Customer support has undoubtedly become an indispensable component of every successful business. With its inception way back to the 1990s, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has introduced an innovative way for organizations to deal with their customers/clients. With the market for packaged CRM solutions witnessing a rapid growth in the recent years, a majority of small and mid-sized organizations have started investing in CRM technology. Today, you can easily find established CRM vendors who specialize in CRM through web-hosted software as a service (SaaS); small business software and large enterprises which opt for tailoring their business products for the SMEs. Hence, if you too are a small or mid-sized enterprise owner who’s looking to choose the right CRM software for your business, reading this post will help you find some handy tips and tricks. So, let’s get started with them. #1. Analyze whether your business needs an in-house or an online CRM system As a small or mid-sized business owner, you have the option of choosing between an in-house or an online CRM system. Well, I would recommend you the former type. In simple words, you can opt for a Software as a Service (SaaS) based CRM software which will eliminate all the up-front investment costs. Also, you’re just required to pay on a monthly or quarterly basis, with the flexibility to terminate the CRM services at an immediate or short notice. Reducing the need for having a full-time technology manager, a SaaS based CRM system allows you to focus on your core business instead of wasting valuable time in running and maintaining a specific IT task. #2. Don’t forget to analyze the CRM software vendor’s strengths and weaknesses Prior to choosing a CRM software for your enterprise, it is advised to check out the following for the CRM software vendor: Does the company specialize in a specific vertical? For how long has the company been in existence? Which computing platform is being used by the company for ensuring the CRM software’s compatibility with your system? Does the company provide any professional service(s) to help your website stay up and running all the time Does the company have its domain expertise in a specific business area? What kind of partnership does the company share with Microsoft Outlook so as to work with the CRM. Finding satisfactory answers to the above questions will help you in identifying the best CRM software vendor. #3. Check out the Sacrifice VS Benefit ratio associated with the CRM software Every good CRM software comes with a remarkable sacrifice to benefit ratio. In other words, a CRM software wherein you aren’t supposed to put in extra efforts for leveraging the benefits. For instance, you must opt for a CRM software that is both affordable and easy to use. It should have a small learning curve, making it convenient even for the laymen to use the CRM software without the guidance of a technocrat. #4. Keep your list of functional requirements absolutely realistic Although you expect to do a lot with your CRM software, it is suggested to list out all the functional requirements realistically. That means, you should know whether you’re looking for a sales force automation system or a content management system. Plus, you should also know whether or not you want to track the sales activities, customer information etc. for your business. #5. Don’t forget to have a list of your business ambitions handy Though you might be a small-scale business today, you’ll probably grow in a couple of years time. This would mean that in the next few years, your business goals would be a lot different and perhaps a lot more complex. Additionally, your CRM system should be able to keep pace with your evolving business goals. Hence, ensure to go for a CRM solution that has the potential to handle an expanding customer base and workforce. #6. Check whether the CRM software can integrate well with other business products Every business has several products that are utilized for holding vital customers details. While searching for a CRM software for your business, settle for the one which has the capability of integrating with varied business products. Such a CRM software tool will undoubtedly cut down the need for duplicating data between email marketing platform, billing system and the CRM architecture. #7. Check whether you’ll be able to customize the information captured in the CRM As an initiative to maximize the sales conversions, you need to have the flexibility of customizing the information that’s being captured in the CRM system. Ensure to choose a CRM software that offers you such a flexibility, allowing your sales team to enjoy a complete access to all the details about the potential customers. For instance, if you own an events company, then you’d definitely be interesting in storing the birthdays and anniversaries of your top customers in your CRM. Doing this would allow you to send out marketing mails as and when the specific dates arrive. #8. Do try the CRM software before purchasing it It is never a good idea to get carried away by the enticing features of a CRM software tool unless you try it for yourself. Do make it a point to try out an evaluation copy of the CRM software that you’re planning to purchase for your company. You can ask your team to provide feedback on the software via a proper judgment of the varied features and benefits. Only after you’re sure that the CRM under-focus will be able to deliver the promised functionality, should you make a payment for the same. Don’t forget the right selection of a CRM software would guarantee consistent business profits. Wrapping it all up Choosing a good CRM software under a restricted budget is something that’s nearly impossible if you aren’t familiar with the right strategy to go about it. I seriously hope the aforementioned tips and tricks would help you in selecting the best fitting CRM software for your small or mid-level business firm. Images: “CRM – Customer Relationship Management/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.