What to look for from a CRM system

A CRM system is vital if you want to grow a sustainable business – but there are 100’s out there, so which do you choose?

First, you need to be clear about what you want it to do – send email newsletters, keep track of contacts or your prospects, manage your sales funnel etc. Second, you want to be clear about what you will want it to do in the future – nurturing emails etc.

Most CRM systems will not do everything you want, but most have plug-ins available which will give you the functionality you need, so look for one that does what you need right now, AND has the plug-ins available to give you added functionality when you need it.

Do not pay a fortune and get the all singing, all dancing version immediately – you will not use most of the functionality you will be paying for and, when the time comes for you to use it, you may need further training or to update the system as technology has moved on!

Here are our top tips on what to look for when choosing a CRM system:

Cloud based

SMEs should look for a cloud-based CRM as they remove any issues about maintenance, updating or developing the system because the CRM provider takes responsibility.

Social media links

Whatever social media channels you use, look for a CRM system that connects with them. This will help you monitor negative and positive feedback and comments and build your brand in each channel you use.

Email campaigns

Make sure the CRM system allows you to send multiple emails – and that it tracks the open and click through rates so you know what messages connect with your audience. This makes it more efficient to reach your target market and more effective as you continually improve and refine your content.

Tracking customer data

Think about what data you want to track and how you will use it.


Tracking and collecting data is only part of the story. Make sure you can use the CRM system to help you evaluate the data to help you make positive changes to your business.

Track your sales funnel or pipeline

When you start to receive enquiries, it is easy to miss opportunities. A good CRM system will let you track the progress of enquiries to make sure you make the most of each one.

Ease of use

Many CRM systems are complex and difficult to use. Look for one that you find easy to start using. This will save you time and effort and make it easier to train staff in the future.

Mobile access

Ask for a CRM system to be demonstrated on a tablet or phone to make sure the features you need are easily accessible remotely. When you start the business, you are likely to spend a lot of time out of the office so being able to check and input data when you are on the go is much more effective than having to make notes and write them up when you get back to your office!

Ease of customisation

How easy is it to change features or add new ones to meet your needs as the business develops?

Training and support

What training and support do you get when setting up the system – and then on an ongoing basis? What are the charges? Is it remote or local support? When are they available? Is there a help desk?


What capacity do you get at the start? What are the costs when you need more?


An obvious one – can you afford it? How many sales do you need to make to repay the cost? Ask if there are local grants available and do not forget to ask about ongoing costs!

What other systems does it work with?

What other systems do/will you use? Check that it will synchronise with them (think Outlook, Office etc).

If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more CRM advice why not connect with our expert* Luke on LinkedIn?

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.