Choosing the right CRM software for your business


Recently, Small Biz in :15 On Location traveled to Austin, TX for ZohoDay 2022 and spoke with several business leaders about what to look for in a CRM platform.

Our expert guests were:

  • Felena Hansen, Founder of Hera Hub Co-working Space and Accelerator for Women,
  • Corey Reid, Senior Director of Marketing for Counter Culture Coffee & Specialty Roaster, and
  • Akshay Bama of Global Supply Acquisition and Akhil Pippala Associate Project Manager for India-based car-sharing service ZoomCar.

What is a CRM System?

If you’re a small business owner and unfamiliar with the term CRM system, it might be helpful to know what it is. The cloud-based software designer Salesforce offers us a nice definition of what a CRM is:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology for managing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: improve business relationships to grow your business. A CRM system helps companies stay in touch with their customers, streamline processes and improve profitability. »

When business people talk about CRM, they are usually talking about a CRM system.

Felena Hanson explains how to choose the right CRM system

During the interview with Small Biz Trends, Felena Hansen explains what small businesses need to think about when choosing and starting to use a CRM system, especially if they haven’t yet automated their marketing efforts.

Felena said she received this question fromthousands of businesses. She said to do the following when choosing the right CRM system:

  1. Understand how you receive data: She indicated that there are platforms that are a little more visual, and some people want a little more of a visual dashboard. Some platforms are very simple to set up and others are more complex. So it really depends on your business and how you operate.
  2. Consider the cost: She added that cost is always a factor with small businesses, so it’s essential to really understand what the true costs are. Some CRMs on the market seem inexpensive at first, but the process of setting up this system and integrating it with your other systems ends up costing thousands of dollars. “A lot of small business owners don’t realize this,” she says.
  3. Pay someone to set up your CRM system: Many small business owners buy a CRM and don’t set it up correctly. They don’t integrate it into their business and as a result they limp and never really activate the platform. “Hire someone who knows what they’re doing to set it up properly,” she says. Next, understand your business and how it fits into other parts of your system. Because no software is standalone, is it?

If you want to learn more about choosing the right CRM system, be sure to check out: How to Choose the Right CRM System

Why Choose One Small Business CRM Over Another?

Felena also discussed aspects that would make her choose one CRM system over another. She said the user-friendliness of the CRM is essential, as well as the ease of access to the platform. She said: “We have a team and if my team, I have six coworking sites and if all six sites aren’t using this platform to their fullest, that’s completely moot.”

How user-friendly it is, how easy it is to access this platform, what reports come out of the platform, and how you use those reports are all factors.

She also advises going back to people who have already raised their hands – it might have been a few years ago, but go back to those people and remind them that you exist. And that’s what a good CRM can do if it’s used well and everything is documented.

Corey Reid on Why Choosing the Right CRM Software for a Small Business Matters

Next, Corey Reid explains how to choose the right CRM software for your business that meets your specific needs.

He said,

For Counter Culture, we have a distributed sales force looking for some of the best cafes and restaurants in the country.

So from a reporting standpoint, it’s not super flat, is it? There are sales and account managers, there are regional managers and there is a wholesale manager. And so, we need to be able to understand trends in specific areas as well as nationally very quickly. You know, what kind of accounts do we win?

What does our business look like like, say, food service at a local coffee shop and things like that? So, you know, it’s very specific to this kind of national orientation that we have. But then, for our regional teams to really dig in and understand the data, understand what a winning percentage looks like when someone comes in as a cold prospect versus when they come in as a hot prospect?

Corey also pointed to mistakes made by SMBs, like thinking they need something they really don’t need.

Corey said that before a business owner starts thinking seriously about buying CRM software, they should try to understand what it does or what it is part of. Also, do they really understand what they need?

He said that’s the first thing because you’re going to sell yourself on everything and you’re going to be like, ‘Oh my God, well, that would be great, or that would be great, or that would be great.’

And so, at the end of the day, ask yourself, “What are you trying to do? I can talk to Counter Culture, right? What we’re trying to do is understand our business, understand what our teams do, and then be able, at a high level, to understand what those steps look like.

Find what works for your small business (and what doesn’t)

Corey said,

You don’t necessarily need a bunch of bells and whistles, or you don’t need to log into, say, a lead generation tool where you can buy a list of 100,000, is it not?

It is not important for us because with 100,000 coffees there will be a small number of those who will buy from us. So, you know, it’s like one thing on a list of a million things that we don’t need.

What we need is data integrity. We need to be able to make changes quickly. We also have to be able to integrate, you know, a very fast growing team as well. So it can’t be something that you need to have an extreme amount of technical knowledge to be able to use it.

What is data integrity in terms of CRM?

Concluding the discussion, Corey explained what is meant by data integrity when it comes to CRM without getting too technical.

Corey went on to say,

There are two things. The first is to have the right processes in place for the team to ensure that they are entering data correctly and also understanding the reporting functionality.

So for Counter Culture, for example, we have a lot of different lines of business. We wholesale, we sell groceries, and we sell direct to consumers, making sure that we’re trying to figure out what’s going on or how it all gets into the system.

And then we make sure we don’t confuse the variables because, say, we see a massive amount of pounds of coffee going through. Oh wait, it’s a grocery store, it’s not a wholesaler, is it? And so, we need to ensure that we get the best data so that we can make the most informed choices possible.

The main criteria to consider when choosing a CRM platform

Tune in to see the rest of the episode where Akshay Bama and Akhil Pippala explain the main criteria to consider when choosing a CRM platform for your business.

And remember, when buying CRM software, focus on your specific business needs and avoid spending money on features you may never use. Thanks again to our small business experts!

Please let us know if you enjoyed our video: Choosing CRM Software for Your Business and if you found what our four guests shared with us useful. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what topics you would like to see covered in future episodes.

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