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Choosing a CRM for Small Businesses

Blogger1Choosing a CRM model for a small business can be a daunting task. There are dozens or even hundreds of considerations for many businesses, here are four items that should matter to every business.


1. FLEXIBILITY - Is the CRM package customizable? CRMs should offer at least some leeway in how much they are able to tailor their program to fit its clientís needs. Some programs offer the ability to tailor specific tasks like customer information and lead management, while others offer the ability to edit code. The more customizable the better.


2. GROWTH - Can the software host unlimited applications? The more applications your software has the ability to host, the more useful it is to you and therefore the more efficient and cost effective. Some software vendors offer a package number of applications at a cheaper price. It is up to the company to decide whether a set number of applications or an unlimited amount is the most cost effective and efficient for its needs.


3. DATA MAPPING - Does the software package have data mapping capabilities? Data mapping allows you to link information from Excel files, XML, database, EDI to software hosted on the web. Data mapping tools help organize, transport and integrate the data quickly, easily and efficiently.


4.† ON DEMAND VS. "SOFTWARE" - Can the users within your company work anytime and anywhere? On Demand solutions such as Salesforce and Zoho offer this capability because they are hosted "in the cloud." This means that you don't need to download traditional software applications and install them on your computer. It also means that data hosting is your CRM provider's problem, not yours. For many companies, this can be a huge relief, saving thousands or millions of dollars in IT costs.

Other things to consider:

  • is the software able to integrate with 3rd party tools, such as marketing automation applications?
  • do non-technical people in your organization consider the software easy to use?
  • are month-to-month contract options available, or is this an investment with a significant cash-down requirement?
  • what are the hidden (and often significant) costs of customization?

It's unlikely that any CRM application includes everything you need or want in its basic package.† But it is important to prioritize your needs so that your company can decide which software will be the best option for them.


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