Sr. Content Marketing Manager
Trying to find the perfect CRM software is like trying to find the perfect house. It’s a long-term investment that requires a lot of research — and if you sign the dotted line without asking the right questions, you could be in for some unpleasant surprises down the road.
But when it comes to houses, the questions to ask are relatively straightforward. Knowing the right CRM questions to ask, on the other hand, can be more challenging.
At a base level, your CRM system should be a place to store your contact information, but you want it to do more than that — and with ease, to boot. A platform should provide additional CRM benefits like boosting productivity and internal communication while making it easy to build and maintain customer relationships.
How do you know if a CRM platform can do what you need it to do, though? You come prepared to the sales call or demo with some CRM questions to ask. Here are the top questions we recommend asking your sales rep to ensure you end up with the best tool for your organization.
Take the time to get to know a CRM system before you purchase
(1) How will the CRM system help me accomplish my goals?
This is a broader question, and it requires you and your team to get clear on your CRM goals beforehand. Understand what problems you need CRM to solve and ask your sales rep how their platform can help you solve them. For example, if you need it to help you improve team communication, ask your representative what specific features in their software can help you do that.
(2) Will it integrate with my other technology?
What other applications do you and your team use daily? Ask your sales rep how their platform integrates with the applications that are critical to helping your business run. For example, you might ask if they have an integration for LinkedIn or if the CRM system can work with your Google Calendar.
Find out if the CRM system integrates with daily tools like Google Calendar
(3) Can different users have different permissions?
You may not always want everyone on your team to have access to all features or records in your CRM system. As a result, make sure to ask whether the platform can provide administrative permission levels to ensure you have control over who has access to what information.
(4) How long does it take to implement and onboard the CRM software?
In most cases, companies want to purchase CRM and implement it quickly. Ask the CRM’s sales rep directly how long that’ll take, and don’t let them give you a vague answer like, “It really depends.” Share details about your team’s needs, volume of customer data and company size, and have them give you a ballpark estimation of onboarding time to ensure you choose a CRM tool that will be up and running by your target launch date.
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(5) How technologically savvy do I need to be to set it up?
Many CRM systems require specialized developers to get it implemented for your organization. Even when platforms have an out-of-the-box solution, it can still involve some customization of the programming to get it working how your company needs it to. Ask the sales rep directly if it’s possible for you to set it up, customize it, and start using the platform without hiring an outside developer or consultant.
Check how easy the tool will be to set up and start using
(6) How is your customer support?
Get clear about the level of customer support provided during the onboarding period and after you’re up and running. Do they have a live support chat option or support ticket system? You'll breathe a big sigh of relief to know you and your team have the necessary support if and when you should need it.
(7) What other activities can I manage inside the platform?
Your CRM system will be a place to manage your contacts and prospects, but it likely has other capabilities that will make it even more useful, like task management, activity reporting, data reporting, bulk emailing and more. Ask the rep for details so that you get a complete (and clear) picture of what the platform offers.
(8) What reporting capabilities does it have?
This is one of those CRM questions that many people forget to ask. But it’s important to understand what type of metrics and reports the software can deliver related to your sales and marketing efforts, as well as insights about your customers and prospects. Learn about the specific report capabilities that come out of the box, and determine if you have any more custom reports that will need to be created manually.
Get a feel for how easy it is to create the types of reports your business will use regularly
(9) Can I import my existing contact data?
Speaking of manual work — ask your sales rep if the platform has contact importing capabilities. Of course, you might have to do a bit of data management (like cleaning up the data) beforehand, but make sure you won’t have to manually type each of your contacts into the software to get started. Most CRM platforms offer data import via CSV or spreadsheet files; however, there may be contact limits or complications, so it’s worth learning the details.
(10) Will I be able to self-service my own issues?
In addition to hands-on customer support, be sure to ask about self-service options. For example, see if they have a searchable Help Center, a user community or in-app chat options to help solve your issues in a pinch or after hours.
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(11) Can I customize the CRM to fit my current needs?
Be sure to ask about customization. For example, will you be able to adjust tags and labels inside the platform easily, or will you need the help of a developer? It’s important for the CRM software you choose to be flexible enough to meet your needs today and adapt as your business changes.
(12) How challenging is it to learn how to use the platform?
Your success with CRM directly depends on how quickly your team can learn to use it. If the learning curve is too steep, you’ll have difficulty getting your team to adopt and use the platform. Make sure the software is user-friendly and easily fits into your team’s existing workflow.
(13) Can I have a demonstration of the platform in action?
Make sure you’ll be able to see a full demonstration of the CRM system in action. Seeing how it works firsthand is critical to ensuring it will meet your organization’s goals and be easy to use for everyone on your team. During the demonstration, be sure to ask about specific capabilities and see what the platform looks like right out of the box. You may want to sign up for a free trial if the company offers one so that you can play around with it yourself.
A demo of the CRM software helps you see whether it will meet your needs
Get started with CRM
We built Copper to be fast to set up, easy to use, and flexible to adjust to your organization’s unique needs. We’re here to answer all your CRM software questions and walk you through exactly how you can use Copper to streamline your processes and improve your customer relationships.
Have questions for our sales reps? We have answers. Start by getting a demo of Copper here.