Ask the right questions so that you set proper expectations for any ongoing maintenance in addition to set-up and installation.

2.    What email platforms are compatible?
What you want to determine here is whether the system sends email in bulk or individually through your email service, its email service or a third party service. Email marketing is challenging, so make sure the CRM company is cognizant of spam compliances and able to integrate with email providers.

3.    Can you email out and receive responses within the program?
In addition to the answer above related to email platforms, make sure that the system will log correspondence and communication with contacts. Does it only track your communication with contacts, or will it also track their responses to your sales team?

4.    How are leads entered into the system? Can you scan registrations and auto-populate, or are they entered individually?
Ultimately, look for a system that will allow for the least amount of manual data entry,  to save your team valuable time and minimize human error.

5.    Does the system have tools or prompts like built-in action plans and integrated email marketing to help with effective, scheduled lead follow-up?
The CRM should be a tool to help your sales team by reminding them about following-up with leads and should help organize your team’s effort so that they never miss an opportunity to touch base with a lead. Is the information in the system useful for your sales and marketing team? Your CRM should help you gather, organize, and disseminate information. Information should be easy to record, store, find and share.

6.    Is there a customizable sales process?
Each business has their own unique approach to sales. Your CRM needs to be able to adapt to the specific business needs of your organization. Ideally, the system should be flexible enough to handle all processes. At the beginning, it’s important to know what changes can be made to the system and if there are any procedural changes your company may need to discuss prior to using this software.

7.    Explain the marketing campaign capabilities.
Look for a CRM that is good at implementation and tracking. Be sure to look at what measures are tracked to improve campaigns and make sure they are effective.

8.    Can the system interact with our website? Social media feeds? Is it mobile friendly?
The more integration the system has with your website and other sources (accounting software, online web portals, phone system, email marketing software and more), the better that system will be as a tool for your sales team. In today’s mobile environment, with sales professionals constantly on the go, your CRM should be mobile or it may not work for your team.

9.    Can you track a lead’s progress through the buying process including website usage and preferences?
It’s important to be able to track a lead through the entire buying process so that you can improve your program. If you are unable to track a lead, it will be very difficult for your company to identify where customers are getting lost (so that you can correct it).

10.    What types of reports can be generated?
Reports are important to understand how your company can do better, and which leads need more attention. The CRM system should have a full array of reports with information on your leads and prospects.

11.    Is the reporting flexible? If we need specific reports do we have the ability to create them?
You need to know whether or not you will be able to get the types of reports you want and whether or not you will have to pay extra for your company’s custom reports.

12.    What digital storage capabilities are there? Can contracts and supporting documentation be uploaded to the system?
The more your CRM is able to do, the better off you will be, but make sure you consider best practices in everything you do. Just because a CRM system may do contract management doesn’t mean it’s the best system to use for that purpose. So, find the best solution for your company. It’s always a good idea to have someone familiar with your applications and business to help decide what’s best.

13.    Can you track media expenses for analysis?
You should have a way to track every sales and marketing activity you do. That way, you can see where your leads are coming from and how to increase and strengthen leads.

14.    What type of training do you offer?
On-line, in person, on-going, additional support, costs, etc. The CRM company shouldn’t just give you the system and leave you hanging. Instead, find out if they will keep your team current and train them to maintain the system effectively. The training available varies widely from vendor to vendor; find out what training is offered at the onset or implementation of your CRM system and what on-going education, training and resources are available to you.

15.    How does your CRM system differ from others?
Last but not least, make sure the CRM you select knows their core competencies and they match your needs. Understand that the system will not handle 100 percent of your requirements, but find one that best matches your needs. Also, know the value and importance of what items you can customize and the importance of those items to your company.

For more information on CRM systems, be sure to contact Marketing Relevance today or call us at 847-259-7312.