Contact relationship management (CRM), contact management system (CMS) … what’s the difference? While the lines between CRM and CMS can appear blurred at times, it’s best for businesses looking for a way to track and store customer information and interactions to realize that only one can do both: CRM
While a CMS is great for managing contacts and keeping general tabs on important people, an all-in-one CRM is for managing the full progression of a customer interaction. CRMs lead up to signing the contract, and follow the relationship well after it.
In fact, in a recent SugarCRM research study, 60% of respondents told us that using CRM as a centralized communication hub for nurturing leads and customers is their top priority today. Moving forward over the next five years, 45% say the top priority for maximizing value from CRM will be gaining a complete view of all customer interactions. Working from a single source of truth – where every stakeholder has a clear view of all customer-facing activity – your teams can craft the most relevant engagement to move customers down their journey with your brand.
A robust CRM is one of the ways to ensure business success in the short and long term. However, not all companies are fully aware of what features to search for in such solutions in the research phase, and they select a contact management tool rather than an all-in-one CRM. So, what should you pay attention to when choosing similar solutions? How do you ensure that the CRM you select offers your growing business all the features that help you scale and elevate customer experience? We have a list to help you save time and simplify the process.
1. Outline Your Business Needs
Start by outlining your business needs and expectations. Make sure to include stakeholders across all departments. After all, CRM solutions are used at an organizational level, and gathering feedback and input from everybody is essential.
Besides involving key stakeholders across your organization in the process, make sure that you thoroughly evaluate your current tech stack and identify the areas that could be improved. Aspects you should consider in the process:
- Marketing Automation
- Lead Management
- Sales Pipeline and Forecasting
- Reports based on customer data
- Customer Experience / Customer Service and Support features
- Social Media Management
- Contract Management
- Email Marketing
While there are many solutions, you should always ensure that your choice seamlessly integrates with most of the tools in your tech stack. A good CRM will facilitate transition and adoption, so finding a product that combines your teams’ daily tasks and processes is the best way to proceed.
Consider the future as well. A valuable CRM is a CRM that can grow and scale with your business. Periodically switching tools is not a long-term solution. Instead, a flexible CRM will keep up with your growing business needs and demands.
2. Think About Accessibility
In today’s dynamic business landscape, having customer data accessible no matter where your teams choose to work is essential to operating a successful business. Today, reliable CRM vendors offer cloud-based CRM solutions that empower your teams to maintain a rapid pace even on the go.
Besides, with cloud-based hosting, your data is securely backed up daily, ensuring your teams can access the latest version of their records, reports, dashboards, and KPIs.
3. CRM Integrations: How Flexible Are These?
Aim to find a CRM that enhances your tech stack and perfectly integrates with the tools you use routinely.
You can also select a CRM provider that offers out-of-the-box integrations with multiple systems. If you invest in products and services from a single provider, the integrations will run smoother, and your operations will be streamlined.
Let’s assume you invest in a new CRM, but your vendor also provides sales, marketing, and support solutions. The best way to ensure that you leverage your CRM of choice at its full potential is by selecting complementary solutions, apart from running integrations with other systems you may use.
- Common built-in integrations you should look for in your CRM:
- Google and Outlook Calendar for calendar;
- Gmail and Outlook for email integrations;
- Slack or Teams for team communication;
- TypeForm for lead capturing forms;
- Document management integrations;
All these integrations will help you ensure that you don’t encounter bottlenecks in your daily operations and that you provide your teams with all the tools they need with the click of a button directly from your CRM.
4. Data Management
CRM solutions heavily rely on data to generate valuable insights into your customer base and prospects. Thus, data management is also essential to select an all-in-one CRM, not a contact management tool. Data management is vital once you start using your new CRM, and it is critical during the migration process.
Like all businesses, you probably have essential customer data you want to ensure that gets migrated adequately to your new solution. Regardless of your current database, a CRM should support smoothly transferring these files. Proper data management during the migration is critical to implementation success.
On the other hand, you may need to export data from your CRM in various scenarios. It is necessary to be able to export files into standard formats such as Excel or .CSV when the need arises.
The way your CRM captures, compiles, and interprets data also matters. Predictive analysis should be a standard way your CRM deals with information. This way, you’ll have a complete customer and prospect view, reports, and projections.
5. Does The Vendor Offer Support?
Although modern CRMs are easy to navigate, make sure that your vendor of choice offers the level of support you need, which is clearly stated in the contract. Make sure to also enquire about how much extra support would cost.
Apart from implementation, you’ll need periodic support when you need adjustments and interventions, so thoroughly investigate this.
6. Does the CRM Comply With GDPR?
If your business operates outside the US, select a GDPR-ready CRM. GDPR requires companies to protect personal data. If your business interacts in any shape or form with EU citizens, you’ll need a compliant CRM. Among others, GDPR encompasses anti-spam laws and the requirement for businesses to offer unsubscribe to newsletters. So, ensure your CRM is adequately equipped to meet these demands. The GDPR applies to the following companies:
- Companies that have offices and employees that operate in the EU;
- Companies that are providing goods and services to state members;
- Companies that are collecting IP addresses of European residents through cookies;
- Companies that are compiling personal data of customers or prospects in the EU on behalf of their collaborators.
According to Delloite, failure to comply with this EU law can result in legal action and non-compliance penalties equivalent to 4% of an organization’s revenue, up to a maximum of €20 million.
7. How Secure Is the Solution You’re Considering?
CRM security is another crucial aspect to remember when researching new solutions. For example, data localization controls are an excellent example of data security protocols your CRM should be equipped with. While many cloud providers are US-based, many organizations outside the US are pushing for greater digital sovereignty. We previously mentioned the GDPR at a European level. Still, some organizations, such as healthcare institutions that may be using CRM tools, are dealing with even stricter regulations prohibiting them from transferring data outside the country of residency. Other security protocols your CRM should feature are the following:
- Two-step authentication
- User access management with Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
- Data Loss Prevention
- Data encryption
- Compliant Backup Systems
- Secure Integrations
If you want to learn more about how you can make sure you’re investing in an all-in-one CRM and not a contact management tool, check out our Switching from HubSpot to SugarCRM interactive!