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|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Picking a Small Business CRM Platform
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide a number of powerful benefits for small businesses, but the wide range of features and CRM providers can make identifying the most effective solution for your company challenging.
CRM features vary by provider and customer industry, but most platforms are designed to help companies track their pending and recent sales, customer contacts and order history, email interactions, payments, and other important details.
Some important features to evaluate when you’re comparing CRM platforms include:
Understand Your Needs
Because CRM tools offer different features, knowing your goals and understanding your sales processes are important early steps in researching potential providers. Common reasons for implementing CRM include increasing customer satisfaction (and sales), helping your sales team close more deals, tracking a customer’s interactions with your company, integrating your marketing tools with your sales process, and other goals.
As you’re considering your CRM needs, be sure to talk with the sales reps and customer service staffers who will be using the platform daily. Your team members may have used a CRM platform at a previous job, and can share helpful feedback about how well it may have supported them.
Other important factors to consider include:
CRM providers offer trial periods or stripped-down versions to allow potential customers to test their platforms. While research is important, hands-on testing will probably provide the most valuable insights as you compare CRM tools.
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