Choosing the Right CRM Software for Your Business

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Small Biz a:15 On Location recently traveled to Austin, Texas for ZohoDay 2022 and spoke with several business leaders about what to look for in a CRM platform.

Our guest experts were:

  • Felena Hansen, founder of Hera Hub Co-working Space and Accelerator for Women,
  • Corey Reid, Senior Director of Marketing at Counter Culture Coffee & Specialty Roaster, and
  • Akshay Bama of Global Supply Acquisition and Akhil Pippala, Associate Project Manager at India-based car-sharing service ZoomCar.

What is a CRM system?

If you’re a small business owner new to the term CRM system, it might be helpful to know what it is. Cloud-based software designer Salesforce gives us a good definition of what a CRM is:

“Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: improve business relationships to grow your business. A CRM system helps businesses stay connected with customers, streamline processes and improve profitability.

When business people talk about CRM, they usually mean a CRM system.

Felena Hanson on how to choose the right CRM system

Speaking with Small Biz Trends, Felena Hansen discusses what small businesses should think about when choosing and starting to use a CRM system, especially if they haven’t yet automated their marketing efforts.

Felena said she had received this questionthousands of companies.” She said to do the following when choosing the right CRM system:

  1. Understand how you receive data: He indicated that there are platforms that are a bit more visual and some people want a bit more of a visual dashboard. There are platforms that are very simple to set up and then there are more complex ones. So it really depends on your business and how you operate.
  2. Consider the cost: He added that cost is always a factor with small businesses, so really understanding what the real costs are is critical. There are some CRMs on the market that appear to be inexpensive initially, but the process of setting up that system and integrating it with the other systems ends up being thousands of dollars. “A lot of small business owners don’t realize this,” he says.
  3. Pay someone to set up your CRM system: Many small business owners buy a CRM and don’t set it up properly. They don’t integrate it into their business and therefore limp along and never really activate the platform. “Hire someone who knows what they’re doing to set it up properly,” he says. Then understand your business and how it fits into other parts of your system. Because no software stands alone, right?

If you want to learn more about how to choose the right CRM system, be sure to check out: How to choose the right CRM system

Why choose a small business CRM over another?

Felena also discussed aspects that would make her choose one CRM system over another. He said the usability of the CRM is critical, along with the ease of accessing the platform. She said, “We have a team and if my team, I have six coworking locations and if all six locations don’t use this platform to its fullest, it’s completely moot.”

Its usability, the ease of accessing that platform, the reports that come out of the platform, and how those reports are used are all factors.

He also advises to get back to people who have already raised their hand, maybe a couple of years ago, but get back to those people and remind them that you exist. And this is what a good CRM can do if it is used correctly and everything is documented.

Corey Reid on why choosing the right CRM software for a small business is important

Below, Corey Reid explains how to choose the right CRM software for your business that fits your specific needs.

he said,

For Counter Culture, we have a distributed sales force that pursues some of the best coffee shops and restaurants in the country.

So from a reporting standpoint, it’s not very flat, right? There are sales and account managers, there are regional managers and there is a director of wholesale. So we need to be able to very quickly understand trends in specific areas as well as nationally. Do you know what types of accounts we are winning?

What does our business look like from…say, a food service to a local coffee shop and things like that? So you know, it’s very specific to this kind of national approach that we have. But for our regional teams to really dig in and understand the data, understand what a win percentage looks like when someone comes in as a cold leader versus when they come in as a warm leader?

Other key points Corey made were the mistakes SMEs make, like thinking they need something they really don’t.

Corey said that before a business owner gets serious about purchasing CRM software, they should try to understand what it does or what is part of it. Also, do they really understand what they need?

He said that’s the first thing because you’re going to be sold on everything and you’re going to be like, “Oh my God, well, that would be great, or that would be great, or that would be great.”

And so at the end of the day, ask yourself, “What are you trying to do?” I can talk to Counterculture, right? What we’re trying to do is understand our business, understand what our teams are doing, and then be able from a high level, understand what those stages look like.

Find out what works for your small business (and what doesn’t)

Corey said:

You don’t necessarily need a bunch of bells and whistles, or you basically don’t need to connect to, say, some lead generation tool where you can buy a list of 100,000, right?

This is not important to us because with 100,000 coffee shops, there will be a small amount that will buy from us. So, you know, it’s like one of a list of a million things that we don’t need.

What we need is data integrity. We need to be able to make changes quickly. We also have to be able to bring in, you know, a very fast growing team as well. So it can’t be something that you have to have an extreme amount of technical knowledge to use.

What is data integrity in terms of CRM?

Wrapping up the discussion, Corey went over what data integrity means when it comes to CRM without getting too technical.

Corey went on to say:

There are two things. One is having the right processes in place for the team to make sure they’re entering data correctly, and then also understanding the reporting functionality.

So, for example, against culture, we have many different lines of business. We sell wholesale, we sell groceries, and we sell direct to consumer, making sure that when we’re trying to understand what’s going on or how they all come into the system.

And then we make sure that we’re not combining variables because, for example, we see a large number of pounds of coffee. Oh wait, that’s a grocery store, that’s not a wholesaler, right? And so we need to get the best data so we can make the most informed choices possible.

The main criteria to consider when choosing a CRM platform

Tune in for the rest of the episode where Akshay Bama and Akhil Pippala explain the top criteria to consider when choosing a CRM platform for your business.

And remember, when buying CRM software, focus on the specific needs of your business and avoid spending money on features you may never use. Thanks again to our small business experts!

Please feel free to let us know if you enjoyed our video: Choosing CRM Software for Your Business and found useful what our four guests shared with us. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what topics you’d like to see covered in future episodes.

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