With customer service at the heart of every business transaction, it makes sense that the market for customer relationship management (CRM) is growing. According to predictions from Gartner, the worldwide CRM market will reach $436.5 billion this year, leading all enterprise platforms in growth, even outperforming ERPs.
Those managing field-service teams don’t need to be told about the growth of CRM. Any business too big to track sales on a spreadsheet needs a system to track customer data; however, not all CRMs are created equal. Some track sales, others track marketing or forecast customer needs. The most important takeaway from all this is that the right CRM can reduce your marketing costs by 23 percent.
When choosing a CRM for your business, consider these five criteria:
1. Customer service
The number-one reason to invest in a CRM platform is to support your customers. Make sure your CRM has unique customer identifiers, can log all customer touches and lets you communicate the way your customers want.
Buy what fits your strategy. Some CRMs allow custom rules that don’t force you to change your strategy based on arbitrary fields your employees are required to fill out. Some programs provide templates, while others allow tweaks so you can track what matters to your enterprise. Many CRMs come with an API that allows you to customize the platform to your business, but this may be more easily accomplished with plugins and extensions. Evaluate your needs, research your options and pick the customization path that is best for you.
Pick a CRM that works with what you own. Instead of reinventing the wheel, pick a solution compatible and easy to implement. Double-check that the versions of programs you already own will integrate with your new CRM. There’s no reason to pay to upgrade a point-of-sale system or an email program because you were sold a CRM that is “supposed” to work well with the most up-to-date versions of those programs.
4. Workflow automation
Make sure the CRM you choose will integrate with employees’ workflows. Automation will free your team from necessary but time-consuming reporting activities. Once in place, you can have events trigger responses to customers, have queries prompt action by your staff and automatically report successes by the field team to their supervisors.
5. Track the work
How effective is your field team? As many as 75 percent of business owners see an uptick in sales when using a CRM. Some CRMs can be configured to support and track field-service success. You can get each field team an account to track their hours and contacts and see how their performance rolls up to the team’s sales numbers. Dashboards can reveal how teams work together, help with performance reviews, bonuses and set future goals.
Trusting a CRM with all your customer data and your company’s future isn’t a move to take lightly. How you pick and deploy a CRM will impact your company for the foreseeable future. No one knows that more than NexTec Group. We’ve been selecting and deploying CRM, ERP and BI solutions on-premises and in the cloud for more than two decades. Contact us to find the right solution for your business.