Being a neophyte entrepreneur is a huge challenge. From finding the seed money, establishing the business processes, and hiring the first team, your hands can quickly get full and your pockets empty. Therefore, it is essential to know as much as you can about the systems you would use in your startup. Choosing the right CRM is one.
What is CRM?
CRM or customer relationship management is the system for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with leads, prospects, and customers. More than 90% of businesses with more than 10 employees use this tool.
However, availing of CRM must not come from the bandwagon effect, especially since another percentage that gives 90% is the failure rate of startups. Read the following pointers that aim to aid you in choosing the right CRM for your startup.
Know if you need CRM
There is a plethora of articles about the benefits of CRM. The question is do you absolutely need those benefits? Another point to ponder is if your startup will survive the recovery period of the ROI.
There are systems that can substitute CRM. You can adapt your Google Workspace to function as your customer relationship management program. CRM is an investment. Startup owners must logically assess the benefits and risks associated with it.
Read: How to Use Google Workspace As Your CRM: An Actionable Guide
Analyze the use of CRM in startups
Now that you’ve decided that CRM is a must for your business, you must understand how to use it to meet your business goals. There are three basic types of CRM: collaborative, operational, and analytical. Find a CRM that suits your needs, not you adapting to fit in the CRM system.
Furthermore, some CRM is customizable but these types come in with steeper prizes. Consequently, avoid biting more than you can chew. Avail of the features your organization need for the moment.
Deployment: on cloud or on-premise
Technically, the deployment is dependent on the nature of your business. It is given that the cloud offers mobility and flexibility. On the other hand, on-premise solutions have better security measures and greater offline functionality. Then, there are hybrid systems as well.
Compare CRM software
There are 1,610 CRM providers in the US alone. Check the local SaaS market if you prefer a promising CRM provider.
Additionally, decide whether you want an industry-specific system or a general-purpose one. The first option is built with a specific industry in mind; hence, features are specialized already.
Meanwhile, the general-purpose CRM provides universal sales, marketing, and service tools that different users can customize, no matter what industry they serve. They are often more adaptable to third-party applications as well.
Integration with other apps
As mentioned earlier, the general purpose CRM allows third-party integrations. Some of these apps may be extraneous from the CRM system yet the data they generate or are needed for input supports the CRM itself, or vice versa.
Calendars, social media platforms, and calling software are a few examples of external applications that you might want to connect with your CRM. A streamlined flow of information between the CRM and these external programs contributes to the smooth running of the business. In turn, this makes your team more productive while the customers are happy.
Budget for the CRM in startups
CRM websites usually display the price per user per month. It usually ranges from $12 up to $200 or more, depending on the brand, customization, and industry. Yet, the investment in the CRM system expands beyond that.
You must also consider the implementation fees and subscription costs. Plus, you would also need to account for the training time and learning curve of personnel using it. You should also allocate the budget for miscellaneous contract terms and future data cleanup.
Have a trial run
Most CRM software has a trial period. Maximize this time to check for the following:
- User-friendliness and overall feel of the platform
- Features were delivered as advertised
- Compatibility with hardware
- Problems arising and how easy to solve
- Smoothness to connect with their tech support
Technical support responsiveness
Don’t forget to ask about how quickly their tech support replies. Responsive customer service resolves tickets faster, hence resulting in a minimum workflow interruption. On the other hand, bad support service from the CRM may affect your relationship with your clients as well.
Data backup plans
If a business needs insurance and computers have warranties, your data should have indemnity as well. Find out how the CRM deals with data corruption or loss. Moreover, know if this would have an additional cost and the limitation of the coverage.
Data hygiene practices
As your contact database expands, you need to ensure that it is not cluttered with ‘dirty data’. Dirty data are those entries that may be duplicates, irrelevant, or incomplete.
Good data hygiene promotes the sales and marketing team to come up with good insight regarding the business. Determine if your CRM has a program regarding this matter. If it does not, inquire about the recommended third-party apps that may help you keep good data hygiene.
Secured and trusted providers
There are regulatory bodies like GDPR and CCPA that checks your compliance when you operate within their territories. Furthermore, you can still benefit from the standards of the mentioned organizations when it comes to data management, risk mitigation, and better client relationships.
Room for growth
As you draft the road map of your company, determine how the CRM can evolve with it. Be familiar with the upgrades and when it is advisable to implement them. If you plan to change CRM, know how easy it is for the transition and data migration.
Conclusion for CRM in startups:
The implementation of CRM may or may not be a good choice for your budding business. It is important that you weigh the pros and cons of adopting one. Committing to a CRM from the start of your business has benefits like good lead generation, streamlined processes, and outlined conversion. However, these benefits are not guaranteed. Hence, proper discernment is needed in choosing the right CRM for startups.