Choosing a CRM is like choosing a car

Choosing a CRM should feel like a positive experience

We know choosing a CRM that will work for you can often feel very overwhelming. You have decided you are going to get a CRM for your business but when you first google CRM for business you quickly become hit with lists and links that tell you of the hundreds of CRMs that are out there. But which one should you choose?

What type of CRM are you after?

A great way to think about CRMs is like the steps you would take to buy a car. If you’ve never had to buy a car there are a number of choices you need to make even before you start researching such as:

  • How big do you need the car to be?
    • What size of car do you need?
    • How many people does it need to fit?
    • Does it have capacity to be bigger if you need it?
  • How often will you drive your car?
  • Is there a brand / model you already know about that you like?
  • What will you use the car for?
  • Do you have a perference for any specific features?
  • How much money do you have to spend on a car?

These questions also apply to CRM. Work through the questions above and replace car with CRM. This should already help you think differently about what you are looking for.

How to research a CRM

Take these questions above and prioritise them. Your budget will be important to selection so keep that in mind as you start your search. You may want to set a monthly and yearly amount. Many CRMs will give you a discount for purchasing the CRM for a year so look out for discounts you can take advantage of.

Below is a list of some CRMs available – this is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these appear in many top CRM lists.

When you first go onto a CRM site it’s helpful to check the pricing page. Check your budget is aligned with the CRM’s pricing. This will save you time when you can assess the budget upfront and check you are in the right ballpark.

The other key things is what you will use your CRM for. Some elements you can look out for are the following:

  • How many people will need access to your CRM?
  • What other systems do you want your CRM to link to?
  • What will you use the CRM for –
    • Lead generation
    • Email marketing
    • Data management
    • Client retention

You should examine what is included under each pricing level as this will guide you about what is included at what levels. Refer back to your list of needs and this will help you to work out which option you need.

Think of the type of car you really need. If you have a family you’re more likely going to get a sedan or wagon rather than a sports car. Do you need a car or do you actually need a van or a truck?

Who will drive your vehicle? You’ll most likely need car insurance – will you need to add drivers in future to your policy? That will change the cost, but some packages may allow you to add drivers at no extra charge.

When free is not always free

A caveat to choosing a CRM like choosing a car is you don’t get much for free. Yes, you can get a free CRM and they will help you, but be very careful to understand what you are getting. Many have contact limits (the number of people you can add into them) or you can only do so much with them.

Depending on what you need the CRM to do, you will also need to check what features are included and what are extra. If you are wanting a CRM to help you with email marketing (and you’re not using a separate system like Mailchimp or Mailerlite to do this) then check what the email restrictions are. Some CRMs will only allow you to send so many emails a month so if that’s your primary use of it you may get extra charges quickly.

Think of if you have ever hired a car. Did you have unlimited mileage or did you have to pay over a certain amount? Did you have to add drivers and did that cost extra? What about where you were driving…if you driving in winter did you need snow tyres, or snow chains?

Try before you buy

A wonderful feature of buying a CRM, just like buying a car is you often get the option of trying it out before you buy it. It is essential that you test it out and check it has all the features you are after. If you can’t try it, you can ask for a demo (or someone takes you on a test drive).

There are a number of things to check when you try out a CRM. Look back at your list of things you need (what type of car are you after) and check every one on that list.

You will very quickly get a feel for if you like the CRM. Is it intuitive for you? Can you customise it to your needs? Try as much as you can during the testing phase. Use some of your data and add it in – can you import or export your data easily?

One of the difficulties drivers had when Toyota Prius’s Hybrid car first came onto the market was working out how to turn them on. They had a specific sequence that drivers had to follow in order to turn them on (the key had to be in the right spot, foot on brake and press the start button). For drivers that were used to turning a key it was a new experience! Once you knew the sequence it was easy, but it took some trial and error. There have been 15 million Hybrids sold to date, so people were willing to persevere as the car was what they truly wanted.

CRMs can be like that. You need to know the sequence to make it work for you but knowing that once you know it is exactly what you are hoping for that makes it much easier to know you’ve got what you paid for.

Ask a lot of questions

Just like a car, you want to ask questions about your CRM. If you are able to, set up a call with a sales person and take the questions you have from the testing to them. Some CRMs don’t have that option but they will have user documentation.

This is why its important to use your own data and needs, as they will guide you on what questions you want to ask. For instance, if you want to have a form on a website that pulls the data into your CRM, can you integrate the form, or are there forms already built into the CRM you can use? Can you add all the fields you need into the CRM?

When you buy a car you’ll probably go through the same sequence. Your list of needs will be central to those questions you need answers to. If you’re a golfer, one may be is the boot big enough to accommodate your golf clubs! The more you understand, the more technical you may be, such as is it 6 cylinders or 8? How many modes does the car have (sports, eco etc). What type of fuel does it use? How big is the tank (that will give you an indication of how much you will spend on petrol).

If you are not very technical, a business like Blue Ninja can help you to analyse and guide you on what CRM you need. We know what questions to ask and what we are looking for in a CRM for businesses.

Enjoy your driving experience!

The last step once you have chosen your CRM is to enjoy using it! Get to love it as an extension of your business as that ‘s essentially what it is. Like a car, you want to be excited every time you hop in and take it for a drive. Enjoy it’s features, feel like you’ve made the right choice when you drive it.

If you’re in looking for a new CRM and are feeling overwhelmed, do get in touch with Blue Ninja to help you. The Blue Ninja Deep Dive is designed for you! We will take your requirements and find a CRM that will work for you, providing you with three options to make your decision with a written report taking you through all the elements.

Find out more about a Blue Ninja White Belt Deep Dive.

Related Posts