Picking a CRM system for your company is big choice. This system is going to change how your company operates and does business, from tracking leads to filing final invoices it is going to be relevant.
We have already talked about the process of how to choose the right CRM for your business (check that out here!), but today we are going to go in depth on the value of doing demos and free trials before you pick out a CRM.
It can be easy to pick a CRM based on the industry you are in and what your competitors use; and there is nothing wrong with using a CRM designed for your industry! But there, typically, are more than one CRM option for you to choose from, and that is where you need to take the time to try out the different options.
Most CRMs give a description of overall functions and the best features and, usually, they are detailed. It can be easy to see the list of features and think, “Yeah, I need those specific ones” and feel like you have a grasp on what you are going to be getting. However, features and functions can vary widely from system to system, even if they are labeled as the same thing. Sales tracking and customer/claim/project information can look vastly different and have different functions depending on the CRM; which is why it is essential to take the time to do demos and free trials.
When you take the time to demo a system, you get to actually see, fiddle with, and understand the interface and all of its features, and decide if it is actually what you are looking for. From the pictures and short videos posted on CRM websites, it can be hard to see the layout of the system; you don’t get a good feel for the landing pages, the navigation, or the ease of use. By doing a demo you have the opportunity to click through every page, test out features, see how easy it is to navigate, and decide if the learning curve will work for your company. CRMs may seem simple and easy to navigate based the photos and marketing material on the website, but the only way to know for sure is by trying it out yourself.
Demos and trials also give you the opportunity to see the features first hand and take note of if they are actually what you are looking for or not. CRMs tout all different kinds of features from tracking, to storage, to calendars, and on and on the list goes, but most of the time you only need a few specific features to work in a certain kind of way. If a CRM says it has a calendar that can mean a lot of different things; it could be a general calendar that can’t be edited, it could be a calendar for each user that doesn’t integrate with others, it could be for production tracking, or it could be your email calendar imported into the software itself. Depending on what your company needs, that calendar could be a waste of a feature, and more or less a waste of your money. Being able to actually mess around with and see the functionality of certain features is invaluable when picking out a system; it allows you to ensure that you pick a system with the features that are going to be the most effective and most useful for your company and your employees.
Though it may seem tedious and time-consuming, taking the time to test out a CRM before you purchase it helps you to pick the exact right system for your company, saving you time, money, and more stress down the road.