A CRM has a big role to play in your sales strategy. Reports have repeatedly confirmed its effectiveness at enhancing your closing stats and rep performance. So it’s natural that you might be considering purchasing new software for your firm, to give it an edge in the marketing world.

But it’s not as simple as going out and grabbing the first box off the shelf. A CRM is a heavy machinery in sales, and you need to make sure that your firm is ready and able to put it to good use. Perhaps more importantly, you need to make sure that the CRM you pick is the right fit for you.

So check out the following five questions, and make sure you have good answers for them.

1. What do I want?

This is the simplest question you can ask, but it’s also the easiest to miss. A CRM is a tool with functions. Just having it won’t do you much good if you don’t need it. So check the following considerations, and ask yourself what your CRM will actually do.

  • Is it to increase staff efficiency?
  • Do you want to improve your services?
  • Is retaining staff knowledge important?
  • Do I need better analytics for my sales process?
  • Can marketing use the new sales data?

This information will help you structure your CRM plans, and let you start creating your purchasing criteria.

2. Will it work with what I have?

Most firms will already have some automation tools in their arsenal before they go to select a CRM. So it’s critical that what you have will either work with your new management platform or at least replace it. Having holes in your sales process, or worse, mountains, can be detrimental overall. And that’s not why you wanted a CRM in the first place.

So plan ahead, and ensure compatibility. If you have a tool for scraping data from social media, make sure it can interface with your chosen CRM. That way, you can enhance both products instead of having to carry the load yourself.

3. How long will it take?

This isn’t a question with a generic answer, so make sure you take the time to scope out your conversion process. Some lightweight products can deploy within the day, while larger offerings can run into months.

So if you are a large firm looking to change over, make sure you take the time to lock the details down beforehand. Even for smaller firms, it’s still worth considering the impact ahead of time and planning your backup processes.

4. What info will it need?

A CRM without data is a nice yacht without fuel. Pretty, but pointless. There are many ways you can customise a CRM for your purposes, so make sure that you check the following to see if you can provide actionable information:

  • Will different people require unique data?
  • What reports do I need?
  • Is my sales cycle different from the mainstream?
  • What values do I need to see?
  • What custom data do I employ?

By assessing these criteria beforehand, you can make sure that the CRM you get will be the CRM you can use.

5. The staff question

We saved the best for last. This is a question that can often fly under the radar, especially at new or larger firms. So make sure to ask yourself: If I purchase this, will my staff use it?

A CRM can slow your sales process down if used incorrectly, and junk information can make its reporting actively harmful. So you need to make sure that whatever you purchase has both high uptake and correct usage within your firm. If you read your staff well and provide targeted training, you can expect to see big gains in your sales efficiency. Don’t throw this potential away on an oversight. Make sure the product is intuitive, interfaces well with existing information (especially contact details!), and can work with systems your staff use regularly.

So don’t let your CRM turn into a bauble. Stay on top of your conversion process, and reap the benefits!