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4 factors to consider when choosing sales software

Few businesses can manage nowadays without some form of sales or client relations management (CRM) software. The ability to manage your sales, marketing accounting and other processes using the same program is incredibly useful for the modern company, and such software has quickly become an essential.

However, as the need for this kind of program has increased so has the number of offerings on the market. With so many different options to choose from it can be difficult to work out which one is best for your company, especially as each one has its own range of features to get your head around.

The best way to make a good choice when it comes to sales software is to prioritise the features your business needs the most. There are a few elements of these programs that are arguably more important than any other, and these are the ones that need to be looked for before anything extraneous.

Software integration

It is extremely rare for a company to only need one piece of software across their entire business. Even if you are able to find sales forecasting software that fulfils the needs of all your departments, you will still need to communicate through emails. As a result, it is vital for your sales and CRM programs to integrate with everything else your firm uses.

Sales software can work without this integration, of course, but there is the potential that it will cause a loss of productivity. If employees are having to cross check everything between two or more programs, it will slow them down and prevent them from making the most of the working day.

The best sales software will synchronise with other programs, saving a lot of unnecessary hassle. You might even find that it integrates with software that helps you in ways you didn’t realise. For example, it might be able to work with your VoIP software, enabling you to make calls with the click of a mouse. These small efficiencies add up, increasing your overall productivity.

User experience

Obviously, you want a program that is easy to use. However, many companies put this low on their priority list, assuming that they can learn how to use it as they go. An attractive user interface and a simple, easy-to-use system are therefore often seen as nice, but not necessary.

The truth is these features are surprisingly important. First of all, you will need to train both your existing employees and any future hires to use the software. If this is a complicated task this could potentially mean hundreds of hours of lost productivity. Ideally, the software will be so easy it doesn’t take long to learn at all.

The second thing you will need to bear in mind is that potential customers or clients might see your sales software in the course of doing business with you. It should therefore match your brand image. If it is clunky, ugly or hard to use then it will reflect badly on your business.

Remote access

Your sales software should be installed on more than just the computers at your office. Your employees will almost certainly be mobile, leaving the workplace to meet clients or other contacts, or working remotely from home or while travelling. This is increasingly the case as more people work flexibly.

As such, you will need sales/CRM software that can be used on a range of devices and syncs automatically between them. Thanks to innovations such as cloud computing, it should be easy for an employee to work on the same project on their home computer, their smartphone on the way to work and then their office PC.

If your sales software doesn’t have this option, it dramatically reduces its usefulness. Employees working away from the office will have to spend time synchronising their notes and the program, reducing productivity and heightening the risk that something gets lost in the transition.

Coordination across departments

Imagine calling a client to attempt to sell them something new, only to find that they are in the middle of a major problem with your production department, or that they have been aggressively marketed to in the past and are therefore unwilling to talk. This is always going to be a risk if your sales software isn’t coordinated across all your departments.

In companies with many different specialist groups, this is vital. When logging onto your sales/CRM software, you should be able to see every interaction anyone from your firm has had with each client so you can understand exactly what situation they are in.

Miscommunications over clients can have grave circumstances, from negative press to cancellations, and they are hard to prevent when you have several different departments working on the same project. With all the client’s details up-to-date on your sales software, you can be sure that this does not occur.

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