Four things to bear in mind when replacing your CRM tool

The CRM replacement process is rarely completely stress-free or as smooth a change as you might wish for. For that reason alone, many companies persist for far too long using a system which they have long ago outgrown.

However, one of the biggest challenges when upgrading or replacing your sales software is simply figuring out what CRM tool will be best for your business. Here are four things to keep in mind that will help you figure out what system is best for you.

1. Just because it is a well-known brand doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for your requirements

It’s very tempting to go with a well-established brand name in the CRM marketplace that everyone has heard of. We tend to feel much more comfortable dealing with well-established brands because we assume that their software must be good in the first place for them to have got so popular.

Recommended reading: figure out the cost of a replacement CRM system using our comprehensive CRM pricing guide

While that may be true, it may also be the case that there are much better options out there which are designed with your specific industry in mind. Don’t walk into the embrace of a market leader until you have thoroughly researched the market and made a shortlist of other options to consider as well!

2. Fast, responsive after-sales support is not just a ‘nice to have’. It’s essential

CRM systems tend to be complex and a poorly thought-out installation could result in a disaster of nightmarish proportions for your company. Even the best planned install will result in a few teething difficulties, so consider the technical support package on offer to be just as important a factor in your decision-making as the features and benefits of the software itself.

Also factor in the ongoing costs of technical support. You will need it, most likely for as long as you use the software, so don’t be drawn in by attractive-sounding packages that promise great value but come with a heavy cost for ongoing development and support.

When it comes to support, don’t just take the salesperson’s word that it will meet your expectations. Ask for customers who are using it that you can call to ask for real-world feedback on what the support level is like. Any proper company should be able to provide you with at least a couple of their clients who will be happy to give you a real testimonial.

Finally, making sure that whatever software and support platform you choose comes with free upgrades as the system is developed is always a good idea!

3. Look for solutions designed for your industry

While there are many CRM tools that work great for any kind of business, if you choose a tool that is designed with your specific industry in mind, you may save your company a lot of time and money further down the road. A “jack of all trades” kind of tool is likely to need significant customising for your requirements at some stage.

Every business is unique and has their own way of trading and corresponding with their customers and potential customers. Maybe it is contract-based, so your CRM system needs to be able to take account of renewal dates. Maybe it is B2B, or B2C, or a combination of both. It could be that your customers are multi-sourcing and you need a totally different kind of approach to win as much of their business as you can.

CRM is meant to be a tool that maximises the revenue of sales teams and make their daily tasks easier. During CRM replacement, it is important to get the right fit if you are to get the most out of it. Choosing a system designed especially with your type of business in mind will give you a better chance of maximising your ROI.

4. Think of it like a business marriage

CRM, when used to its full potential, is a tool that can flow right through your organization and help every department manage customer relations and even supplier relations and internal communication. It is hugely powerful, but as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility.

Employees will need to be trained in the use of the new system, and you’re likely to spend a lot of time getting it set up just right for your requirements. You will get to know your CRM provider extremely well during all of this. So consider it as a long-term commitment – not something you enter into lightly or with a company you dislike!

Just like a marriage, if successful the business partnership can benefit both parties involved. And just like a marriage, if the relationship falls apart, the divorce will be messy and protracted. This is why it is essential you have properly researched the solutions available and had demonstrations of different software packages before you commit to your provider of choice.

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Rick Siderfin

About the author…

Rick is passionate about helping businesses by implementing systems to increase efficiency and to communicate in an effective and engaging way with their audience. He’s married, has three kids, and lives in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water in rural England, U.K.

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Rick Siderfin

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