If you find yourself constantly wondering whether you are using the right CRM software for your startup or if you are just now ready to start selling, you need to ask yourself these questions to figure out the solution that’s best for you.
Do I need CRM software right now?
If you haven’t hit product market fit, it’s safe to say you don’t need the most advanced software to organize your sales process quite yet. While it’s important to track certain data from the start, even if you are just selling to a small set of clients, don’t overcomplicate things in the early stages of your company. Consider basic email add-ons that provide more structure without the onus of a full blown CRM system. Get away with the bare bones while you can, and replicate process where necessary.
Will it grow with my team?
As a fast-growing company, you should ask this question of any solution you invest in. The solution might be great for your 5-25 person company now, but what about when you hit 50, 100 or 200 employees with a sales team to match? Ultimately, you should pick the solution that is right for you now without worrying too much about whether it will scale as that is a great problem to have down the road. However, if the solution has various plan levels for larger organizations, this may prevent painful switching costs in the future.
Is the solution intuitive to the user and easy to implement?
Usability should be one of your biggest priorities. No startup wants to put in place a solution that slows down their lean team, or worse, one the team won’t even use. You want to find a solution with the right mix of features that actually make the process smoother, including reminders and automation so you or your team don’t drop the ball on any deals. Further, the more complicated the implementation or training, the longer it will take to get up and running.
Does the cost fit the task?
It’s so important to understand what you need so you don’t overpay for features outside your scope. Most CRM solutions charge based on the number of users that need access, so you’ll need to account for growth and ensure there aren’t any “gotcha” fees down the road – such as having to pay extra fees to unlock pretty basic feature requirements.
Can I take it with me?
It should go without saying in this day and age, but make sure that the solution is compatible on-the-go via tablets or mobile devices. Once sales kick up, you’ll be running from meeting to meeting or jumping from call to call, and you’ll want a solution that promotes easy data entry, wherever you are. When demoing the solution, imagine your typical work schedule and how it fits into your day.
Do I need these features?
Your team knows the ins and outs of the sales process that works for them. The features of your CRM should match the minutia of your sales process. Are you cold calling? Meeting several times a week? Closing larger deals over the course of several months? All of these questions should impact how the CRM interacts and responds to these details.
Can this data help me?
Data is incredibly important to a startup. Your CRM solution should integrate with your sales process to provide you with the most important data that will optimize your business. Your management team and marketing decision makers can make a lot of alterations and improvements to their strategies based on the data you input.
Is the API solid?
Make your life easier. Do the research to make sure the CRM solution integrates nicely with the ways in which you prospect (LinkedIn, email, calls, etc.) and your accounting and bookkeeping solutions. Ensure that the API is reliable, RESTful, has useful documentation, etc., so you can develop new applications in any programming language or integrate with your existing business applications.
Does this CRM solution match my goals?
It’s important to understand your business goals prior to implementing a CRM solution so that it can help you reach the finish line. Take a look at the objectives of your sales process and how the solution can complement the existing efforts of your salesforce. It won’t accomplish your goals for you, but smart organizations will put in place solutions that help them accomplish the job faster and better.
If you look at CRM as an investment in your team’s productivity, you quickly realize how important it is that the solution fits your team, and the goals of your team. By asking the right questions about a prospective CRM system, you can ensure that you are setting up your team with a sales platform that hits your baseline requirements. Then, you can start to investigate outside-the-box ways the solution and its data can improve sales, optimize customer value, and overall operations.
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