4 questions to ask when evaluating CRMs for a midsize business

4 questions to ask when evaluating CRMs for a midsize business

Choosing the right CRM for your midsize business can be an overwhelming responsibility.

After all, you’ve grown beyond startup mode, which means you can’t just pick the first system you come across. Your company has way too many stakeholders, departments, and moving parts. On the other hand, you are not a massive company with unlimited financial resources and in-house IT know-how. You’re somewhere in between.

Before proceeding with the CRM selection process, ask yourself these four important questions.

1. Are other midsize companies using this CRM?

Most software companies – including CRM vendors – know their ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer personalities. Marketers use these ICPs and personas to create messages that create alignment throughout the buyer journey. With that in mind, spend a few minutes on a vendor’s website and you will quickly see if your business is fitting in the right shape.

For example, imagine that a provider advertises as “CRM that helps you get from the idea to a successful start”. Obviously, this vendor’s ICP includes companies that are still in early launch mode – which your company doesn’t describe. It may be more difficult to use this solution for your needs than finding a CRM that is designed to meet the unique challenges of medium-sized businesses.

Your next step: Read numerous customer reports from various CRM providers. How many articles do other medium-sized customers illuminate? Do you notice success stories from your exact or similar industry? Your ideal provider should offer numerous examples of how they have helped other medium-sized businesses in your cohort group.

2. Is data management intuitive and customizable?

You are not bringing a man to the moon with this project. Ultimately, all you need is one easy-to-use, scalable system that lets you manage relationships, organize your data, and maximize alignment.

To achieve these goals, you need a CRM that allows you to intuitively capture and store key business information like contacts, leads, opportunities, emails, and other critical records. Retrieving data into your CRM should be easy for users and not reliant on manual data entry.

Integrations with inboxes and other systems should simplify data collection and allow users to focus on engagement. Built-in safeguards should prevent data records from being duplicated and ensure data integrity. If you can rename standard objects in your CRM (ie change “Opportunities” to “Deals”) or create your own objects, they will all speak the same language, avoiding unnecessary confusion.

Your next step: Does your current CRM make it difficult to customize objects or field labels? If you are using a table or a system that you have developed yourself, the data may be inconsistent and unreliable. Make a list of all of your current data management problems. Then identify CRM providers that offer innovative solutions to address these challenges.

3. Can we save money and improve efficiency?

Stop and think about all of the systems your teams use to manage work. An order management system. Another one for marketing campaigns. Another one for projects and personal to-do lists. The list goes on and on. Implementing the right CRM may never completely resolve your system overlap problems. That being said, there’s a good chance it can help.

For discussion purposes, let’s say your company identified Insightly CRM on its shortlist of vendors. You’re intrigued by Insightly’s built-in project and task management capabilities that may eliminate the need for your existing third-party project management system. System consolidation can provide immediate cost savings (provided you have a paid plan with the project management software provider).

Plus, you can bring your sales, marketing, and service data and teams under one roof. Instead of setting up projects manually in a separate system after opportunities have been closed (or via complex data integrations), for example, you can now convert closed deals into projects with just a few clicks.

Your next step: Ask your assistant to make a list of all your current software vendors. What exactly are you paying for? Talk to users and find out how they are using your legacy systems. Look for similar features in the CRMs you are considering. System consolidation may be able to partially (or fully) offset the cost of your CRM implementation.

4. Will this CRM adapt to our future growth?

Ideally, choosing a CRM should be a long-term decision. Regardless of how intuitive a system may be, users must be fully involved and trained. Data management and quality control procedures take time to develop, refine, and document. Not to mention that your company is constantly evolving and adapting. The last thing you want to do is switch between CRM providers every 12 to 24 months.

Choose a CRM that can handle your future growth. You may only have 50 users today, but what about five years from now? To double sales and meet your goals, you may need to adopt more SDRs and AEs. What would doubling your user base mean in terms of your annual subscription costs? More users generate more activity, create more contacts and require more data storage. Will the provider impose artificial restrictions on users based on a massive surge in record numbers? What does it cost to upgrade to a plan that offers unlimited file storage, marketing features, and integrations? Is this even possible with any provider you are considering?

Your next step: Review your business goals for the next five to ten years. Now imagine if you can successfully achieve these goals. Which CRM best suits your current and future vision of success? Do not sacrifice the future for the here and now.

Ask the right questions to find the right CRM

Ask the right questions and get your team to think critically. Critical thinking leads to more questions and healthier conversations, which over time will help you find the right CRM for your midsize business.

When you’re ready to discuss your questions with a CRM provider, request a demo from an Insightly representative. Get a free needs assessment and the opportunity to see Insightly CRM at work.

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