Testing CRM Software

A lot of good CRM software companies are on the market today, but they all do things a little differently.

I outline some strategies to use so that you choose the best software for your business. Do not be afraid to ask direct, pointed questions of the CRM sales team.

Finding the right criteria for you

Every business has priorities, and those priorities influence what you want in your CRM.

Create a matrix to weigh the contenders and pick the best one.

A also includes a detailed list.

Use these criteria to judge the various CRM vendors on the market:
Capabil Does the CRM do what you need it to do? What, if any third-party integrations do you need to meet your requirements? Are there any critical “must haves” that the CRM can’t do?


Does the CRM manage opportunities easily?

Can you set up funnels?

Can you customize all the data fields you need?

Can salespeople access and update information from a mobile app, if you need that functionality?

Is it easy to see all the relevant data for selling and reporting?

Is a leaderboard available for motivating your team?


Can you easily design and send emails?

Is it easy to build automation like auto-responders and drip campaigns?

Can you build behavioral logic into your communication?

Does marketing data automatically become available to salespeople in real-time?

Can you send and receive text messages, and have those linked to contacts in the CRM?


Can you set up internal meetings and public events and track registration and attendance?

Can you automate follow-up appointments for those events?


Can you easily set up a ticketing system with follow-up automation?

Can you set up live chat and have that integrated into contact CRM records?

Do inbound call recordings and transcripts automatically get
attached to contacts?

Operations :

Do emails sent and received from your inbox attach to the CRM automatically?

Can you use a customizable dashboard to view your overall performance as a company

Laying the CRM Foundation

Determining your need for outside assistance If you don’t have any experience designing, implementing, or even using a CRM, it may make sense to hire help. If your budget allows it, hiring an expert or two could save you thousands of dollars or hours in the future.

On the other hand, if you’re reasonably business savvy and have the time set aside to work on your CRM, you may be able to do everything you need with only the help of the CRM vendor. The likelihood of requiring external help also depends on the CRM platform. A complex platform that requires a lot of external integration demands more expertise, both technical and strategic.

The first step in potentially hiring a consultant is to see whether you actually need one in the first place. Assess your team’s experience and desire to work with the CRM vendor to implement your CRM.

The next step is to examine the onboarding process with the CRM software vendor.

Depending on how complex your requirements are, how easy it is to set up the CRM, and how much external integration you need, you may not need a consultant. Your staff and the vendor’s training team should have this meaningful conversation.

If you determine you need someone to help you with your CRM, be rigorous about in finding a good consultant. This person or team should be able to facilitate discussions with your staff, help you define your processes, and set up all the components of your CRM. You and your team must trust anyone helping you to have the
experience and good intentions to guide you through a potentially big change in the way you do business.

Training: Can you set up a learning management system (LMS) for tracking onboarding and HR-related progress? Does that data automatically sync up to the CRM?

Account management: Does the CRM include project management with billing and invoicing? Can you track tasks and send invoices to clients?

Advanced analytics: Does the CRM come with predictive analytics and the ability to set up custom lead-scoring rules? Can you correlate campaigns to revenues and conversions?

Ease of use: Is the CRM easy to learn? Can you accomplish important and frequent tasks easily, without an abundance of mouse clicks? Is the system fast?

Onboarding/help: Are resources available to get you started? Does the vendor have a defined plan to help train you and your staff?

Support: How accessible is support? What methods can you use to contact support? Is support onshore or offshore

Price: How much is the setup, and what is included? Is there a per-user cost? What other incremental costs are there to consider as you grow?

Contract: Are you locked in for a long period of time? What are penalties for terminating your contract?

Reviews: You check out many websites for reviews of the vendor. What do other people say about the company? Are there significant strengths or glaring weaknesses that your sales contact can speak to?

Intangibles: The vendor relationship always has a few undefined aspects to consider. Are the company’s goals and culture in alignment with yours? Do you trust the people you talk to?

In each of these categories, break out specific details to rate each vendor. These details relate directly to your application, and can help you answer real-world problems with the CRM. Come up with a rating scale to go along with each detail, and total them for each category.

Each category also carries weight, or importance, to you. This weight determines the importance of a vendor excelling or failing at delivering something you want.

Assign a weight to each of your criteria as a way to help you find the best vendor. Eventually, you come to an answer for the best provider for your CRM software.

This decision-making process can take some time, but a little extra time upfront helps avoid a costly mistake down the road.

Start with a simple journey flow and build on it.

Getting demos from vendors should make it easy for you to see what their software looks like in real-time. If a vendor won’t show you its software platform at work with a lot of data in it, be wary.

Request a demo of an account with a lot of data in it to see how the CRM looks and functions. If the demo shows convoluted steps and clicks to accomplish common tasks, take that as a warning.

Ask a lot of questions during your demo, but be sure to communicate to the salesperson what your business is about and what is most important to you. A good CRM company should be able to offer free tools (such as e-books, whitepapers, videos, or software) to help with your decision-making process.

Laying the CRM Foundation

Welcome tools: Do helpful tools show up while you’re working in the CRM to show you how to do things? Are they easy to follow?

Help: Is it easy to find help? What kind of resources are available? If you get stuck, are support people available? Is the help you get from human support reliable and courteous?