Mastering CRM Evaluation: A Guide for Your CRM Evaluation Teams

Best Practices

The importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software across different industries and business environments is hard to ignore. CRM software is pivotal in managing and optimizing customer interactions throughout the entire lifecycle. It automates customer interaction processes, captures crucial customer data for analysis, and streamlines workflows. 

Evaluating a CRM system is vital for any company in industries such as manufacturing, consulting, professional services, media and advertising, non-profit, technology, and many others. This evaluation provides a better understanding of whether the CRM aligns with the company’s overall CRM strategy and if it offers the necessary features to manage, cultivate, and nurture customer interactions, transactions, and relationships.

There are two types of CRM evaluation teams: (1) evaluation teams for CRM selection and (2) evaluation teams for CRM performance. Let’s take a deeper look at both.

CRM Evaluation Team for CRM Selection 

When conducting a CRM evaluation, the focus is often on the selection criteria. Selection ordinarily encompasses several CRM discovery questions aimed at understanding the system’s capability to handle and facilitate the specific customer management needs of the business. Questions may focus on features like customization, integration capabilities, database management, data security, analytical tools, and customer autoreactivity to the feedback. Companies might find establishing a CRM evaluation checklist helpful to rate and review different systems comprehensively. Some items for your checklist might be:

CRM Customization

A one-size-fits-all approach may not be suitable for every business, and the ability to customize a CRM system to align with unique processes and requirements can significantly enhance its effectiveness, making CRM customization a crucial aspect of the CRM evaluation process. 

A customized CRM offers solutions tailored to meet the distinctive needs of a particular business. It adapts to the company’s environment rather than forcing it to accommodate the tool. Presenting a solution that fits the unique needs of a business provides more capability to optimize workflows, maintain customer relationships, and convert leads into customers. 

CRM Integrations 

CRM integrations can be another crucial aspect in determining the effectiveness and usability of the system in streamlining activities and improving customer experience. The ability to integrate with other business systems like marketing automation tools, financial management software, and customer support systems is essential. Insightly offers robust integration capabilities with various third-party applications, including Gmail, Slack, Salesloft, and QuickBooks

Ease of User Adoption

The success of a CRM system is determined by user adoption. The tool must be user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate. It should also provide adequate training resources and customer support to enable users to leverage the system effectively. Insightly offers an easy-to-use and navigate platform, making it easy for teams to adopt and actually want to use.

Reporting and Analytics 

Reporting and analytics capabilities are essential in measuring the success of a CRM system. The ability to generate reports and analytics helps businesses make data-driven decisions and improve customer engagement. Insightly offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities, including customizable dashboards, real-time reporting, and visual analytics.

Data Security 

Data security is more important than ever, especially as businesses evaluate CRM systems. Consider a tool with robust security features that protect customer data from data breaches and cyber-attacks. 

Insightly offers advanced data encryption, two-factor authentication, and role-based access control to ensure secure data.  Unlike most CRMs, Insightly is also HIPAA compliant. 

Mobile Access 

With the increasing presence of mobile devices in the workplace, having a CRM system that is accessible on mobile devices is essential. Insightly offers a mobile app on Android and iOS devices, enabling users to stay connected with their customers and teams from anywhere. 

The CRM Planning Process

In the CRM planning process, understanding what the solution offers is but just one side of the coin. On the other hand, comprehension of what the organization needs is equally important. 

This CRM planning process involves identifying the business goals, mapping the customer journey, understanding the key touchpoints, and deciding what data points must be captured. 

The process significantly influences the CRM selection criteria and facilitates structured CRM discovery questions, helping ensure that the selected solution aligns optimally with the business’s processes, strategy, and goals.

In essence, the function and benefits of a CRM system are far-reaching. A well-chosen CRM system might significantly bolster productivity and efficiency, enhance customer relations, support the growth of customer loyalty and satisfaction, and streamline the process of finding, capturing, and converting leads. However, without pertinent and detailed CRM evaluation, realizing these benefits and seeing a positive return on investment is challenging. 

