CRM software – What to look for ?

A customer relationship management (CRM) system enables an organization to manage their Customer relationships and sales prospects. It also uses a data-driven approach to help (sales) employees keep track of leads and valuable client information, including full names, contact information (like phone numbers, email addresses), and any previous interactions in one centralized location.

Choosing the right CRM Software for an Organization can be a real challenge !

Having been working with businesses of all sizes for many years, we know every organization has a unique process of their own, though similar to others in their industry sector, when it comes to engaging with new customers and existing customers. So using a right software can amplify that process efficiency significantly.

Many CRM software has a variety of features that can do everything from automating emails to generating real-time reports/ dashboards, showcasing business performance and other insights useful a the business. The exact offerings of each CRM software vary. It can be overwhelming with so many CRM vendors in the market, from software like Hubspot, Monday, to large ERP companies like SAP, ORACLE to companies like Salesforce offering their CRM software.

How do you find the right CRM software for your organization?

Step 1:

Start with identifying your business needs first and consider your daily activities and sales processes. It could include, management of Sales pipeline, Contact management, Lead management, Customer projects information, Marketing activities, Customer onboarding, Team tasks and any other company specific activities. Then highlight the important steps and types of customer interactions at various levels.

Step 2:

Listing out problems within your business that you want to solve to determine which CRM features are helpful.

With these considerations in mind, here are seven things to look for when choosing CRM Software:

  1. Cost, for implementation & running
  2. Scalability, for future
  3. Ease of use, from start to finish
  4. Functionality, across business processes
  5. Integrations, with other systems
  6. Security
  7. Measuring Performance & Reporting


Cost of CRM varies amongst software providers, including the functionalities/ features they offer. It also depends on,

  1. Choice of either subscription-based models or charge per each user on a monthly or yearly basis.
  2. Ongoing Maintenance, including making sure that all of yours & customers data is up-to-date, always.
  3. Frequency of upgrades & associated costs to business


In today’s business growth context, scalability is very important. For a growing organization, it means that the CRM can cater to increase in user base and also in business needs and requirements in the future. Whether you need the core features or the full set, and whether you have 10 or 500 users, the CRM can adapt within moments and with a few clicks. Evaluate How easy is it to upgrade the CRM s/w scaling up on increase in user base.

Ease of use:

Evaluate How easy is it to set up the CRM s/w and usage by the users from start to finish of their processes.


Evaluate which functionalities your organization needs from the CRM software and how well do available features in a particular CRM s/w map your needs.  Consider relationship-building features, such as Follow-up reminders, quick summary & detailed views of every client, email management to communicate with clients etc.


Evaluate how easy is it to integrate the CRM s/w with other business systems the organizations use internally and connecting with external systems, from start to finish of their processes. Also, evaluate how easy it is to maintain those integrations after the software upgrades by the software vendors.


Security became paramount important factor for any and every software being used in an organization, be it data/ information security or cyber security, preventing unauthorised access and usage of business sensitive and critical information. An organization’s first and foremost want is it’s data to be safe.

So evaluate how the CRM provides a safe and secure system, incorporated with functionalities like, user authentication with permissions, Data encryption and strong password features, Compliance with regulations (for example, GDPR), Regular data back-ups & quick recovery.

Performance & Reporting:

Tracking your business metrics will help you determine whether your CRM strategy is working. Some industry standard metrics your business could consider are,

  • Close rate: The % of deals closed, compared to the number of leads in the pipeline.
  • Upsell rate: The % of customers, purchasing additional Services or products from your company.
  • Net-new revenue: The amount of revenue ££ generated from ‘new customers’
  • Duration of each sales pipeline stages: The average time for a lead to move through each stage of the sales pipeline end-to-end.
  • Duration of Sales cycle: The average time it takes to close a deal.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total amount of money a customer is expected to spend on your services or products over the engagement lifetime.
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): The cost of acquiring a new customer.
  • Revenue generated by campaign: The amount of revenue generated by a specific marketing campaign.
  • Email list growth rate: The rate at which your email list is growing.
  • Net promoter score (NPS): A measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction, considering your promoters & dissuaders.
  • Churn rate: The percentage of customers, who stop doing business with you.
  • Average time to resolution: The average time it takes to resolve a customer ‘complaint or issue or problem or support’ ticket, end-to-end.
  • Average number of follow-ups per ticket: The average number of times a customer ticket is reopened, before final closure.

Start with, setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Relevant, and Timely) and assign key performance indicators (KPIs) to each goal. Ensure these KPIs are quantifiable measures used to determine, how well your company meets those goals set.

By assigning KPIs to your goals, you can track your progress and make informed decisions supported with data, always!

Choosing metrics relevant to your  organization can help in deciding a CRM whether it provides those metrics or not. Later, tracking these metrics can help you determine how well your chosen CRM system is working and whether your goals set are being met or not.

It should be able to generate reports showing your KPIs & Goals, customizable to fit your sales cycles. It could show & edit deal stages, add as many columns as you’d like, manage multiple pipelines at once, and more. It should be able to easily build dashboards in real time with no/ less development help, with ability to gain insights into where deals stand, expected revenue, your team’s performance etc.

CRM reporting should help businesses and salespeople track goals, identify problems, and create or improve effective strategies, including tracking key metrics such as customer acquisition, retention, and churn, as well as identify trends and patterns in customer behaviour.

CRM reports & dashboards should help in tracking the metrics over a certain period using visuals like charts, graphs, numbers for measures like Sales Funnel, Win-Loss, Sales Forecast, Revenue expected/generated etc.

In summary,

A CRM system you implement should be a combination of your customer contact database and a dynamic productivity tool. So choose a CRM that lets you build relationships with your clients, and help you differentiate your business from competitors and grow profits.

Happy CRM !

– By, R Vetsa @ VCSL

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