How to choose a CRM for your business?

In a world in full digital transformation and automation of the different sectors of the company, choosing a CRM software adapted to your company is essential. Whether in sales, management or marketing, computer programs can collect and use customer data to improve the responsiveness and quality of the customer experience.


Various advantages are put forward by each manufacturer, at prices that vary from free to very (very!) expensive. The goal is that at the end of our article, you will know which solution is best suited to your needs, in the hope of an optimal return on investment.


What is CRM Software?


To introduce our article, it is necessary to return to a point of semantics: what exactly is CRM software? CRM is the acronym for “Customer RelationShip Management”. In French, we can translate CRM by GRC: “Management of Customer Relationship”.


In summary, the function of CRM software is to centralize all the commercial data acquired on your company's contacts (customers and prospects). You can record in a CRM the proportion of commercial e-mails opened by a contact, the history of his messages sent to the after-sales service, the amount of money he has already spent on your services, the last article he adds to his basket without finishing his order, etc.


Why use CRM software?


CRM software provides a better experience for your contacts, whether they are prospecting or already using your services. You have to visualize the sales process as a path that your contact takes to get from point A to point B. Point B is the purchase of your services. Point A may be the previous purchase, in the case of a customer, or the discovery of your business with regard to a prospect.


Along the way, your contact goes through different stages. We talk about “commercial pipeline” or “sales funnel”. A sales funnel can for example look like this:

  • Step 1: Discover your website
  • Step 2: Subscribe to the newsletter
  • Step 3: Consulting the presentation page of a product
  • Step 4: Access to a payment page
  • Step 5: Making the first purchase

At each stage, there are technical means to record the passage of each of your contacts. Once done, the CRM software sorts your contacts according to their situation in this funnel.


Thanks to this sorting, you can personalize your commercial approaches and send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.


What organizations benefit from using CRM software?

In fact, all businesses benefit from using CRM software.


If you are independent, and you only deal with a few customers a year, there are manufacturers like HubSpot that offer free solutions. Distributed functionalities are sufficient in principle to increase the productivity of VSEs and micro-entrepreneurs.


As a freelancer, you can manage the information collected on your contacts in detail. Including in real life (like at an entrepreneur show). You can write personalized notes for each client. Track their overall social media activity at a glance, keep track of your phone calls with them, manage your upcoming interview schedule. Or even use an integrated messaging system that tracks e-mail openings... All this happens on a centralized platform, which facilitates organization and avoids data loss.


If, on the other hand, you have a company that manages lists of several tens, hundreds or thousands of contacts, equipping yourself with CRM software becomes almost imperative. Indeed, at this scale, gathering information about each of your leads with pen and paper simply becomes impossible.


Finally, even a non-profit organization can equip itself with CRM software, knowing that such a tool facilitates the recruitment of new employees and the collection of donations.


What are the advantages of the specialized CRM application over the simple spreadsheet?

Old habits die hard. As a CRM solution, there are still entrepreneurs who choose to use Excel or G-Sheet sheets. To centralize customer data, what advantages does specialized software have over a simple spreadsheet? There are mainly 3:


Data protection

Your CRM data is a significant part of the value of your business. Are you confident that this data can be exported with a simple copy-paste? Isn't it a risk if a malicious person gets their hands on your Excel sheet?


Serious CRM software sets up various safeguards to preventdata you most want to be protected from being deleted or transferred without your permission.


If you are several users of the same software, within the same company, you can configure the rights of each team to consult and/or alter different types of information about your prospects.


Data logging

It is very complex, if not almost impossible to fully take into account the time factor in the retrieval of customer data on an Excel spreadsheet. However, this factor is essential to take into account in the management of the customer relationship, and this at multiple levels.


For example, it is useful to know when was the last email opened by a prospect before contacting him again. It can also be useful to measure the resolution time of a customer ticket to assess the performance of your after-sales service. These are two illustrations among many others…


Unlike a spreadsheet like Excel, CRM software automatically dates all the data it collects.


Data processing integrations and automation

Finally, CRM software, unlike simple dashboards, works in direct communication with the tools whose data it processes:


  • Want to know who opens your emails? Integrate your software with an e-mailing solution like MailChimp
  • Want to know which pages are visited by your most zealous customers? Integrate your software with Google Analytics
  • Do you want to keep track of all your customer tickets for after-sales service? Integrate your software with a CMS like Shopify

The possibilities for integration with third-party applications are almost endless. Your CRM tool allows you to centralize data scattered across your various tools automatically. Implementing a CRM project management solution in its structure saves time on the return on investment.


