19 Jan 2023
  • Website Development

Guide to Choosing the Right CRM System for Your Business

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have evolved significantly from their early days of storing customer information in rudimentary ways. Presently, the plethora of CRM options available can pose a challenge when selecting the most suitable one for your business. Several crucial factors to contemplate in this selection process include budgetary constraints and the desired ease of use for staff members.

Comprehending CRM

Let us commence by discussing CRM. CRM, short for Customer Relationship Management, refers to a platform that oversees the interaction between your company and its customers. An effective CRM enables the creation of customer profiles, tracking of contacts, and organization of customer data. Various types of CRM systems exist, including online and on-premise solutions.

Online solutions involve utilizing applications or websites hosted by providers, while on-premise solutions entail having the software reside on your office servers.

Identify the Segments of the Customer Journey to Monitor

The initial step is to identify the segments of the customer journey that you wish to monitor closely. A productive approach to accomplishing this is by setting goals for yourself. In case you are uncertain about what these goals should entail, inquire into the following queries:

  • What are my aspirations?
  • How much time and financial resources can I invest in achieving these goals?
  • Are these aspirations feasible given my present circumstances? If so, establish them as goals.

After answering these questions, formulate at least one concrete fitness goal that, through diligent effort, can be attained within 3-6 months. These goals must be specific and measurable. For instance, a goal such as "I desire to increase the size of my chest muscles beyond their current state" is inadequate since it lacks a quantifiable measure of the desired increase. A more effective statement could be: "Within three months, I aim to augment my chest measurements from 38 inches to 40 inches."

Consider the Allocated Budget

Another crucial factor to consider is the price. While it is undeniable that more expensive software often offers a broader range of features, striking the right balance between functionality and cost is paramount. If your business does not require all the extravagant features provided by top-tier CRMs, investing in those additional features may not be judicious.

Similarly, for small businesses with limited resources, especially those with a small team, employing a free tool might prove more advantageous than expending thousands of dollars monthly on an enterprise solution.

This does not imply that free tools are invariably inferior; they may have limitations compared to paid alternatives. Free tools can be highly effective for smaller teams or businesses necessitating swift customization. However, if your requirements evolve over time, upgrading to a more comprehensive solution becomes a straightforward task, either by expanding the existing tool's capabilities or integrating third-party functions.

Define Your Workflow and Ensure Scalability

When selecting a CRM for your business, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of how you intend to utilize it and what data you need to track. A CRM is designed to assist users in managing their day-to-day workflows. If the software does not align with your workflow or cannot accommodate future growth, its utility becomes limited.

Workflow management aims to streamline processes, ensuring that relevant information is easily accessible to all parties involved. Workflow is often described as "a series of steps that guide an organization's activities from one point to another, culminating in the achievement of the desired outcome." The implementation of automation becomes more straightforward when processes are broken down into discrete steps with well-defined milestones.

Evaluate the Standard Report's Metrics Offered

It is essential to ascertain that the metrics provided by your CRM are comprehensible, interpretable, and readily accessible. Moreover, they should be easy to employ, report on, and share. Wrestling with complex or convoluted data that takes days or weeks to comprehend is not desirable.

Research the Vendor's Reputation

Before finalizing your decision, ensure that the vendor enjoys a favorable reputation. Seek input from colleagues, peruse online reviews or customer feedback regarding their customer service, product quality, and overall customer experience. A higher number of positive comments indicates a more reputable vendor.

Verify whether the vendor is still operational. An active company is more likely to provide responsive support compared to one that has ceased operations or been acquired by another entity, resulting in its nonexistence.

Examine the track record of customer satisfaction over time, paying particular attention to any recurring problems experienced by customers with previous versions of the software that were resolved through upgrades or updates last year. This comparison can provide insight into the level of effort invested in improving the system. Additionally, changes in management may impact the level of support received from customer service representatives unfamiliar with your account details, unless recent contact has been established. However, it is important to note that some companies do not offer phone support, rendering this point irrelevant.

Assess the Usability of Identified Product Features

During the evaluation of CRM software, it is imperative to ask yourself the following questions: How user-friendly are the identified product features? Is navigating the software intuitive? Can you easily create and modify new records (if the CRM allows this functionality)? Ensure that you have prepared your data in advance to obtain an accurate assessment of the time required.

Determine whether the CRM allows data export in formats such as Excel or CSV, enabling reimportation at a later stage, if necessary. This capability can prove beneficial in case any issues arise with the current setup.

Ensure the Availability of a Community for Support, Answers, aCRMnd Insights

The complexity of CRM software often necessitates support from other users who have encountered similar situations. Fortunately, there are numerous online communities where individuals can seek assistance, share tips and tricks, and learn from one another.

The activity level within these communities is a crucial indicator of their quality, with well-maintained and frequently updated forums curated either by the company itself or experienced users. Additionally, a community's reputation among its peers can serve as an indicator of its value, showcasing successful implementation in other businesses or the valuable content it provides, such as articles.

Lastly, assess the breadth and depth of information available within each community. A wide range of covered topics increases the likelihood of finding relevant solutions for your specific use case.

Choosing a CRM Has Become More Complex

Selecting a CRM can indeed be challenging, given the diverse array of options with varying features, price points, support levels, ease of use, and integration capabilities.

Pricing: The cost of a CRM depends on the desired features and the amount of data stored. Some companies base their pricing on the number of users, while others offer per-user monthly charges or comprehensive unlimited plans.

Support: Support services may range from 24/7 telephone assistance to limited availability through email or chat during business hours. If your business requires assistance outside regular working hours, ensure that qualified staff is available to address those concerns.

Ease of Use: Opting for software that non-technical individuals within your organization can operate without extensive training or continual reliance on IT staff is paramount. Pay attention not only to the ease of initial use but also to potential obstacles that may hinder effective utilization of certain features over time. For example, restrictions on importing existing data sets into newly created accounts unless specific conditions are met can cause delays of several days. Such scenarios occur more frequently than one might assume.


This article provides a solid foundation for selecting the appropriate CRM for your business. However, other factors must also be considered. It is crucial to evaluate which customer journey tools best align with your team members' roles. Additionally, explore other tools that can automate specific processes. Trust your instincts and move on if something feels amiss; a CRM should enhance your operations, not hinder them.

Tyrone Showers