How to choose a CRM system?
When choosing a CRM system, the most important thing is to make sure that all the functions that you would like to see in the process of work are available. So, if incoming calls are very important to you, you need to make sure that the selected CRM system supports integration with telephony. And if you get most of the leads through the site, then one of the main criteria will be the ability to integrate the CRM system with your CMS.
Otherwise, much depends on your tastes, as well as on the recommendations that your specialist gives you. In principle, if a specialist who will be engaged in the implementation of a CRM system offers you a certain software product, then, provided that the necessary functions are implemented in this system, and you are satisfied with the cost of the product, it makes sense to agree with his opinion. Usually, experts recommend the product that they know well, which will undoubtedly be a plus at the implementation stage.
It is quite difficult to study a CRM system based on videos and test access, there are many nuances in any system that you will learn in the process of working with the system. But there are some fundamental points that will help you make the right choice.
So, the main thing is the very fundamental decision to implement a CRM system. Next, if you have any preferences, you saw a system that you liked for some reason, implement it. In all other cases, it is best to rely on the opinion of a specialist.
Saas or Stand-Alone-clouds or your own server?
There are two types of CRM systems based on different technologies:
Saas or system as a service. In this case, all software and data is stored on the server of the service provider. You get online access to the system through a browser, client program or mobile application. All processes take place on the service provider’s side.
Standalone-license to install and use the software product. You get a solution that you install on your own server, if desired, modify it to suit your needs, depending on the capabilities that the CRM system provider provides.
There are some limitations when choosing a Saas solution. You will not be able to change anything in the product code, as the software solutions are located on the side of the CRM system provider. Usually, such CRM systems allow you to configure employee access rights, integrate some external systems (get data from the site, record incoming calls, etc.), change the design using the designer, configure reports, etc. But all this will be stored on the servers of the CRM system provider.
It is also important to understand that when using Saas solutions, you should always have access to the Internet. Of course, in our time, reliable Internet has long been an important part of any business, in the absence of access to the network, many business processes stop. Therefore, the optimal solution is to have a backup Internet access channel in addition to a reliable main one.
Another important point to understand when choosing Saas solutions: most likely, you will need to pay separately for each database backup and other similar operations. For example, on a system that I actively use, a backup costs $ 10 for 1 backup.
Advantages of Saas solutions:
You do not need your own server to host software;
You do not need to deal with updates yourself, all this lies with the service provider, you just use the solution.
A lot can be said about the CRM system as a Saas solution. Perhaps I’ll write a separate article about it. To choose the type of solution, the features described above are sufficient.
Stand-Alone solutions, as I said above – are the purchase of a “boxed” solution that you install on your own server and can change the program code (within the access that the developer provided). In some cases, for example, when it is necessary to implement atypical solutions, this level of access is very important.
But most often, for medium and small businesses, Stand-Alone solutions are not required. The need for deep changes is extremely rare, and therefore I usually recommend Saas.
Integration with telephony
I believe that any CRM system should integrate with telephony. If you can’t capture incoming calls and initiate outgoing ones, then this is a big minus. Therefore, when choosing a software product for my clients, I always pay special attention to the availability of this feature, as well as how it is implemented.
It would seem that you can enter data about calls into the system manually. But practice shows that this method does not work. People begin to resist, they are annoyed by the need to do additional work. In addition, anyone can simply forget to enter this or that important call into the system. Therefore, this method usually does not work in practice.
So, it is necessary to record calls in the system. There are 2 implementation options:
The call is made from the browser itself, it passes completely through the system, all interaction takes place through the browser. It is important to understand that the entire call passes through the system, and therefore the sound quality, signal processing speed, etc. depend on the browser and CRM code.
Telephony integrates with third-party services-asterisk, avaya, etc. In this case, you install a virtual telephony system based on these services and connect your numbers to this telephony. At the same time, you will be able to make all outgoing calls and receive incoming ones through SIP-tubes, and not through the browser. How does this happen? Your SIP provider receives a call from the client, redirects it to your virtual PBX system, and it already transmits information about the call to the CRM program. At the same time, the CRM database records the phone number, time, duration of the call, etc. The user can only add their notes (a brief topic of conversation, result, comments) to the call record.
Of course, there is also the option of recording information about calls manually, but I have already described above why this will not work in practice. Basic routine operations must be automated, otherwise the system will not work.
API integration: availability of ready-made solutions
Any business uses various services for receiving applications, keeping records, processing documents, etc. When choosing a CRM system, you should pay attention to whether there are API solutions for integration with your site, data exchange with 1C, IT telephony, and other programs and services you need. Having a ready-made integration API is a big plus.
Interaction with a contact (client) usually consists of several things:
Mailing lists (SMS or email);
The first 3 things should be automated. They give an idea of the history of relationships with the client, help to understand what is happening in working with him at the moment, what were the last actions.
Planning and working with tasks
When choosing a CRM system, you should also pay attention to whether the system has the ability to plan, set and work with tasks. Employees should be able to create tasks for themselves and colleagues, set reminders, etc.
In addition to working with clients, the CRM system must have the necessary tools to account for interaction between employees. It is not enough that they communicate with each other in the office or on the phone, discuss projects and solve some problems. It is also necessary to be able to control the workflow and interaction of employees.
Users should be able to set themselves and others tasks related to both working with the client, reporting, and other necessary actions. Also, a very convenient feature is the ability to tincture the automatic task setting service, for example, once a quarter, the task of issuing quarterly reports will be created, etc.Or when the system receives the contact data of a potential client (the appearance of a new lead), the system will automatically create a task for a certain employee, for example, call back on the specified phone.
Integration with the SMS service
As such, I have not seen integration with the SMS service, for example, a ready-made solution for integration with certain SMS mailing services. This is done as part of business processes or as part of working with the API. Accordingly, the system should be able to send mass SMS messages to all customers, to a certain group of contacts or to a specific contact personally (for example, notification of certain actions).
Carefully consider what features the CRM system provides for importing data. In what format is it possible to download information? Is there a ready-made migration module from other systems, and if so, from which ones? Or do you need to prepare information for uploading in a specific format?
You should understand how the initial data filling will be performed at system startup. This process is somewhat similar to entering balances into the system, which I wrote about in the article.
It is very important that data import takes place quickly, simply and transparently. Without a convenient automatic transfer of all contacts and other important information for the work, the start of the system is likely to fail. Of course, you can enter all the data manually, but it is very long and inconvenient. And if you enter this data in parts, then the risk of duplicating customer cards increases, as a result, you will expect confusion and overlays.
Personally, I really like the option of transferring data from an Excel table, this option is universal, quite visual and convenient. In Excel, you can upload from almost any system, including 1C. And uploading data in this format to the system is also quite fast and convenient.
Availability of localization