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Choosing the best CRM for your organization can be challenging when there are a variety of options and best practices to consider. One of the most crucial decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go with an “all-in-one” CRM or “best-in-class” CRM. Finding a CRM system that meets your performance requirements can be complicated and difficult whether you are a start-up, independent business or large corporation. There is a lot of pressure to make the right decision because it will affect how the entire company communicates with clients.

There are many CRM options available today, but not all CRMs are created equal. In order to make the decision-making process as smooth as possible, you need to ask yourself 4 fundamental questions.

1. Do you want a specialist or a generalist?

If you want to figure out which CRM is best for your organization, you need to determine some basic parameters like:

  • Do you want the platform to handle disputes?
  • Should it process all client correspondences?
  • Will service requests be on the same system as the sales dashboard?

In other words: If the problem you are trying to solve was a medical issue, would you want a specialist or a general practitioner as your doctor?

A “general practitioner” in CRM terms is an all-in-one platform that can remedy your business needs. This route is an excellent choice for those who have never worked with a CRM before and may require a solution that covers basic functionality across the entire sales and marketing funnel.

For a more comprehensive treatment, the “specialist” or best-in-class CRM is the way to go. This contact management and CRM platform will help you build and nurture long-lasting relationships with your customers through actionable follow-up plans and automated workflows. It allows for a more in-depth functionality than an all-in-one.

2. Do you need a few high-quality tools or the entire toolbox?

All-in-one solutions are similar to a swiss army knife but like the multi-tool, it’ll be up to you to choose which tool to use and when. Most of these CRMs also have compatibility with various add-ons and widgets which may require additional training in order to implement and proper vetting to ensure they don’t cause more harm than good. While going this route gives you instant gratification, you are committed to this one solution for each component of your business. These CRMs can be useful and dynamic solutions for any sales-focused organization unafraid of long-term commitment to a 3rd party software vendor.

On the other hand, if you already have advanced means for lead generation, transaction management, and other functions, then consider adding a best-in-class CRM to your toolbox. True best-in-class tools will integrate together a lot more seamlessly which will ultimately help centralize all functions of your business.

3. Put your eggs in one basket or diversify?

Choosing a CRM may not seem like a risky decision, but if you compare it to the stock market then you’ll see just how important it is to diversify your tech in order to meet your business needs.

All-in-one solutions have a lot to offer, including add-ons, size, and potential familiarity among employees. The other side of the coin is that an all-in-one provider has a monopoly on your organization. If you like some components but not others, you’re out of luck – you get the good with the bad.

Sometimes one size doesn’t fit all which is why best-in-class may be the better option. It’s not uncommon for sales teams to both love a CRM’s lead-management functionality and also find that same CRM’s dispute resolution functionality lacking.

For those organizations looking for a solution that gets the job done immediately, the all-in-one is a great route to go. Employee hours are saved in dealing with one provider. But for the long-term, making your own “a la carte” tech stack of best-in-class software solutions is both safer and more dynamic. While the best-in-class CRM may require some legwork up front to ensure a successful implementation, there is likely a better pay off in the long term.

4. What do you want your team focused on?

You should never lose sight of the real goal in choosing a CRM: empowering your organization to become more productive in managing relationships. With a best-in-class CRM, you are enabling employees to focus on managing client relationships efficiently instead of wrestling with the software at their disposal.

Realogy, via subsidiaries like Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, recently made waves in its 4th quarter conference call. During the call, new CEO Ryan Schneider announced an increased focus on providing agents best-in-class software tools so they can focus on what matters which is servicing clients:

“What I think we are going to have to do is make sure we are incredibly easy for agents to both use our technology not just what we have today, but new things that we develop to help make them successful. But also we’re going to have to have an open environment, where it’s incredibly easy to plug in any of the third-party products that an agent wants to use. And that’s really kind of that standard journey from building kind of closed software to using APIs to build much more open and easily integratable software”

Choosing a best-in-class CRM for its agents makes all the sense in the world for Realogy. The real estate market is changing, which means stepping back from expansion-by-acquisition in favor of empowering agents. Doing so will allow the company to retain top talent which is a win/win for everyone.

The bottom line

Customers satisfaction should always be the main goal for an organization when choosing the right CRM. By asking the right questions and focusing on long-term goals, the choice becomes easy.

For those with an eye towards the future, a best-in-class solution as part of an a la carte tech stack is a smart choice. Doing so mitigates long-term risks, allows for more flexibility, and provides high-quality tools for those who want to build and strengthen relationships in their network.