When you’re choosing CRM software, you need to find something that serves the needs of both your sales and marketing teams.

There are so many choices out there, it can be difficult to know where to turn. So perhaps your search shouldn’t start with your software at all. Instead, start by assessing your sales and marketing teams, and their needs, processes and goals.

Once you understand the needs of your team, it’s much easier to find the software that will suit them.

What is CRM software?

CRM stands for ‘Customer Relationship Management’. It allows you to manage the interactions between your business and your customer to create personalised buying journeys that take your prospects right through every stage of the buying cycle.

CRM software can manage customer data such as contact details, but also has the power to manage marketing campaigns and improve sales pipeline efficiency through automation; and sales effectiveness by offering better communication and analytics.

Here’s how you can choose the best CRM software for your business.

Step 1: Assess the needs of your business and your teams

Your business, and your sales and marketing teams all have the same general goal: to make more money. But your business, and your sales and marketing teams all have very different needs.

You should start by assessing what everyone needs:

  • What are your goals?
  • Does all the customer information need to be in the one place?
  • How many employees will need access to the system?
  • Will your software need to integrate with other systems such as email or accounting systems? (We highly recommend this).
  • Do you have the technical and change management capability to implement internally?
  • Are you open to training, and are you capable of managing the change within your business?
  • How much customisation is required?
  • What security and privacy features do you require?
    What is your budget?

Sales needs:

  • Are you already using lead management software? If so, what’s working or not working?
  • Would you need to have sales content readily accessible?
  • Is the visibility of your sales process, pipeline and activities important?
  • Do you need your sales team to be able to track customer communications?
  • Will you need to automate repetitive sales tasks?

Marketing needs:

  • Would you like to be able to manage, create and publish campaign on the one platform?
  • Do you need to be able to automate content and workflows for lead nurturing?

The answers to these questions will inform your decisions about what CRM software will best suit the needs of your business, and your teams.

Step 2: Run a sales and marketing workshop

Your software needs to allow your sales and marketing teams to collaborate so that they can achieve the best results for your business.

Make sure that your teams have discussed and are united on their goals and how they plan to achieve them. A strategy workshop can help your team highlight any alignment issues that may be having a negative impact on your business growth.

  • The workshop should aim to answer the following questions:
  • How are your sales and marketing teams organised?
  • What conversations are they having? (Are they sharing information, data and insights?)
  • What conversations do you want them to be having?
  • Are your sales and marketing teams collaborating with one another and your business as a whole?
  • How are you measuring the success of your marketing campaigns?
  • Are your marketing team’s measurements for success aligning with your sales team’s measurements for success?

Make sure to set yourself some growth targets that your CRM can help you achieve.

You should also set yourself some growth targets that you the CRM will enable while you are reflecting on your current and future success states.

10 features that all CRM's should have for Sales and Marketing requirements

Sales Features Marketing Features
1. Deal stages 1. Campaign management, planning and reporting
2. Sales reporting dashboard 2. SEO integration
3. Task management 3. Advertising integration
4. Document, template, canned snippets library 4. Email marketing - regular templated and automated trigger based
5. Automatic activity capture for calls, emails etc 5. Social media integration
6. Reporting scalability 6. Website landing and thank you pages
7. Personalised email sequences 7. Lead capture – CTA’s and forms
8. Email integration 8. Blogs
9. Meeting scheduling 9. Chat bots and live chat
10. Quoting and ERP integration 10. Workflows for trigger-based marketing

Step 3: Assign project responsibility

The best teams start with strong leadership.

Set up a ‘project champion’ who will be in charge of creating and managing teams for your projects. This project campion should be able to direct your team to achieve work within a given time-frame and budget.

Set your project champion up for success by supplying them with a clear description that outlines the needs, goals and intended outcomes for the project.

Step 4: Try before you buy

Most CRM systems offer a ‘freemium’ service which allows you to try the software before your buy it.

The offer may not allow access to all the features, but it will give you a good idea of the fundamental features, and how the software works. Try a few out before making a commitment. Finding a ‘good’ CRM system doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a better one.

During this trial period you should also get to know the software provider:

  • How quickly do they respond to queries?
  • How helpful are they in answering your questions?
  • Do they supply solid technical information?

You’re going to be working with them for a long time, so it’s important that you know that you can develop a good working relationship with your provider.

Most CRM software companies supply testimonials on their websites, but of course websites are only going to display their best reviews, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper. Plenty of independent websites and forums will offer you less biased reviews and insights.

You could also try contacting other companies within your network for an independent assessment of their software, or even contact sales staff for the CRM company for expert information.

You should aim to collect as much information about your provider as you can before making a decision.

Step 5: Your CRM software should act as the centre of your digital transformation

Your software should offer a range of tools and resources for anything from single-customer insights, all the way through to the aggregation of channels and geographies. It should assist you in creating customer-centric sales and marketing strategies, and should be able integrate with other business systems.

When choosing a CRM software to suit your business, you need to make sure that the software’s internal capabilities match with your outcome expectations. After all, the best software in the world isn’t going to be much use to you if it can’t achieve your goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Assess the needs of your sales and marketing teams to help you decide on a CRM system that suits your needs.
  • Organise workshops to align sales and marketing functions that will help you decide on the most appropriate software.
  • Do your research and trial a few systems before making a decision.

CRM systems encourage collaboration  

The best CRM systems offer features that suit both your sales and marketing teams, and allow them to collaborate on your projects. Sales and marketing alignment allows teams within a business to share insight and information, and work together to produce data-driven content and sales processes.

Want to know how to align your teams so that you can achieve the best results for your business?

Click here for the ultimate guide to B2B sales and marketing alignment

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