• Amit Sarda

How to select the right CRM for your business?

Introduction


The internet has a ton of literature available for the best practices to be followed in selecting a CRM system for a business. The process usually starts with assessing the business objectives, talking to internal stakeholders and users, identifying necessary features based on user requirements, evaluating the integration capabilities of the potential solution with other services and applications, and many other small nuances.


Challenge


There are hundreds of CRM solutions already available in the market. And, therefore, you're faced with a number of questions that you have to answer to finally settle on one.


  • Which CRM software would be the right solution for you and your business?

  • Does a trial help evaluate software to see if it covers all your use-cases?

  • Do you have the time to evaluate each software?

  • How long do you evaluate each software?

  • Do you have enough users to test each software and report their findings?


These questions can scare the most experienced business owners and founders. This is the reason why there exists a community of seasoned professionals called CRM specialists. These CRM experts handhold businesses through the process and ensure a smooth transition to the new system.


However, consulting engagements like these can cost you a lot of time and money.


But, is there a better way?

  • Can you hack your way into selecting the right CRM for your business, while also saving on time and money?

  • Is there a quicker way to evaluate each system without investing too much time in trying the system out and evaluating every use-case?

  • Can you leverage the power of your network and crowdsource their inputs based on their own experience?


Solution


I have seen SOS for CRMs many times on Twitter.



Based on the number of requests I have seen (and continue to see), and based on the flavor of these requests, I should put you at ease about some of the concerns when selecting a CRM solution:


  • There is no one-size-fits-all CRM solution.

  • There is no THE ONE CRM.

  • Points of Parity (POP): Almost all CRM solutions have the same set of standard features.

  • Points of Difference (POD): Some CRM solutions are better for a particular industry than others.

  • Some features are easily accessible in some CRMs, some are not.

  • Some CRMs have an efficient way of doing a particular task, some don't.

  • A smart system administrator will be able to accomplish any task with any CRM solution.

  • If an important task is not doable with your current CRM, and if it is a critical task, it's okay to switch to a different CRM. There are tons of CRM experts specializing in CRM migration.

  • The decision-maker relies on inputs from their network: actual users of a solution, about their experience with their favorite solution. It's in a semi or unstructured way, and therefore, there is an opportunity to make the process better.


Thankfully, it is not as daunting as it sounds.


A simple spreadsheet should suffice. And because we are crowd-sourcing inputs and opinions, a Google Sheets document works like a charm.


Steps


  1. Open this link: CRM Evaluation Framework.

  2. Make a copy of this template: File → Make a Copy.

  3. List down every use-case you have.

  4. Add a detailed description of each use-case and the relevant primary user.

  5. Assign a weight to each use-case based on your requirements.

  6. Add all the CRM solutions you're willing to evaluate as column headers.

  7. Carefully set the sharing settings of the Google Sheets.

  8. Share a link to this Google Sheets document with your network (via email/Twitter/WhatsApp/LinkedIn/Facebook/Forums/etc.)

  9. Ask them to rate their favorite CRM solution on a scale of 0 to 10 for each use-case.

  10. Once the process is complete, each CRM solution will have an objective score assigned.


At the end of this process, you will have a winner.


Not the absolute winner (remember, no CRM is perfect), but at least a relative winner.


Conclusion


CRM implementation projects can take months if not years. And that's the time spent in implementing the CRM solution that you have selected. In the middle of the implementation project, many businesses realize it 2 years down the line that they were down the wrong track all along.


What a waste of resources - time, money, man hours, loss of business.


If this small hack about crowd-sourcing inputs from existing users helps, use it.


I am going to borrow Jason Fried's and David Heinemeier Hansson's book title to conclude this:

It doesn't have to be crazy at work.
 
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©2020 by Amit Sarda