CRM Evaluation Team for CRM Performance

Once a CRM has been selected, the work is not quite done. Now, it’s time to set up a team to evaluate the performance of the tool. A CRM evaluation team is essential for thoroughly analyzing CRM performance, considering quantitative and qualitative factors. This should be done periodically on a cadence agreed to by all parties.

Building a Team: Key Stakeholders to Include for Effective CRM Performance Evaluation

The composition of a CRM evaluation team can vary based on the organization. However, a few key roles and stakeholders are beneficial to include on your evaluation team for CRM performance.

Project Manager: A project manager oversees the evaluation process, ensuring that tasks are assigned, deadlines are met, and the evaluation stays on track. They help to coordinate efforts and manage communications within the team.

IT Specialists: Including IT professionals on the team is essential for evaluating technical aspects of the CRM software, such as integration capabilities, data security, and overall system performance. They can assess the compatibility of the CRM solution with existing IT infrastructure.

Sales and Marketing Representatives: Representatives from sales and marketing teams are valuable members as they primarily use CRM tools. Their insights into how the CRM system aligns with sales and marketing processes and its impact on lead generation, customer acquisition, and campaign management are crucial.

Customer Service Representatives: Including representatives from customer service or support teams allows deeper insights into how the CRM system supports customer service activities, tracks customer interactions, and helps in issue resolution.

Collaboration among these roles ensures that the evaluation process considers technical, functional, user experience, and strategic aspects of the CRM software. 

Measuring CRM Performance

Tracking key performance indicators like customer satisfaction scores, retention rates, lead conversion ratios, and average deal sizes gives your CRM evaluation team more data for CRM performance. This allows the team to better align the tool with organizational objectives. These quantitative and qualitative metrics, like user adoption rates, provide a holistic view of CRM success

Having a CRM evaluation team to review performance is crucial for several reasons:

Objective Assessment: An evaluation team can provide an unbiased and objective assessment of the CRM software’s performance. This helps avoid subjective opinions and ensures the evaluation is based on data.

Identification of Patterns and Trends: The team can monitor performance metrics to identify patterns and trends over time. As patterns emerge, businesses can better understand how the CRM solution evolves and whether it consistently meets organizational objectives. This insight is valuable for making informed decisions about the CRM’s optimization or potential replacement.

Alignment with Organizational Objectives: The evaluation team can align CRM performance metrics with organizational objectives. By doing so, businesses can ensure that the CRM solution contributes to achieving strategic goals. This alignment is crucial for maximizing the value derived from CRM investments.

User Adoption Rates: Qualitative factors, such as user adoption rates, are essential for understanding how well employees incorporate CRM tools into their daily operations. The evaluation team can assess whether users find value in the software, and if not, they can recommend additional training or modifications to enhance user satisfaction and productivity.

Continuous Improvement: The evaluation team also plays a vital role in constantly improving CRM processes. By identifying areas for optimization based on performance metrics, the team can recommend adjustments, updates, or even the adoption of new features to enhance the CRM solution’s effectiveness.

Organizations can make data-driven decisions regarding their CRM strategy with a dedicated CRM performance evaluation team. This approach ensures that decisions are based on data rather than assumptions, leading to more informed choices and resource allocations.

Evaluating CRM Performance: The Importance of ROI 

Return on Investment (ROI) is an important factor in CRM evaluation as your evaluation team seeks to better understand the performance of the selected CRM. A cost-benefit analysis involves comparing the costs associated with implementing and maintaining the CRM system to the benefits derived from increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and enhanced sales and marketing outcomes.

ROI evaluation should consider both tangible and intangible benefits. Tangible benefits include increased revenue, cost savings, and efficiency gains. Effective CRM systems should demonstrate a positive long-term impact on an organization’s bottom line. Intangible benefits involve improvements in customer relationships, brand reputation, and employee satisfaction. 

Insightly users experience a significantly shorter time to ROI (as little as half the time required by major competitors such as Salesforce and HubSpot). This accelerated time to ROI is a critical factor in measuring the success of a CRM system by your CRM evaluation team.

Put Insightly on your CRM evaluation list

Sell smarter, grow faster, and build lasting customer relationships with Insightly. Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo-on-demand at your convenience, or request a personalized demo to see how Insightly can be the one-stop shop for your CRM evaluation team.