When It Comes to CRMs, It’s All About Priorities…
CRMS (or Client Relationship Management Systems) are an ongoing hot topic of conversation I see in a lot of business groups and forums.
The one problem that I repeatedly see, however, is people often ask for a recommendation, which others readily and willing give, but these recommendations are given without clarity or context.
You see, CRMs are like hats… Come on, stay with me for this one…
If your plan is to spend a day lazily lounging around in the sun on a beach or by the pool then your ideal hat is something wide-brimmed, ideally made of something breathable like straw so it provides plenty of coverage and keeps you cool.
If your plan is to go running then you want something light weight, sleek and adjustable that will stay on your head, shield your face and keep your hair out of the way, like a cap.
If your plan is to go up the mountains into the snow, then you want something with thermal properties that will keep your head warm and ideally cover your ears.
Sunhats, caps and beanies are all hats, but they all have different properties, functions and uses. The same is true for CRMS.
You may have heard of ActiveCampaign, Dubsado, Honeybook, Capsule, Hubspot, Monday or even FreeCRM. There are lots of them out there, all promising to be the perfect solution for your business but they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
A lot of CRM platforms offer integrations to make up for their lack of functions. No scheduling function – no problem we integrate with Calendly or Acuity! You need documents signed or stored – why not integrate docusign or dropbox? The list goes on, but there are two potential problems with using multiple integrations: Cost and Updates.
- Cost. You will probably find that 40% of platforms allow you to integrate with other platforms on their free plan, but that means 60% don’t. $16 dollars a month here and $19 dollars a month there quickly add up and are, of course, piled on top of your annual or monthly CRM fee. There are some ways around using paid integrations, often with platforms such as Zapier or Automate.io but this leads us into our second potential problem…
- Updates. If all platforms worked together, communicated and timed their updates and improvements then my tech troubleshooting service would become redundant. Most of the time when something stops working the way it should, it is because updates for an integration haven’t kept up with updates for the platform. The more integrations you have, the greater the potential for problems. Automation and integration is supposed to make your life easier, not distract you from your meaningful work with tech problems.
Now, I am not saying that you are going to find the perfect CRM that meets all of your needs seamlessly, but what I am saying is that you need to be smart about your selection.
That is why, whenever I setup a CRM platform for a client, selecting the CRM is never the first step.
When selecting your platform, you first need to ask yourself:
- What do I need it to do? What are the features that you absolutely must have?
- What would I like it to do? What features do you think might be useful to you?
- What other tech and platforms do I already use and (most importantly) how do I use them?
- What do I actually need my CRM to do? How will it practically support the way you work?
Once you are armed with these answers, you are then in a position to start your search. Just remember, you are not likely to find the CRM that meets all of your needs perfectly (if you were, I would be out of a job) but the idea is to find one that meets most of your criteria and has the potential to integrate with other platforms that you use.
Feeling overwhelmed? You don’t need to be. Inspired Office offers Biz Tech Checks and tech coaching to help you identify gaps and overlap with your current apps and platforms, discuss your goals and needs, research and recommend solutions tailored to you and your business and provide coaching to ensure you are comfortable with the tech you choose and use it in the most efficient and effective way possible. To find out more why not book a free chat!