Note also that the CRM software also facilitates the use of this database. Indeed, on CRM software, each member of a company can have their account and connect to the platform. This allows everyone to consult the same version of the client file in real time.


This way, you avoid unnecessary email exchanges, which are both poorly secured, time-consuming and confusing. A customer relationship management tool saves time in project management.


Knowing that now there are CRM tools that are both simple to learn and free, there is no longer any reason not to take the plunge.


The 4 factors to consider to find the right CRM solution for your needs

As we said in the introduction, the CRM tools offer covers a wide price range and contains many different features. To find the right tool for you, there are 4 essential factors to consider:


1 – The budget and the turnover of your company.

In principle, the more expensive and sophisticated your software, the more your turnover will increase, for equal work. But CRM software doesn't find new customers on its own, it just helps you better convert the ones you already have.


Its return on investment is therefore calculated according to your turnover, to which it is proportional. The price of its package, on the other hand, is often absolute. Therefore, the higher your turnover, the more you have to pay for high-end software, and vice versa.


2 – The sector to be optimized first: marketing, commercial process or after-sales service.

A complete CRM software essentially optimizes three areas of a company: marketing, business process and after-sales service. Depending on your activity, one of these sectors may not apply to you.


This would be the case for example if you do not create the products you sell. In this case, you do not need software with functions to optimize your marketing campaigns.


Simplified software specifically made for salespeople may be suitable. PipeDrive or fall into this category.


3 – The size of your contact lists

It is a question here of distinguishing between two categories of contact lists: mass lists and lists on a human scale.


If your business sells high value-added products to a small number of customers, you can customize contact management on a human scale. You will enjoy taking notes on them, monitoring their social networks, offering them telephone appointments, etc.


Conversely, if your business sells products with low added value, to large lists of customers, you cannot know and manage them all personally. You need to automate your business processes.


Each of these two situations involves the use of functionalities of a different nature. Thereforent, some solutions are more suitable than others depending on your own case.


4 – The growth potential of your business

You should know that on the large market of CRM software, some solutions are mainly aimed at VSEs and SMEs. These tools offer simple platforms, with a reduced number of features and an affordable price.


Be careful, if you choose such software, there will come a time when it will no longer be suitable for your business. In any case, this is what will happen if you have experienced strong growth (which we wish you).


Unfortunately, changing CRM involves transferring data, recreating accounts, relearning new passwords, getting used to using a new interface, reinstalling all integrations with third-party applications... In short, it's time-consuming and stressful for your teams. And you.


The interesting strategy is to choose so-called “scalable” software. By this, we mean software whose package price and features evolve with the needs of your business.


The 4 qualities of a good CRM software

You now know on which criteria to select the CRM software best suited to meet the needs of your business. It remains to be seen which is the most qualitative of them. For this, 4 criteria must be evaluated to choose the best software:



Ergonomics is a criterion that we often tend to neglect in the choice of new professional software, to the detriment of the quantity of functions offered.


However, it must be kept in mind that the time lost in getting to grips with an interface deteriorates the return on investment. It is suggested to ensure that the interface is intuitive, suits your preferences and those of your teams before investing.


Compliance with safety standards.

In principle, CRM software works like SaaS. In other words, the data collected on your customers is stored on an external cloud. It is interesting to ensure that a GRC software is GDPR compliant. The GDPR status relates to data processing.


Therefore, it is better to make sure that your software developer has secure servers. For this, the most reliable way is to check if it meets the SOC 2 and SOC 3 standards.


Ease of integration with third-party applications

We have shown above that the power of CRM software derives from its integration with third-party applications. In summary, the reason is simple: they are the ones who collect the data that must then be processed and centralized. Years ago, integrating one software with another meant hiring an IT developer.


Now, programs do it without you needing to type a line of code! Certainly, but the CRM software you choose must still be equipped with it… It is good to ensure before any investment that the chosen software offers simplified integrations with the other professional software you use.


The responsiveness of technical support

It is an obvious fact that it is always interesting to mention. You can get a glimpse of the quality of technical support on user rating services like or Trustradius.

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