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Choosing the best CRM for your business

Updated: Apr 15

A customer relationship management (CRM) system centralises your customer information and can help optimise and automate marketing, sales and customer services, helping to drive your sales and customer retention.

As your CRM helps you to manage all your engagement with both existing customers and potential new ones, it needs to fit in with your company’s unique requirements. It’s therefore important to ensure that the CRM you choose will work for your company.

Here is a checklist of typical CRM requirements that you can use to guide your thought process on your own company’s particular needs.

Best CRM checklist

Sales force automation (SFA) offers a range of functions that automate your everyday sales tasks, including contacting prospective customers, and helping your sales team to convert leads into sales by enabling them to track their interactions and prompting them when they need to follow up.

Contact management centralises all your customer contact information, replacing Outlook contact lists, personal address books, scattered spreadsheets or even handwritten post-it notes! It stores names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses for your all your customers, prospective customers, sales leads and even suppliers. Even better, contact management tools also record the details of any of your customer engagement, helping employees to manage appointments, and allowing others in the organisation the ability to pick up a conversation if the key contact is unavailable. Sales opportunity tracking helps your sales team to track and drive every step in the sales process. It follows each new business prospect throughout the sales pipeline, providing you with up-to-date information about current and future sales revenue, as well as the ability to compare the performance of sales team members.

Marketing automation offers a variety of tools to help improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts. Typically this will include targeting specific segments of your customer base, setting up of autoresponders and managing multichannel campaigns.

Marketing tracking allows you to analyse the results of a campaign, which helps you to make decisions about what activities work and which need refinement. You can compare performance by channel, therefore better understanding what works for you, be it email, advertising, direct mail or social media.

Lead management includes functions for generating leads (such as by pulling data from an online form on your website), as well as prioritising them and automatically assigning them to a specific salesperson.

Customer service. A good CRM system should help your company better support existing customers, thus improving customer satisfaction and retention. Customer service personnel can quickly and easily create and track support cases in response to customer issues. When customers contact the company, the system should be able to quickly retrieve all the relevant customer and case information, allowing you to deal with them efficiently.

Some CRM systems offer self-service features that allow customers to create and track customer service cases themselves via an online helpdesk, which can improve customer satisfaction and lighten the load on your customer-service department.

Knowledge management helps companies to capture and share employee knowledge and experience. This can help to improve company performance by highlighting what works and identifying bottlenecks in your processes. It also assists in the creation of a learning organisation, allowing you to retain valuable experience even after an employee has left or retired.

Workflow automation handles mundane and repetitive tasks, such as scheduling appointments and sending reminders, freeing up employees so that they can focus on more profitable tasks.

Data management. A CRM holds some of the companies most important data, so it’s important to share the insights it provides across the organisation. Integrating a CRM with other ERP systems enables companies to maximise the value of the entire system.

Business intelligence built into a CRM allows you to interrogate the data in the system to get the answers you need to make better business decisions. A good CRM should help answer these questions, providing customised reports, analytics and dashboards.

Mobile support allows the CRM to be available to every user, wherever they are. This is particularly useful for field sales teams as they can access up-to-the minute data while on the road.

A good CRM should provide data security to ensure privacy and compliance, as well as for your competitive advantage. Cloud-based solutions often offer enhanced security, as they provide resources and expertise that offers better security than most businesses can build themselves.

Easy data migration. Whichever CRM system you choose, you will need to migrate all the data from your existing applications. When choosing a CRM, it's important to assess how easy or difficult that process may be. Ideally, the migration process should be fairly seamless, ensuring your data isn't corrupted or lost in the migration process.

NetSuite’s CRM functionality

NetSuite’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution helps companies manage all their engagement with existing and potential customers, and suppliers in a single place. With all the capabilities of a traditional CRM solution, NetSuite CRM provides a seamless flow of information across the entire customer lifecycle — from lead all the way through to opportunity, order, fulfilment, renewal, upsell, cross-sell and support.

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