The Ultimate CRM Buying Checklist

So you've decided to purchase customer relationship management

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For example: When speaking with vendors, make sure you ask about things such as automation, dashboard customization, third-party integrations, and whether or not they offer Android and iOS mobile applications. These are super important features that, if missing, you'll wish you had asked about before making a purchase decision. In this article, I'll explain in depth what those important features are and why you should consider them for your system.

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1. Dashboard Customization
This might not seem like a major requirement, especially for CRM newbies, but eventually you'll want to organize your lists and data in a coherent way that's specific to how your company uses the software. Imagine opening up your software each morning and having to scroll past two or three lists that aren't relevant to your work. This would be a consistent and annoying waste of time. With the best CRM tools on the market, you'll be able to customize almost every aspect of your dashboard.

For example: SCPE enables you to not only organize what you see when you log into your dashboard, but you can also add, subtract, and alter data within your charts. With SCPE, you can click on user files and add them to new opportunities, view their records, see contact information, all open activities, and view the activity history, saved emails, and files attached to the record. The Status Update box lets you add notes about your subject. What's best about this feature is that you can easily eliminate any of these fields, add more fields, or alter fields to your heart's content. This means you won't be stuck scrolling through all of this data every morning when really all you want is the information that would otherwise be buried.

Every vendor handles customization differently. Some vendors let you make changes on your own. Some require you to work with their developers to make adjustments. Talk to potential partners, ask them what they're capable of doing, and choose a company that jibes with your workflows.

2. Third-Party Integrations has the largest third-party app marketplace among CRM providers. This is an enormous help for anyone whose business is reliant on enterprise software. Think about it: You don't want to add a new CRM system to your existing software suite if the CRM system won't transfer data back and forth with your other systems. SCPE ties in nicely with tools such as MailChimpIntuit QuickBooksZendesk

Zoho CRM is also masterful when it comes to third-party tie-ins. The system integrates with all Google Apps, ClickDesk, Evernote

3. Social Networking's Chatter platform lets colleagues collaborate on projects within the confines of a Facebook-like interface. Users can share content, update team members about project statuses, or pass along lead and prospect information.

Similarly, Zoho CRM has a feature that enables its clients to monitor the social activity of leads and prospects and take advantage of new opportunities. Like HootSuitesocial listening

If team collaboration and communication are important to your company, find out what potential vendors offer and choose based on what will make your sales and service reps more productive.

4. Mobile Apps
If your potential CRM vendor doesn't have a mobile app, you should probably move along. Don't accept "Our websites are built with responsive design" as a compromise. If you want your employees taking advantage of on-the-go CRM, you'll want to provide them with a CRM suite whose app offers full functionality. Some apps offer read-only content which, quite simply, isn't good enough. offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. The mobile apps are basically replicas of the desktop app. Zoho CRM's Android and iOS apps let you view reports, access contact details, edit accounts and leads, and work with reports. Microsoft Dynamics CRM

5. Automation is Your Friend
The ability to set reminders and auto-send emails is a lifesaver for most businesses. Think about how many birthdays, campaigns, clients, leads, prospects, and upsell opportunities you would have to remember if your CRM system didn't provide auto-reminders and auto-send functionality. You would be so bogged down by following up on all of your looming communications that you'd have no time to find, groom, and close new deals.

Unfortunately, not every solution offers the kind of automation you'll need to keep moving forward. In fact, only seven of the 10 CRM systems we reviewed offer this level of automation. So be very careful before you make your final decision.

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