4 Key Questions To Ask When Choosing a CRM

By October 22, 2013 6 Comments

4 Key Questions To Ask When Choosing a CRM

A CRM is an investment in your team’s productivity, do you know what questions to ask when choosing a CRM?

Today, sales people aren’t racing back to their Rolodex’s with an ink pen dripping in their pocket to write down their most profitable client’s 30th anniversary before they forget it. Members of your sales team are walking into meetings with only a tablet in their hand. They’re conducting sales calls as they drive. (Hands free of course!) In essence, your CRM must be mobile because your sales team is.

Sadly, not all CRMs are created equal. Just because you have a system that your team uses when sitting at their desk, it doesn’t mean this system will travel or if it is mobile, that it will travel well.

To kick things off, let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing here. A CRM (customer relationship management) is a system built to manage the data accumulated in business relationships. CRMs store the details on your leads, prospects, clients, past clients and deals all in one central location. A mobile CRM packs all that power on your mobile device like a phone or a tablet.

This post will explore 4 key questions you should ask yourself when deciding on a CRM solution for your team. Let’s dive in.

1. Is The CRM Mobile Friendly?

Only 30% of all CRM licenses are ever activated. Across verticals, companies complain that they are paying too much for a product their people won’t use. What gives? Why aren’t teams using the tools that are supposed to be tailored to them?

Well, for one thing, CRMs aren’t always built for how people actually work.  How many sales people do you know who only work when they’re sitting at their desk using their desktop computer? I know zero. That’s an obvious problem. When shopping for a CRM, look for the solution that meets your team’s needs, no matter where they are. Look for a system that is easy to access on a plane, from the office, in the field, or even offline. A CRM that is accessible in the situation relevant to a reps work makes all the difference to user adoption.

2. Will Your Sales Team Actually Use It?

One of the biggest problems with CRM systems is that sales people hate using them. Companies invest major dollars into implementing a shiny new CRM that doesn’t get adopted by the team.  The problem is, no one wants to work with a confusing CRM with too many required fields. CRMs are intended to produce profits. Not by virtue of their very existence, but because they make the sales cycle smooth and they track the tasks and data relevant to closing deals. Look for the CRM with a great UX that automates tasks when possible and pushes reminders to your mobile phone.

3. How Long Does It Take To Implement?

I was once involved in a CRM implementation that took 8 months. And I’ve heard of others that have lasted much longer. What good is a CRM that you have to wait nearly a year to use? That, on top of training and extra implementation costs. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into upfront. Geoffrey James of recently shared 12 rules for a successful CRM implementation.  He offers some great tips for companies who are in the midst of a CRM rollout.

4. What Decisions Will Management Be Making Based On CRM Data?

The data that you can glean from a CRM system is only as good as the data entered. If only half of your sales force is using your CRM, how good is your data? Think about what intelligence your management team wants to get out of the CRM system – and make sure the CRM you choose will readily provide you with that insight.

Let your CRM provide you with the key reports you need. Some important reports to look out for include:

  • Sales Funnel Analysis – The sales funnel analysis report tells you where your team stands at all points in your pipeline and what your business has to lose or gain.
  • Incoming Deals Volume Report – This report breaks down the number of deals registered over a period of time and percentage of total deal count.
  • Sales Forecasting – The sales forecasting report will tell you the total value of all deals in the pipeline and how much of that amount your business can realistically expect to bring in.
  • Sales Revenue Goals – Set and monitor individual and team revenue goals over a set time period.
  • Won Deals – This report tells you the number of deals won, by team member, over any resolution period you choose.

Ultimately, it’s important that the CRM you choose works for everyone in your company; sales and account reps, managers, and the C-suite. Take your time, and be sure to test drive a couple solutions to make sure you’re selecting the CRM that works best for you. Remember, this is an investment in your company’s productivity and strategic decision-making– take the time to make the right choice.

Have further questions? Here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing the right CRM for your company. 

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Author Bio: Lauren Licata is the Content Marketing Manager at Base where she oversees all content marketing initiatives across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, and positive customer behavior. She’s interested in the intersection of social and technology. When she isn’t busy working to revolutionize the world of CRM Enterprise Software, she’s tweeting at @LaurenLicata or searching for the best burger in Chicago.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

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  • Matt Ranger says:

    Vital questions to remember – thank you Lauren! I’d advise
    that contemplating a CRM system which doesn’t include comprehensive access via
    mobile device is unnecessary – any CRM worth consideration should provide this
    as standard.

    However I would pay close attention to the point you raise
    about usability, which is a major driving force behind failed CRM projects – in
    fact it’s how we, at Maximizer CRM gain many of our clients – from
    over-complicated, unusable CRM implementations that have failed.

    I’d also possibly add a fifth question – ‘How
    often is the software updated?’ Today it’s mobile access and social media
    integration – but tomorrow who knows! I’d always take the frequency of software
    update and how the updates are informed into consideration before investing.

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  • kumar shan says:

    Hi,Thank you, your article really made a notable impact in our sales management. Yes our manager finally agreed to move-on with a alternative for CRM. Now i’m visiting my prospects with an ipad, just that.We guys are long fighting for a simple system. Finally my management heard us and upgraded, totally digitized our company activities. There is this app that we sales guys use for our field sales called contalog( You can find a list of more useful tools in this forum - its useful!.

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  • David says:

    hey, this article pretty much sums up how the good CRM system should work (especially when you’ve mentioned the importance of the reports). i’m the owner of a small company and it was really hard for me to find a suitable CRM system. now i’m using Comarch CRM mosty because of its real-time customer data, easy access to the customer account history (i’ve really been missing it before) and the social media accounts integration, which is rather important due to my company specification. i know the real struggle of finding the proper and not expensive CRM system, so i’ve decided to share my experience wit you guys – check this site and tell me what you think. maybe you could recommend even better CRM system?

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