Like any other small business, TTO has to understand and connect to our clients. In addition, we have to understand who our potential clients are and figure out how to connect to them if we want to continue to grow our business. So, part of my challenge, is to find a software tool to help in those areas. Enter the CRM.
In searching for a CRM for our firm, we first have to figure out what questions we should be asking, and more specifically, what can we expect a CRM to do?
We've experimented with different CRM tools, and each CRM has a feature or industry specific specialty that separates it from what others are offering. Some have the 'sales pipeline', tags, groups, syncing to Gmail contacts, syncing to Apple contacts, syncing to Mailchimp, etc., etc., etc.
Features are good. Features are what make a software worth using (or not using). Anecdotally, we're actually currently using an accounting-specific SAAS tool, paying a monthly fee to use 1 specific feature (even though their core offering is the same as another SAAS tool that does, basically, the same thing) and paying for another SAAS tool that excels in another area, despite the overlap.
We're basically paying to use both and then will most likely either consolidate (if one ends up doing well what the other is currently doing well) or keeping both if each continues to dominate their core competency.
Niche seems to be big right now. Do 1 or 2 or 3 things well...but keeping it narrow. There are others who do, specifically, what you don't do well, and can complement your offering. It is like the Adam Smith economy in the digital age.
So, what should a CRM do?
That will depend on what you're doing, what features you want to have, how do you like the UI, the UX, how many other users will be using it with you, how much does it cost, etc., etc. There are most likely solutions out there that serve your main need, but you may not find a service that will do everything. AND if you do, there will be some features that don't stack up to another provider in a weaker area of the tool that you love. That just seems to be the way it is now.