How to choose the right CRM in 2021?

How to choose the right CRM in 2021?

Do you have a CRM project and are wondering how to choose the right tool? To succeed in this step, you will have to identify your company's needs and objectives, list the functionalities you need, and establish a different software vendors benchmark. Choosing your CRM is not an easy task. Whether you are in the midst of your sales representative's development process or simply in the process of changing your CRM, choosing this tool is a significant project involving a fundamental change in your work habits.

Indeed, the CRM will allow you, among other things, to automate specific tasks, to concentrate your exchanges with prospects and customers, to track actions, to carry out reports ... In short, the CRM will be the heart of your commercial activity. And the repository of all your customer data.

Discover our expert advice that you absolutely must follow to guarantee the success of your project and CRM implementation!

1. Identify the needs and objectives of your business.

Before you start looking for a tool, you should first focus on your needs and goals. It will allow you to compare different providers based on your needs, not the other way around. 

Here are some questions that will help you identify your significant needs and goals: 

- Why do you want to invest in CRM? 

- What challenges are you facing? 

- What processes are missing or should be putting in place? 

- How much customer data should you store?

- How many people will use it? 

- What are your reporting needs?

- What is your budget?

During this step, it's essential to be as fair and concrete as possible not to overestimate (or underestimate) the level of functionality and support you need. The risk is then to choose a too robust tool requiring too much investment in implementation, customization, and training. 

2. Make a list of critical features. 

The best way to list your CRM's functionalities is to align them with the objectives identified previously. That way, no functionality will be wasted, at least in theory. 

Indeed, it remains essential to evaluate each of the features that you will list by asking yourself the following questions: 

'Will this feature allow my team to sell better and faster?' 

'If so, how does this feature help achieve my goal?' 

These questions will help you sort out useful features from 'gadget' features. 

However, some features are necessary for all sales teams, regardless of size or activity:

  • Contact management: this is the main functionality that will allow you to search, group, filter, and segment your database.
  • Pipeline management: this allows you to quickly visualize your sales funnel and your leads' progress from one stage to another. Your sales forecasts will be much more realistic and easier to achieve.
  • Reporting and data analysis: this feature will allow you to follow your team's sales and commercial performance. Detailed reporting will allow you to quickly identify potential anomalies and your team members in need of assistance. 

Once your list of features is complete, you can start your research while keeping your goals in perspective. 

Note that some recognized providers, such as HubSpot offer many features for free. 

3. Establish a benchmark and contact 3 or 4 CRM editors

As with any product, it is always worthwhile to document and read reviews before making a purchase, especially on specialist sites such as Appvizer or Quora. 

Feedback from your peers will help you identify vendors that offer the best customer service as well as the best user experience. 

Also, call on your network: do not hesitate to contact your acquaintances directly, particularly those who work in the same sector of activity as you. They can provide you with valuable information and more in-depth explanations. 

However, keep in mind that these recommendations will not be enough and that an expert can only explain some aspects of CRM in the solution in question. 

Thanks to your benchmark and the opinions of your peers, you can shortlist the 3 or 4 suppliers most suited to your needs. Contacting them will then allow you to understand the solutions better and assess their relevance. 

Here are a few things you shouldn't miss when discussing with the different suppliers: 

  • Challenge your interlocutor by clearly asking them how the solution meets your business needs
  • Ask for explanations on the various negative points that you may have discovered during your research.
  • Ask if any of your competitors or market players are using the solution to get their feedback. 

The answers to these points will allow you to rank your shortlist providers, from the best to the worst. To confirm your choice, plan, or if you hesitate between 2-3 solutions, do not hesitate to request a product demo. 

You will inevitably come across the market's essential players during your research, namely Salesforce, HubSpot, or Pipedrive. Here are a few points of attention that will help you determine which of these three tools would best suit your business. 

Salesforce: 

Project type: Because of its very advanced features, Salesforce is particularly suitable for heavy and complex projects. If you have multiple brands, multiple products, overseas subsidiaries, and an extended sales team with very different roles, Salesforce is for you. 

Budget: Salesforce offers a monthly cost based on the number of users and the type of subscription (Essential, Professional, Enterprise, or Unlimited). On average, the tool costs between € 30 and € 300 per month per user (billed annually).  

