How to Choose Your CRM Soul-Mate

posted this in
Inside Rocket Media
on September 5th, 2012

We continue to grow and expand at Rocket Media, so we decided it was time to update our sales software to something that would be easier to manage. And as we (specifically I) began the search, it became clear that the process is much like dating for good-looking, in-demand individuals (such as myself). Once they know you are available, they come out of everywhere interested in a date.

Know What You Need

Before diving headfirst into the search, we stepped back and came up with specific things we were looking for in a suitor. As a sales and marketing team, we discussed our needs, budget and expectations and defined what we were looking for. Some of the things discussed included:

  • Sales automation
  • Sales/marketing integration
  • Budget
  • Marketing automation

The biggest emphasis was on sales and marketing integration. Our priority is to maintain contact and communications with both potential customers and existing customers; to be a friend and a readily available resource for their internet marketing needs.

Let me take the time now and address our feeling regarding cost. Two things about cost: first, at the end of the day worrying about cost will cloud your ability to judge the service. And second, prices are flexible. We wanted the best CRM for Rocket Media and that system most likely would not be the cheapest. We had a good idea of our budget, but we were more interested in the features included in the price.

Start the Search

Searching for CRMs is the easiest part of the process. Like dating, the more time you commit to searching, the more eligible suitors (companies) you will find. Our list was limited by our requirements and still featured six widely used but different systems. Some were simple and basic, while others were complex and inclusive.

Gather Research on Your Prospects

To aid in gathering information on the various companies and their services, we used a cloud document to share all the pros, cons, pricing, and features we found in our research.

A helpful hint is to think outside the comfort zone during researching. Read reviews, contact sales reps, ask friends what they use, read through the company’s site, watch the videos: do as much as you can. My preference is the reviews for the simple fact that there are both good and bad ratings, which reflect the company in the view of the users and over the timeline of the postings. One company had negative reviews from two years back about the complexity of the application, which is good to know even if they have released an update to address user friendliness.

Once this list of solutions is comprised with all-important information, it is time to schedule your “first date” (demos and/or trials) with your prospects. It is important to have this come after the information gathering so you have clear front-runners and do not waste time testing platforms that do not meet your requirements.

Remain Patient

Just like dating, the process takes time. There is a lot of searching and learning. You may not necessarily know what you want or dislike. Each company will try to convince you they are the right one to marry, but as a decision-maker you have to cut through the smoke and mirrors to evaluate who legitimately fits with you and can make your business better.

This is not everyone’s process, but it worked well for us and we look forward to using our new CRM to improve our sales and marketing processes.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help strengthen your marketing activities and increase your sales.