CRM Software - Ultimate Guide

With technology and digital solutions becoming more and more important in today’s business sector, utilizing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution is vital to a business’s success. Most businesses rely on at least one form of CRM software solution to streamline and enhance essential business processes. However, finding the right CRM solution can be challenging, not least, because there are so many options available. 

That said, improving business operations with the support of a powerful CRM tool can help elevate your business’s effectiveness and efficiency so it’s worth taking the time to make an informed decision. 

This guide can help. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about CRM software solutions and how you can use them in your business.

The 3 Kinds of CRM Software

CRM software is an umbrella term used to describe the various software solutions used to support business operations, improve collaboration, and manage business analytics. There are three types of CRM software, including operational CRMs, collaborative CRMs, and analytical CRMs. Each software type prioritizes the streamlining and enhancement of a specific group of business functions. Here’s a quick explainer about the three types of CRM software solutions.

Collaborative

Collaborative CRMs are used to simplify and facilitate collaboration within a business, especially among bigger businesses broken up into several departments. Collaborative CRM software is typically used to manage communication channels and B2C interactions. Generally, this is achieved through recording interactions on different channels, which can include phone, email, chat, messaging, and more. The insights gleaned from these records can help businesses choose the best communication channels and gather important feedback about customer needs.

Analytical

Analytical CRMs leverage the power of data to help businesses build effective customer service and support strategies. Analytical CRMs collect and store data so businesses can use the data to make informed decisions about business strategies. This data usually consists of customer behavior, preferences, and demographics to foster a better understanding of your customer base. Rather than applying a catch-all strategy, your business can take a more focused approach to problem-solving and making improvements by relying on hard customer data.

Operational

Operational CRM software is used to support and elevate a business’s primary processes, including sales and managing customer relations. For a business to thrive, it must be successful in its marketing strategies, increasing sales, and offering exceptional customer service. Operational CRMs help businesses achieve these goals by automating the processes that go into them to maximize efficiency. With an operational CRM, time is no longer wasted on tedious, repetitive tasks and can be used on higher-value tasks.

Which CRM Software is Right for Your Business? 

Choosing the right CRM software solution for your needs depends on the individual circumstances of your business. That is to say, no software solution is one-size-fits-all. It’s best to take a modular approach by choosing CRM software that fits your business, not the other way around. 

Luckily, most CRM solutions come with all sorts of offerings that customers can pick and choose from. Here’s a brief look at some of the top CRM solutions on the market right now. 

  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a comprehensive CRM solution that encompasses analytical, operational, and collaborative CRM solutions. Salesforce clients can build their own unique stack incorporating services that play nicely with third-party solutions and keep everything in one place.
  • Hubspot: Hubspot bills itself as an all-in-one CRM solution, but it’s famed primarily for its function as an operational CRM platform. This CRM solution offers a ton of helpful resources and free tools to help businesses across all industries.
  • Zoho: Zoho is another all-in-one CRM solution, with a variety of CRM tools that customers can choose from to customize their stack. You can even sign up for a Zoho One bundle to leverage the power of over 45 different applications.
  • Zendesk: This CRM solution offers a ton of solutions for different business types. You’ll find services for startups, small businesses, enterprises, and more. They even offer APIs for more seamless integration.

While it’s possible to make the decision alone, it’s best to consult with the professionals before making a final decision about which CRM solution is right for your organization.

CRM Implementation

When deciding which CRM solution is best for your business, it’s important to consider the implementation process. In many cases, businesses should expect some reduced efficiency during the onboarding and training process. However, there are many unique challenges to implementing a new CRM tool that businesses must consider. Here’s a look at the most important factors to consider regarding a CRM’s implementation.

  • Training: CRM software is meant to be a solution that can help create meaningful change within your organization. To better understand how businesses and sales processes will be changed, teams should be trained throughout the implementation process. This training will help teams develop a strong framework to support the business initiatives.
  • Cost: You must consider the initial and ongoing costs associated with the CRM software you choose. The initial cost will vary depending on the software you choose and the payment model it uses. Ongoing costs include future enhancements or upgrades, time spent training (if necessary), and more. 
  • Tech Stack Integration and Infrastructure: What other solutions or software are you looking to use? You will need to ensure that your chosen CRM solution can fully integrate with your existing system including software and hardware. If your business has older systems and solutions in place, you may struggle to leverage the full power of your CRM solution.
  • Partnered or DIY Implementation: Depending on the size and scope of your business, it may make more sense to take a DIY approach to implementation. However, if you are new to CRM software solutions or have a mid-sized to large business, working with an implementation partner can help to ensure that you get the most out of your new CRM solution. An implementation partner can help determine your needs and ensure that your chosen CRM software can meet them. They’ll also help with training to help you and your team get acquainted with the software.

It’s important to take a proactive approach when considering CRM implementation. If the solution must allow you to be fully onboarded within a day or prefer a one-time purchase rather than a subscription, set those requirements upfront. You’ll very quickly narrow down your list of contenders and avoid getting bogged down in the sea of solutions. 

Key Takeaways

CRM solutions can help businesses enhance and simplify their customer relations strategies to facilitate stronger customer relationships, provide better support, and improve efficiency through automation. There are tons of great solutions on the market that can help to support your business. Salesforce is just one of the many CRM software solutions available, but it’s among the best. 

It’s a comprehensive solution that lets businesses build the CRM stack they need and adopt the services that will help take their business to the next level. That’s where we come in. 

Let us help.

At Forcivity, we’re CRM experts. We can help you make a decision about whether Salesforce is the right solution for you and help you get the most out of your investment. We’re dedicated to helping businesses find success with Salesforce. 

Molly McGee

Molly McGee