4 questions to ask when evaluating CRMs for a midsize business


Selecting the right CRM for your midsize business can seem like an overwhelming responsibility.

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

Before going any further in the CRM selection process, ask yourself these four important questions.

1. Do other midsize companies use this CRM?

Most software companies—CRM vendors included—are well aware of their ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas. Marketers use these ICPs and personas to craft messaging that creates alignment throughout the buyer journey. Spend a few minutes on a vendor’s website with this in mind, and you’ll quickly learn if your company fits the mold.

For example, imagine that a vendor touts itself as the “CRM to help you go from idea to successful launch.” Obviously, this vendor’s ICP includes companies that are still in early startup mode—which does not describe your business. Making this solution work for your needs might be more difficult than finding a CRM that’s built for the unique challenges of midsize companies.

Your next move: Read plenty of customer stories from a variety of CRM vendors. How many articles spotlight other midsize customers? Do you notice any success stories from your exact or similar industry? Your ideal vendor should offer numerous examples of how they have helped other midsize companies in your cohort group.

2. Is data management intuitive & customizable?

You’re not putting a man on the moon with this project. At the end of the day, you just need an easy-to-use, scalable system that can help you manage relationships, organize your data, and maximize alignment.

To achieve these goals, you need a CRM that provides an intuitive way to collect and store essential business information, such as contacts, leads, opportunities, emails, and other important records. Getting data into your CRM should be easy for users and not dependent on manual data entry.

Integrations to inboxes and other systems should simplify data collection, allowing users to stay focused on engagement. Built-in safeguards should prevent record duplication and ensure data integrity. And, being able to rename standard objects in your CRM (i.e., changing “Opportunities” to “Deals”) or creating your own objects gets everyone talking the same language, eliminating unnecessary confusion.

Your next move: Does your current CRM make it difficult to customize objects or field labels? Or, if you’re using a spreadsheet or home-grown system, perhaps data is inconsistent and unreliable. Make a list of all of your current data management headaches. Then, identify CRM vendors who offer innovative solutions for overcoming these challenges.

3. Can we save money & improve efficiency?

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

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that your company has identified Insightly CRM on its shortlist of vendors. You’re intrigued by Insightly’s built-in project and task management features, which could potentially eliminate the need for your existing third-party project management system. System consolidation could deliver immediate cost savings (assuming that you’re on a paid plan with the project management software vendor).

In addition, you will be able to align your sales, marketing, and service data and teams under one roof. For example, instead of manually setting up projects in a separate system after opportunities close (or via complex data integrations), you’re now able to convert closed-won deals into projects with a few clicks.

Your next move: Ask your assistant to prepare a list of all your current software vendors. What exactly are you paying for? Talk to users and find out how they’re using your legacy systems. Look for similar functionality in the CRMs that you’re considering. Maybe system consolidation could partially (or completely) offset the cost of your CRM implementation.

4. Will this CRM scale to align with our future growth?

Ideally, selecting a CRM should be a long-term decision. No matter how intuitive a system might be, users must be fully onboarded and trained. Data management and quality control procedures take time to develop, refine, and document. Not to mention, your business is constantly evolving and adapting. The last thing you want to do is jump between CRM vendors every 12 to 24 months.

Pick a CRM that can handle your future growth. You may only have 50 users today, but what about five years from now? To double revenue and hit your goals, you may need to bring on more SDRs and AEs. What would doubling your user base do to your annual subscription cost? More users generate more activity, create more contacts, and require more data storage. Will the vendor place artificial restrictions on users based on a massive uptick in record count? What would be the cost of upgrading to a plan that offers unlimited file storage, marketing capabilities, and integrations? Is this even possible with every vendor that you’re considering?

Your next move: Revisit your corporate goals for the next five to ten years. Now, imagine that you’re successful in realizing those goals. Which CRM most closely aligns with your current and future vision of success? Don’t 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 thinking critically. Critical thinking leads to more questions and healthier conversations, which, in time, help you hone in on the right CRM for your midsize business.

If you’re ready to discuss your questions with a CRM provider, then request a demo with an Insightly rep. You’ll get a free needs assessment and a chance to see Insightly CRM at work.


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