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How to select the right-sized CRM for your company

Written by Tom Bellen

Published: 03/03/2014

Bigger isn’t always best

Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool should fit your business model and goals. Selecting a CRM is critical to the success of your business. While a well-known, brand name solution may be the path of least resistance in your decision making, you may be paying too much when a lower cost option may suit your needs just as well. The biggest solution isn’t necessarily better.


When choosing a CRM, first make sure your business model and goals are clearly defined and in place so you can properly evaluate the tremendous number of solutions currently available in the market. Once you begin evaluating, remember the goal for your tool is to provide better data, ease of use, and opportunities to grow the solution as your business grows. You hear a lot about the importance of ROI (Return on Investment) when selecting a CRM (or any piece of software), and while that is important, it is not the only factor to consider. Keep in mind that if your users aren’t using the system, you can’t extract the data you need, or you don’t have the required support for using the solution, the ROI for your business will be zero. This is why it is so important that you select the right-sized CRM for your company.


The following questions will help you determine how to select the right-sized solution:


Does the CRM Solution I’m evaluating actually meet the criteria of my business needs?

Spend time evaluating the usability of the reporting function, the ability to have scalable forecasting, and the flexibility of the customer care and marketing management modules. You may be surprised at all of the wasted time people spend reviewing solutions that have too many or too few features and functionality for their business.


Do I need a CRM that is scalable and customizable?

CRMs are built to meet specific needs of corporations, but they aren’t built for your exact business. You need to choose what will work for you.  Will an out-of-the-box solution with little to no flexibility or customizations work for your accounting, sales and marketing needs? Or, will you need the flexibility to tweak processes to your specifications? Do you need specific payment terms, can you create employee records that match your HR descriptions, can the CRM synch with your email client or allow you to import your current data with minimal alterations? During the evaluation, make sure each vendor openly discusses their solution’s technology and its ability to be customized.


What are the storage and support options of this CRM?

Is your business in the position to manage and store an on-premise CRM solution? Or do you have limited IT resources and instead want a cloud-based solution that provides a quick set-up and limited need for technical support?  Both on-premise and cloud-based solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. Do you have the ability to implement a solution with little vendor support or do you have a small, inexperienced team that may need a lot of support during implementation? Make sure that you understand your teams’ abilities and are prepared to make a decision about your support and storage needs.


As you can see, selecting the right CRM is a crucial decision. But if you educate yourself and your team before you start speaking with vendors and evaluating solutions, you will not waste valuable time and resources. You will also be on the road to implementing a CRM that isn’t too big or too small, but instead you will have one that is ‘just right.’

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