A guide to CRM requirements gathering
There are many CRM systems on the market, but which one is right for your organisation? Selecting the right one, first time will save you both time and money, but with so many to choose from, it can often seem overwhelming.
While CRM systems may seem to be much of a muchness, they actually offer very different functionality. It’s often not until you’re working with a system on a daily basis that you can be sure it fits your individual needs.
While reviews are helpful, it’s important to know exactly what you need a CRM system to do for your organisation. In this article, we’re going to examine how you can identify your CRM requirements and the core features you should expect any system to include.
Identifying your requirements
Taking time to understand exactly what your organisational requirements involve and working through a set of simple steps will help you to identify exactly what features you need.
This involves talking to users throughout your organisation and understanding what their pain points are. While this may seem time consuming – or perhaps you feel that you know what’s needed – it will pay dividends over time.
What do you want to achieve?
Why do you want or need a new CRM system? What issues are you currently experiencing with your existing system, and how are they impacting your organisation? Ask every department, not just sales or marketing. What are the problems or challenges that they’re facing on a daily basis?
It’s easy to say ‘I want an xyz feature’ without understanding how it’s going to solve the very real issues that are affecting your business. Know what you want to achieve first then work out how to reach that end goal.
Once you know the desired outcomes, you can identify what needs to change. Is efficiency the issue? Does performance tracking need to improve? Are marketing campaigns poorly targeted? Or do you think that sales could be increased with some simple tweaks?
What capacity does it need?
How many people in your organisation will need access to your CRM? Sure, sales and marketing will, but often customer service and other departments may also need access. Perhaps accounts will need to check records too, or realisation teams may need information gathered throughout the sales process. Many organisations underestimate how many employees will need to use the system and don’t buy enough licences.
Then there’s the question of data. How much will be stored? You don’t want to find that you’ve run out of storage and can’t add more potential clients, for example. Again, it’s better to overestimate so that you don’t find yourself having to upgrade in the near future.
However, it’s also important to be realistic about the functions you’ll really need. Depending on the size of your business, you may not need all the bells and whistles, tempting as they may be.
How will it be accessed?
After Covid-19, more and more people are working from home and accessing systems remotely. Or perhaps you have staff visiting customer sites who need to be able to get online. Consider what devices and operating systems are currently being used. Will you need to upgrade hardware? This is another cost to be factored in when considering your next CRM system.
Where will it be located?
Are you considering self-hosting or would you prefer a fully-managed, cloud based system (known as Software as a Service or SaaS)? This may well depend on the size of your business. If you want to self-host you need servers that will cope, and good back-up procedures in place. If you prefer the SaaS route, you need to investigate the supplier’s average uptime/downtime, and make plans for what happens if you lose connectivity.
The most interesting and arguably the most important set of requirements. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to identify what you need a customer relationship management system to do already. The next step is understanding how to achieve it.
Many organisations see CRM as only relevant to sales and marketing teams. They’re the ones making the big plans and having the most contact with clients. However, customer relationship management is ultimately about information, which is vital throughout the business, from customer service to accounts, to maximise success.
Although all parts of the organisation need access to CRM, marketing remains one of the most important. The best marketing is targeted. Matching the most relevant products or services with the needs of your clients improves engagement, increases sales, and maximises return on investment, always a key consideration for any business.
Without sales, no business will survive. That’s why a core function of any CRM system is maximising sales. Analysing customer history, recording interactions, and spotting behavioural trends, provides salespeople with the ability to focus on targeting customers at the most opportune moment, increasing the likelihood of confirmed orders. We’re big fans of Pipedrive as a truly sales focused CRM, encouraging behaviour which progress leads from initial contact through to closed deals.
Often a separate department from sales, customer service ensuring happy customers is vital to any organisation’s success. Any customer wants to be listened to, be understood, and have their problems rectified. But good customer service also informs marketing and sales functions: what problems are frequently arising, for example. This in turn supports strategic decision making.
Business reporting and analytics
Understanding where your business is now is key to planning for the future. A core function of any CRM system is the ability to produce insightful, detailed reports.
While sales reports might seem like the obvious output, some customer relationship management systems allow companies to track workflows and identify issues that can be used to improve performance and planning.
If you’re an SME (or even up to Enterprise) we feel Pipedrive is a great CRM system. It’s currently used by over 100,000 businesses in 179 countries. Its intuitive interface with drag-and-drop functions make it perfect for first time and seasoned customer relationship management system users alike.
Pipedrive offers unlimited pipelines and boasts many customisable features, including reports and pipelines as mentioned above, and integrates with a wide range of popular applications either directly through the Pipedrive Marketplace or indirectly using tools such as Zapier or Make.
If you have any questions around CRM, Sales or Automation, talk to us today to see how we can help streamline your business process whilst increasing sales.