There are hundreds of CRM systems on the market. Although it's true that some are outright terrible, it's usually horses for courses. It's more about how the CRM you're considering fits your business. After it's all said and done, CRMs typically fall into four categories.
CRM is tacked onto another system as an additional "feature"
They store contact information
All they do is store contact information
Price guide: Included Examples: any ERP or Account system claiming to have a built-in CRM.
A basic "plug and play" solution.
They “work how they work” with limited customisation
Cloud-based & Mobile
Usually don’t integrate with other business systems
Good for basic lead, opportunity and account management
They’re usually a short-term “bandaid” solution and don’t scale up well as business requirements evolve
Examples: PipeDrive, CapsuleCRM Price Guide: $10 - $50 per user, per month
Some Industries have “all-in-one” CRM tools that can run many functions within a business. They leverage industry knowledge and best-practices to design what they see as the best way of operating in that vertical.
They can be well thought through and align with industry norms
You have to change the way you operate to align with the way the system works
They can remain isolated from other business systems or can cost a lot to integrate with less-robust APIs
They’re typically smaller niche players meaning they’re potentially vulnerable to lack of investment in development and support
Examples: Fergus Trade Software, Infinitylaw Price Guide: $20 - $60 per user, per month
Leading cloud technology platforms empowering businesses to build processes across almost any function from marketing and sales, through to service and project management.
Heavily customisable - with an underlying platform that can be developed on with clicks or code
They’re not cheap
Trustworthy - with multiple data centers, robust security, strong customer support and local sales representatives and consulting partners
They can be a challenge to evaluate feature-for-feature - often it’s only when you try to implement them that you realise their unique strengths, quirks and limitations
Constantly evolving - with multiple releases each year keeping their customers at the forefront
They act as a set of tools to build with. Customisation is required to drive value from the investment
One platform - that either integrates with or natively handles virtually all business functions
Examples: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Price guide: $50 - $250 per user, per month
Decide from the outset which CRM camp you fall into, and then evaluate competing solutions. Compare a Ferrari against a Maserati, not a Ford.
It's easy for a CRM to become an expensive cloud-rolodex. CRM systems only deliver on their transformational potential when everyone from CEO to the sales floor are actually using the system in the right way. Below are the keys to getting everyone on the CRM bus from the outset:
You need a document signed. Maybe it's a contract. A disclosure statement. It could be anything. You attach it to an email and send it to your client. Your client prints it out and completes it. They sign it, scan it, attach it to an email and send it back. You print it and give it to your admin team. They double enter the data back into your system and file it. What a horrendous waste of time.