A system for customer relationship management (CRM) can be incredibly beneficial to any company, regardless of team size or industry. Whether a company is just beginning or scaling quickly, customer data can accumulate quickly because there are many moving parts to a company's relationships with their customers. This includes:
- Demographic/Firmographic information
- Contact information
- Communication history
- Financial/payment details
- Conversations with sales and customer service representatives
- Transactional activity
- Usage information
- Marketing activity such as email click through rate, newsletter subscription signups, etc.
- Social network activity
The software that a company chooses to help them manage this data will depend on how much information they need to manage and what kind of functionality their sales process requires. Comprehensive solutions like Salesforce might be good choices for very large teams that need an enormous amount of data and functionality centralized in one place. On the other end of the spectrum, lightweight and cost-effective tools are particularly good CRMs for startups who need basic features on a small budget.
However, some teams may need a solution that falls somewhere in the middle. A team's CRM search may not be constrained by price or a need for enterprise-level functionality. In this case, they should consider the following when comparing CMRs:
- The level of flexibility and customization that the tool offers
- The option to delegate and track tasks between different team members
- The ability for the software to scale with the company as it grows in team members and customers
- The level of detail in building lead relationships and customer profiles
Not all companies will need tools with robust solutions in every category of customer relationship management. Each will have different priorities.
The best way for a team to compare and select a CRM solution when they're not restrained by budget or a need for enterprise functionality is to determine beforehand exactly what they want to accomplish with their CRM. Then they should figure out who on their team will be using the tool, and in what capacity. No software tool will be useful without goals to work towards and the structure to achieve those goals.
On the other hand, a defined set of goals, a clear and transparent structure, and the corresponding software that supports this work will help a team build and maintain better customer relationships and boost user retention.
Perspectives on Other CRM Solutions
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