There are so many different, excellent CRM services & sales software solutions out there that comparing them can be difficult. Use our Business.com checklist (below) to compare the costs and features for different vendors. But first, consider your answers to these five major questions before making a shortlist of vendors who meet your needs.
1. How many people will be using the system?
Most CRM services price their plans based on a charge per user. If you have many employees who will be using the system, the costs can get very high, very quickly. Sales software is usually priced per computer, with a license required for each computer using the software.
2. How many contacts are in the database?
Most CRM services can handle a large number of records in the system. You can usually get one low monthly price for up to 10,000 records. Some offer an unlimited number of records. Other services charge additional amounts based on the number of contacts in your CRM database.
3. What modules do you want to include in the package?
CRM services & sales software can be used for a wide variety of tasks. The more tasks you need the software to handle, the larger the package you need to buy. Decide which of these functions you want the CRM software to handle: contact database, time tracking and billing, customer service management, sales management, marketing management, payroll processing, accounting.
4. What level of sales automation do you desire?
The difference between entry-level CRM and high-end CRM usually has to do with how much analysis and direction the service performs. With entry-level CRM, you get data storage but not much sales automation. With high-end CRM, you can get very sophisticated analysis leading to recommended activities, some of which can be automated, and all of which can be monitored and tracked. With an entry-level system, you might have to decide when to pay a sales call on a prospect or client. With a heavily automated system, the program itself will suggest whom to contact, when and how to contact them, and what to say based on previous experience. Are you looking for entry-level or high-end CRM?
5. What level of integration do you need?
The last major factor in choosing a CRM solution is to determine which devices and applications the software must integrate with. CRM solutions can be found that integrate with Windows, Android, Intuit, Outlook, Office, ACT!, other apps—and even mapping programs that show you where your best prospects and customers are clustered. That's one kind of integration. The other kind is device integration: do you need to connect and operate your CRM solution from a smartphone or tablet computer?