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LaunchHawk Marketing | What CRM System Should I Buy (For My Startup)?
Throughout the years I have been asked this question often; and my answer has always been the same - it depends. Click to learn what it depends on.
CRM,Startups,CRM Solutions,Software Evaluation
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Startup Marketing Journal

16 Apr What CRM System Should I Buy (For My Startup)?

Throughout the years I have been asked this question often; and my answer has always been the same – it depends.

Actually, it depends on many factors:  Are you a B2B or a B2C company?  How large is your sales organization or marketing team?  Do you have CRM and sales processes already in place that you’d like to automate or are you trying to implement processes for the first time?  What other key technologies do you have in place that you want the CRM solution to integrate with? and many more!

The best way to approach the selection process is to start by identifying the process areas that you’d like to improve.  Also, if you have had experience with other CRM solutions, make sure to document what you liked or disliked about them.

Don’t just focus on functions and features. But don’t ignore them either.  Break your analysis (of the most important CRM features that your organization requires) down into three distinct areas – (1) Core Functionality (those features that just about every CRM on the planet has); (2) Non-Core Functionality (those features that are available in a particular solution but are not common to all CRM solutions); and (3) Missing Core Functionality (those features that are common to most CRM solutions but are not available within a particular solution you are evaluating).

HINT: It’s the Non-Core and Missing Core features that generally drive the selection decision.

Before you make a final selection, make sure to get a demo or trial version of each of your finalists so that you can see not just what they can do, but more importantly, how they do it.  Your CRM finalists may all do the same things, but I guarantee you that they will all do them very differently.  It’s important to select a solution that all the users are going to be happy using.

Which brings me to my final point.

WARNING: Do not select a CRM solution in a vacuum and then expect people to love using it.  Involve as many people in your organization (or at least representatives from all affected areas of the company) to participate in the selection process.  There will always be tradeoffs – so getting consensus on which solution is the best overall is critical.

To aid in your selection process, be sure to check out the various software advice and review sites.  Here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order):

G2 Crowd
TrustRadius
Technology Advice
GetApp

Each has various ways in which they evaluate and rank CRM solutions.  Here’s a recent ranking by GetApp:

NOTE: PipelinerCRM is not all that well known but it’s a fantastic solution for B2B companies (i.e. sales professionals) for a variety of reasons that I’d be happy to discuss with anyone interested.  Also, they have a special program for Startups!  If you’re interested, get in touch and I’ll hook you up.

Top CRM Software 2015 | GetRank

Jim Berkowitz
Jim is a startup growth consultant and technology coach. Over the years he's assisted hundreds of organizations with getting, keeping and growing customers.

 Now his focus is on helping startups.

With experience in agile marketing, lean canvas, growth hacking, digital marketing and CRM technology, Jim and his team at LaunchHawk Marketing offer a comprehensive range of consulting services designed specifically to help startups successfully scale their businesses.


2 Comments
  • Quora
    Posted at 18:03h, 16 April Reply

    What CRM System Should I Buy (For My Startup)?

    Throughout the years I have been asked this question often; and my answer has always been the same – it depends. Actually, it depends on many factors: Are you a B2B or a B2C company? How large is your sales organization or marketing team? Do you have C…

  • Daniel Honigman
    Posted at 13:53h, 21 April Reply

    You make a good distinction: there are lots of considerations for any size company – especially a startup – to make before purchasing a CRM platform.

    Thanks for including G2 Crowd in your roundup, Jim. I’m glad our research + review data is helpful to you, and hope it is to your readers as well! (NOTE: I work there.)

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