Following on from our blog on 10 things to think about when considering a CRM, I thought it only fair to share some insight on the CRM we use, and why we think it is a pretty nifty tool.
Over the years I have had experience in a few CRM’s. Some were a horrible chore. Others just didn’t capture anything useful. And some filled me with absolute dread to have to use them. I never pictured a day where I would enjoy using a CRM system, or one where I would want to review it for that matter! But I have to say, I am rather impressed with HubSpot’s CRM system, so why not pass that joy on?
Below are the main points I would normally look at when considering a CRM: Installation, data upload, features, usability and support.
Initial installation was simple. It did not require me to sit on the phone to the company. Or for them to take over my computer so I lost time at work. It was relatively quick and guided me through the process easily. The data on the free version of the CRM is open to all users listed. Though you can still assign tasks and contacts to each individual user. When the primary user sets up the account, you input the other users emails in. Which as well as adding them to the system, sends them a nice little welcome email and introductory video on what on earth is going on. Which I felt was a nice touch.
This will work differently for some of you. As we only needed some primary clients on first, I manually inputted them into the system. To ensure we had all the data we needed. However, when it came to inputting bigger contact lists further down the line, the import function on the contacts page is simple to use. It takes no time at all. And if there are errors, they are sent back to you in a clear report. So you can set them right almost instantly. The most annoying bit of the process was preparing the data beforehand!
The only slight problem I did find was when I was uploading our jobs (manually). Once I had uploaded around 50 of them, the system lags. And it becomes a great struggle to add anymore until a short while later. This will not be a problem 99% of the time, as we will not need to mass upload jobs once we are set up. But it did become a bit of a frustration when the rest of the system is so quick!
What can it do?
What can’t it do? Okay, that’s cliché. But really, it can do pretty much everything you need it to. It stores your contacts, and all the back history of any contact you have uploaded to the system before. The same as every other CRM really. So why do I love it?
These are what I consider the 5 best features:
This is the very first page, and where the reports are. You can set your monthly target or quota, then as you add jobs, it tells you how close you are to the target. The jobs are colour coded by how completed they are, so at a quick glance you can see where you are for the month. But, if you do need a more in depth breakdown, you just click, and it breaks it all down for you. It also gives you a one glance look at your productivity and pipeline with how much you have done, and percentage of how much better or worse you have done compared to last month. With other CRM’s I have found reports tedious to create and to be honest, they don’t really cover everything you needed in one place. The dashboard covers all of that in one screen.
Sidekick email tracking
With HubSpot you get an add-on called side kick, which actually turns out to be a good sidekick! You can track your emails with it, so you can see when they are opened, and if links on the email were clicked through, you can store emails straight to the CRM, so you have a copy of your contact, and when you start a new email to someone, it will bring up a sidebar of all the last contact you had with them, so you can see when they opened the last email, and the dates you last sent it. It also links to their twitter account, so you can see their latest updates and reference them in the email if you wish.
Sidekick prospecting bar
As well as email, sidekick will help you to prospect too. If you go on to a prospects website, it brings up a tiny sidekick symbol in the right hand corner. When you click on it, it brings up a sidebar, so you can save the website, and all the contact information on it, straight to the CRM. You can also view any information stored on the CRM already about the company. It will then bring up any contacts it can find, or connections you have, and it can also do a related companies search too.
I have found with other CRM’s I have had to leave certain sections of it, as they are not relevant to what I am doing, there are too many options to fill, or not enough. With HubSpot, it is fully customisable, meaning I can use every inch of the CRM. Don’t need it? Remove it from the view! Not enough deal stages? Add more and rename them all. Don’t like the information you have to provide for contacts? Reset up what is needed for their file, and add in your own new field whilst you’re at it.
HubSpot integrates with so many other programmes, meaning less hassle for you. As everything talks to each other, it cuts out half the time you spend reposting updates to each program.
It’s exceptionally easy to use, and to link everything to everything else, so contacts to clients, clients to deals, tasks to contacts and so on and so on. It is all customisable, meaning we have a unique CRM really, with every section being used, rather than ignoring parts as they are not needed. Everyone can view and access everything, but in a company our size, and the way work, this is perfect for us, though I understand with bigger companies this may not be practical. Though I believe for bigger companies there is an option to pay for user accounts. The best bit for usability I find, is that it doesn’t add extra work to my day like other CRM’s, as it does a lot of the work for you, such as providing relevant information.
This was one of my worries as a UK user, not being able to get support when I need it, and I have to admit, I panicked when there was no obvious number for me to call when I first had a problem. But the integrated help feature in the CRM means you can type in your questions, which get sent to the right person, who then email you back a relevant answer. Not only that, but you can suggest features for the system too, which I know from past experience are actually considered and implemented.
This is the best CRM I have used, so far. Its simplicity and easy customisation make it the perfect tool, and even better, it’s free! Are there still hiccups with it? Yes of course there are, but they are constantly updating it so the system only gets better. Overall, for a marketing company, it is more than we could ever ask for, but don’t forget you need to find what is right for you and your goals from a CRM, and there certainly are enough to choose from!
If you would like to see for yourself, why not visit Hubspot’s CRM Page?
CRM’s are all about being able to give your customer the best service possible. Why not have a read of how you can use social media in customer support.