Choosing the Right CRM

  • With, you can only access your data via a browser. Act! is a hybrid solution; you can access your data via a browser or you can access it offline via a program you install on your Windows computer. With Act, you can host your own database if you have a web server or you can use a third party hosting company. With Salesforce, your data can only be hosted on the Salesforce servers.
  • With Act, you can create Groups of people that can be dynamically populated based on specific criteria. These groups can be used to help automate your follow-up process. They also allow you to easily market to specific segments of your database.
  • Act has very robust and easy Office integration. With a couple of clicks, you can create a mail merge document to Word or Outlook. With one click, you can export a list to Excel. These functions do not exist in Salesforce without addon products or custom programming.
  • Act’s pricing is a fraction of the cost of Salesforce. You can have your Act! database hosted for as little as $400/user/year.

This is truly the million dollar question! Working with a consultant that understands the true functionality (not just what the CRM company says) of each CRM can be an easy way get through this process. CRM Total Solutions has been doing this for over 12 years and has honed a very specific, methodical process for identifying which CRM is right for you. Specifically, we conduct an in-depth requirements and discovery session to go through each part of your business that needs to be tracked by the CRM. Once this is completed, an Executive Summary and details functional requirements document is created for you to review and circulate with your team. In addition to this summary and details, a comparison matrix is provided where each of the key features needed is ranked for each of the CRM softwares that would work. This gives you the ability to see which CRM is truly the right one for you.

No.   Wow, that was a short answer! The reason I say No is that you really won’t get a good idea of what the CRM can do as you don’t know how to navigate it or take advantage of the functionality. Once any CRM is implemented, our recommendation is Training. Training to make sure your team knows how to use it and also consistently uses it so the data has true meaning.

The short answer is that you don’t. And I wish that I could say something different than that. Each CRM company lists some feature that their product “does” but frankly does either poorly or constantly breaks. Working with a third party consultant is a great way to cut through this as you will get the real truth about the functionality, not just what the CRM company wants to tell you.

While looking at the feature set of each CRM is important, the most important thing you can do is to figure out what you want the CRM to do. Sitting down with your team and identifying what you want to track, what reports you need and how you intend to use the CRM is key to determining which CRM is right. CRM Total Solutions can help with this process as we have honed a methodology of identifying all of these key functions.

Choosing the right CRM from the start is absolutely critical.  Each CRM writes the code for their software differently and moving from one CRM is both costly and time consuming, although not impossible.