Main strong point: Its main strengths are undoubtedly its level of customization and its reporting functionality. Fully customizable and offering very advanced analytics allows you to view your pipelines in real-time (opportunities and leads)

Main weak point: 'Price' takes an average of 150 € per month and per user to have the basic functionalities. Not to mention the few hidden costs: implementation costs, support to familiarize yourself with the solution, data storage costs.

HubSpot: 

Type of project: HubSpot adapts to all types of structures, but more particularly to medium-sized companies who want a tool that is quick to set up, profitable, and capable of supporting growth.  

Budget: HubSpot CRM is entirely free for all your users, with no time limit! You can subscribe to additional Sales and Marketing features to create an even more complete infrastructure. 

Main strong point: Particularly suited to companies doing inbound marketing, HubSpot is a real war machine for a lead generation thanks to its Marketing orientation. Its intuitive interface and support service makes it quick and easy to get started.

Main weak point: For more advanced use of the CRM, it will be necessary to subscribe to a paid version accessible from 46 €. 

Pipedrive: 

Type of project: Ideal for VSEs and SMEs who want to set up a simple CRM dedicated to Sales teams quickly, at a reasonable budget to monitor sales performance.

Budget: Pipedrive offers four plans ranging from € 12.5 to € 99 per month and per user, available in annual or monthly billing: Essential, Advanced, Professional, and Enterprise. 

Main strong point: Pipedrive offering advanced functionalities and an easy-to-use platform at a very competitive price. The very visual representation of KPIs also distinguishes it.

Main weak point: Lack of automation and few native integrations with third-party tools. 

4. Focus on the HubSpot CRM:

If there is a market player to take into account in your approach, it is HubSpot. A leader in the Marketing Automation market, HubSpot also offers a CRM that has already proven itself: ergonomic and customizable; HubSpot CRM is flexible and adapts to all business sizes. It is a scalable tool that can support your development.

HubSpot has many advantages that make it a very powerful CRM:

Many free tools: the accessible version of the CRM is complete and allows you to test the platform well. You will be able to evolve towards additional or more advanced functionalities according to your development.  

A 100% cloud-based tool: the HubSpot implementation is quick and easy! Ultimately in the Cloud, you do not need to install the software on your computers, and access to your data is entirely secure. 

A tool made for salespeople: HubSpot is mainly designed to make life easier for sales teams. Because a good user experience will significantly facilitate the tool's adoption by your teams, its long-term use, and therefore its ROI, your teams will have no difficulty adopting HubSpot's CRM, mainly thanks to the mobile application!

A wide range of integrations: HubSpot connects to more than 300 existing tools to create an efficient work environment and ensure the proper management of your data and its updates. 

A golden customer service: within the CRM itself, HubSpot helps you in the daily use of the tool via a Chatbot, by phone, or by message. A Knowledge Base is also at your disposal: very well documented, you will find the answer to all your questions in a few clicks! 

HubSpot offers the most innovative on the market and often offers Beta versions to test the latest innovations in terms of functionality. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list:

High-performance communication tools: you can communicate with your prospects and customers by email, SMS, telephone, live chat… all from the platform! The exchanges are facilitated and centralized for an infallible follow-up. HubSpot also provides email templates for even smoother businesses. 

Better tracking of your activities: you can collect information about your contacts through email and document tracking. You will be alerted when your connection opens your email, when they read the quote you sent them, or when they visit a specific page on the site. 

Automated Actions to Save Time: HubSpot offers tools to automate business actions. For example, your teams can organize their days more efficiently and focus on their business thanks to the Task tool: it allows you to create task lists (send an email, call a prospect, etc.) that it is possible to visualize on a dashboard. 

HubSpot offers many other powerful features to support your sales team. Do not hesitate to contact our experts who can provide you with (a demo?) 

Conclusion 

As said before, choosing a CRM is a heavy project involving the person's responsibility in charge and requiring significant upstream and downstream work. But it will allow you to cement your business processes and thus achieve your growth goals. 

If the task seems too heavy to you or if you do not have the time to invest in this project, you can get help in this process. At WebOccult, we help you customize and implement the CRM and your teams' training to guarantee the project's success. Our teams are available at any time to discuss your project and advise you.

Ketan Parmar

Ketan Parmar

Ketan Parmar is Digital Marketing Strategist at Weboccult Technologies, Implementing cutting edge online marketing strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence is his forte. Apart from helping small and big businesses, he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups, Technology Geeks with his knowledge and expertise of 10 years in the industry.

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