How to select a CRM with business growth in mind

Choosing a CRM for a growing business is difficult; decision-makers are caught between a solution that is right for the business in its present form and something that can scale as the business grows.

While it is possible to change a CRM, it’s a big-time cost burden; it can be very disruptive as everyone in the business needs to learn a new system. It’s far more efficient to choose a CRM that can scale with you.

There are a few points that businesses should consider when choosing a CRM with business growth in mind. Below, we discuss three main areas to consider when selecting a CRM for a growing business.


Budgeting for a new CRM is more challenging than you initially think.

Check out this guide on how much CRM costs and how to set your budget for a more thorough look into the cost

CRMs generally charge per seat, so you need to budget this in as you grow. Enterprise level CRMs also come with increased costs as you layer on features. Look at the features you may need in the future and cost them in.

While you’re small, it may be ok to use MailChimp as your marketing automation tool, but you will likely want to bring this functionality into your CRM. The costs can soon grow as you layer in these modules so beware how this may affect your budget.

Increasing user base

As more people use the CRM from different parts of the business, it needs to be assessed for suitability. Some CRMs are perfect for sales teams but work poorly for customer services and marketing.

As more data is added to the system and it is used by more people some problems can present:

  • Duplicate records
  • Data degradation 
  • Bloated records

As people are pulling the CRM in different directions, it can make the dataset bloated. For example, a contact may have many fields and lots of notes – the CRM must be able to support a broader range of use cases.

Ease of access

As a wide group of users are engaging in the CRM, the ease of access from the perspective of device accessibility (mobile, tablet etc) and UX needs to be considered.

There is a lot to consider and many unknowns when choosing a CRM with growth in mind. The best way to approach this is to compile a list of everything that you think the CRM will need to do in the next three years – this may not end up happening exactly as you plan, but you will at least have some concept of what growth will require.

Once you have this list of features look at prospective CRM vendors from two perspectives:

  1. Can they deliver the feature set we’ll need as we grow?
  2. Can this feature set be delivered for a realistic cost?

By asking these questions, you will have at least addressed the key issues of choosing a scalable CRM, be aware of the issues and can begin the planning process.

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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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