Selecting a CRM that rolls itself out

CRM tools are fantastic! They help us manage opportunity and activity, coordinate ourselves, and be efficient with our customers. As managers, CRM data is our map to navigate. It is our eyes to see with. Yet most companies struggle to advance past the point where we use the system as little more than an online version of an opportunity/deal list in Excel. 


When you select your tool, we recommend you put special attention to ease-of-use and integrability to standard company calendar and mail tools. There are areas to focus on: 


  • Ease of use – registering data should be super simple, and as much as possible automated via calendar and communication (mail) systems.
  • Make it a multi-department tool for all customer-facing activity, sales, support, trainers and consultants, installation people, etc. 
  • Choose a tool that provides a means to integrate, share, and extend data with other systems.


Lets look at these in more detail: 







Choose a very easy-to-use tool. It should look good and have all sorts of drag-and-drop functionalities when updating pipeline. It should be dead easy to register and log everything.


If you have field sales, an excellent smartphone app is important. Always prioritise ease-of-use over a few more functions.

      • Any ”reporting” that takes more than a minute will be saved for later, normally for Friday – “admin-day.”
          • A seller should be able to log a meeting, take a picture of a whiteboard, and scribble down a few bullets while in the meeting. Even a voice memo is better than nothing.
          • It should be done during or immediately after the activity. The more fun ways of logging activity at minimum or zero effort, the better.
          • Make sure the system can receive mails and attach to deals. Then bcc: the CRM on every customer mail you and the team send.
      • It is better to have a little information on ALL your activities and deals than to have lots of information on few or NONE of them. Don’t make too many fields mandatory. Don’t try to be perfect.
      • Look for useful plugins that allow your sellers to get instant company background and contact person info from external sources on the same screen. This will make it impossible for your seller to not love the handiness of having all info in one screen.
      • Look for automatic call logging tools, email integration, social media integration. This way you monitor activity while letting people use their favourite tool for each type of activity.
      • Look for gamification opportunities. Why not put a realtime dashboard on the wall. Find fun challenges every day or every week that can be followed on the screen.




Make all customer-facing areas use the system (CRM) to document and manage customer interaction. 



  • Services team to log trainings, projects, and consultancy tasks they are performing,
  • Presales team to add their demos, and the outcome and questions.
  • Delivery and warehouse to register deliveries


TIP: Suggest to your service/consultancy and pre-sales teams to bcc the CRM on all customer mails. Most CRM systems have this feature.


When you manage to reach this goal, you will see how all teams will start putting more effort into their logging. It starts making more sense to log all, since other people will talk to the customer without asking first. If many roles touch the same customer, it becomes a necessity to coordinate ourselves via the notes in CRM. 


Other things that will help you integrate between teams:

  • Make the CRM tool reflect EVERYTHING that has anything to do with your customers, customer records, payment terms, purchases, and support contracts.
    • Make sure integrations work with other departments tools, so that a sales rep can immediately scan through issues, support interactions, deliveries, cash collection problems, credit problems… It should all be easy to access.
    • Organise your integrations to marketing, so that you get all online-qualified leads automatically into the CRM as a “contact” and an “activity” and/or “lead.” Organise your data so it becomes useful for segmentation for your online campaigns. (For instance, make it easy to separate existing customers from prospects, etc. You don’t want to send introductory promotions to old customers, or loyalty program promos to recent new leads.)


    • Look for automation plugins, and integration to other tools in used by the other areas in your company. For instance, if your customer support uses, or Zendesk, or similar, then find ways to make tickets visible, at least by title, in your CRM. Or why not have your support system bcc the CRM?


    • Look for a tool that offers a decent API so you can use integration platforms such as Zapier or similar to push and synchronise information from one system to the other. In the worst case, you may have to spend a few thousand on your own integration if needed, but at least it will be possible.


Remember, people will not use a tool just because we tell them to.


You will have results when your team truly believes using it is time well spent.