Whether it's managing current business activities or forecasting trends to make educated decisions about the future, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an extremely valuable tool for streamlining business activities.
According to HubSpot, CRMs yield an average of $8.71 return for every dollar invested, making it a viable solution for those that are eager to make their workflow more efficient and ultimately, raise the bottom line.
While we could go on and on about the hundreds of CRMs that exist and all of their functionalities, there's a much simpler (and cost efficient) solution for those that are new to the CRM world or simply looking for a change, so let’s dive in!
What is a CRM?
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a centralized database that stores information about prospects and customers. The collaborative nature of these information hubs allows teams to work together, coordinate, and align all of the different steps within the sales funnel.
It’s important to track a buyer's journey from start to finish, but it has become increasingly difficult with all of the tools and channels that exist in today’s world.
With that being said, choosing the best one for your needs is arguably the most important part of the process.
Are all CRMs the same?
With all of the options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to understand which CRM is right for you.
Most of them have various subscription plans that offer different features, and it’s hard to know what you need from the get go, especially if it’s your first time making a purchasing decision.
Too often, companies aim too high or low and purchase a subscription plan that is not right for their needs. This results in months of wasted time and energy that could have been executed more efficiently with a higher subscription plan or even worse, thousands of dollars lost to unused features and subscriptions.
Because there is no “one size fits all'' solution, it is advisable to gather adequate research about your unique business activities before making a decision. Don’t be afraid to invest in resources that will help you avoid the hassle of switching down the road.
When used correctly, a CRM can transform your business relationships, because it serves as a digital ledger which ensures that nothing slips through the cracks. Whether your company is small or large, there are various types of CRMs that cater to different audiences in terms of structure and format.
To create synergy between a CRM and its users, an organization must consider its size, industry, budget, business model, and short-term and long-term goals before conducting a CRM comparison to discover which platform parallels its needs.
How do I choose the right CRM?
We’re all familiar with the hassle of software onboarding processes, maintenance, and subscription management.
By knowing which CRM is best for your business before investing, it will save plenty of time and effort on the administrative side and don’t worry - there are tools like Sastrify that can handle everything for you.
SaaS management is a critical operational process that often gets overlooked or pushed to the side at the expense of thousands of dollars every year.
Sastrify is a great resource for those that are new to the CRM world or those that oversee many subscription plans, because the tool has the capacity to analyze different CRMs, predict which is the best for your needs, manage your subscriptions and renewals, and make recommendations about which licenses should be added or dropped.
Sastrify manages all of your SaaS subscriptions and their procurement experts will even negotiate your contracts with vendors to promote SaaS cost control and ensure you are getting the best deal for your money. The software is not limited to CRMs and works with applications such as Google Cloud, Asana, and Aircall to help you evaluate which ones are yielding the highest return while keeping you and your team on top of your licenses and usage.
Best CRM practices
Once you have decided on a CRM, the work isn’t over yet. You must consistently keep the database clean and up-to-date to ensure that you (and your team) are getting the most out of it.
There’s no value in referring back to stale data no matter how expensive or how many features your CRM has. The information that is going in and out of it should be monitored and updated on a regular basis for it to be useful towards your other business activities.
For example, you may input your client’s email address into the CRM upon conversion, but what happens if this person changes companies and therefore emails without your knowledge?
Your email campaigns will continue to bounce back until this piece of information is manually edited and until that point, you have lost contact with this customer. Fortunately, most CRMs support third-party tools and extensions which can extend the capabilities of the software to meet your needs and easily solve issues like these.
Take Surfe for example. Before Surfe, users were forced to conduct research manually, then copy and paste data from LinkedIn to update a CRM contact. Now, Surfe users can prospect on LinkedIn and enrich leads, update expired contacts, and edit custom fields and deal statuses without ever having to leave the platform thanks to the tool’s two-way data synchronization.
Without Surfe, CRM users would have to integrate at least 3 separate tools, but with Surfe’s all-in-one design, prospecting becomes much simpler.
Whether you’re new to the CRM world or just looking to optimize your current tool stack, a CRM can be a great way to keep track of all of your business activities and relationships while encouraging collaboration within your team. We encourage you to participate in trials and demos, have discussions with your network, and even consider outsourcing the selection process to a SaaS procurement team like Sastrify to eliminate the hassle of software negotiation, SaaS buying, and contract management.
Once you discover the endless possibilities that CRMs have to offer as it relates to scaling your business, it will be almost impossible to imagine that you ever lived without one! We may be biased, but HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Copper are a few of our favorites.