CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are really important when it comes to growing your company.  Many small companies start out thinking they won’t need it.  They use excel spreadsheets, and perhaps this will get you by for a little while.  But as you add more people to your team, you will all have to use a system to manage information and your potential prospect opportunities.

We’re all human beings and we can all forget things!  CRM systems are a great way to store information so that you can use it effectively to win more business. 

When the time comes to make this investment, many small business owners tell me they don’t know which one to choose, and the choices can feel overwhelming. 

What are the key things to consider when it’s time to choose one?  How should you pick a system for your business? 

Here are six things you need to think about and put in place in order to make sure you choose the right system for you.


Define Your Objectives

Simply put, what do you want to gain from the CRM system?

Create a list of three different categories when they start to think about what it is that you want from the system.

  1. The Must-Haves: What must this system have in order for it to be worth an investment of time and money?
  2. Second-Level Priorities: What things would be good if it could, but is not essential.
  3. Nice-to-Haves: In an ideal would you would like your chosen system to have these features.


I encourage you to write down the must’s, could’s and be-nice-to’s before you start looking at investing in a CRM system. Write it all down and get clarity on what you want first.


Make Sure You Are An Active User

If you’re the business owner or the sales director reading this, and you don’t use the CRM system, then don’t expect anyone else in your business to use it!

If you don’t lead from the front and make sure you are an active user of that system, then your sales team are certainly not going to do it.

I typically see a good split between business owners who think CRM’s are either a waste of time or a way of life. You can’t expect to see a return on the investment of time and money on your CRM system unless your team are able to follow your lead and it’s actively used across your business. If you are networking and winning new business, update the CRM! When your team see’s you updating the system, they know they need to be doing it.

My biggest advice to you is lead from the front. That is why that list of must-haves is essential so that you can use the system effectively. Become an expert at the system that you use, and your team will start to follow.


Explain Why It Is Important

I’ve never met a salesperson anywhere in any walk of life or any company who loves the idea of updating a CRM. It’s an administrative hassle, and it’s quite simply boring!

When they understand the reasons why they have to do it, they then will accept that it’s something they must do. Explain to your team that you can’t grow as a company, you can’t offer more incentives, and you can’t help them to build their career without having a centralised system that records opportunities.

Give them the reasons and explain how it’s going to remind them of opportunities, help them make more commission, and help make sure they nudge the prospects or customers at the right time.

It will make them see that there’s a reason for them doing it, but you have to explain why it’s important for them and the company to have it in place. They will be more inclined to then understand and look at using the system when it is implemented.


Get Your Team Involved

When you are looking at choosing a CRM system for your business, get your team involved.  If you are a slightly larger organisation and you’re embarking on finding a new system, bring in a variety of team members, each from different departments, to workshop and look at the new system.

Involve them in the process and ask their opinions.  If you enforce a system on a team which may not meet their needs, there is a certain negative outcome ahead of you.  On the other hand, you can involve them in the process, take their feedback on board, and make them feel like they’re being consulted.  This will make the system implementation more successful, putting you in a better position to see a return on the investment that you’re making.


Trial And Test​

When you have created your list of features and what you’re looking for, spend a couple of weeks trying and testing out different systems out there. Don’t just pick a system because someone’s recommended it! It might well work for their company, but not necessarily for yours.

Most CRM companies will give you a 14-day or 30-day trial. Take the opportunity to experience the system and give it a good play. Make sure you put together a key set of metrics and information to know how you’re going to see which one is successful or not.

Bring your team together to make sure that they all have a chance to test, play and give their feedback on what they liked about it and what they didn’t.

If you try and test these you will get a far better experience of how they operate and whether it’s going to be a good fit and worthwhile investment for your business.


How Can You Monitor Activity?

Once you have made your choice about which system you’re going to use, then you should look at how you can incentivise and monitor activity on the system itself. For example, a sales teams that I work with will encourage people with little mini prizes for someone that’s updated the CRM system every day. I’ve done an activity where we’ve done a voucher for anyone that has updated and logged into the CRM and updated a deal or action on a daily basis.

You also need to monitor what is happening in the CRM system. Most CRM systems will give you the ability to see who’s logged in and who hasn’t. Use that information to have one-to-one conversations and find out why they’re not using the system. What’s stopping them from doing that? What’s getting in the way? Maybe you haven’t explained the reasons to them or they just don’t understand the benefits?

Whatever it is, monitor what’s happening and encourage people to realise that they need to use it to help the business grow. Monitor the usage of the system and if you notice people are not using it try to find out why and remove the barriers. If you do this, you have a far better chance to get a successful implementation.