You may have already reached the realization that a CRM can benefit your business in a number of ways, but the decision to adopt new technology is only half the battle. The next and perhaps most important step is choosing what tool to use. All it takes is a simple Google search to see that when it comes to CRMs, the options are many. So, how can you know which is the right fit for your business? To help you maximize your investment, here are seven key things to consider.

What features do you need?

Deciding on any software usually entails two things: what you need and what you want. The most important step is identifying your specific business needs. To determine this, define what you’d like to accomplish with your CRM. Then figure out which features will help you achieve those goals. From there, you can then list out the extra features that aren’t necessary but would be a nice perk.

Is it flexible and agile?

Where your business is today is not necessarily where it will be fifteen, five or even three years from now. It’s wise to consider your growth plans whenever you’re evaluating a CRM solution. The last thing you want is to end up having to search for a new solution every time your business needs change. Even if you don’t have any specific plans to grow or expand, it’s still a good idea to choose a solution that offers flexibility and the ability to scale as needed.

What else can it help you do?

To maximize your CRM investment, you’ll want one that will be able to integrate seamlessly with other parts of your strategy including email and marketing automation. This is also important from an efficiency standpoint. The more connected your technology is, the easier it will be for your employees to do their jobs effectively. As you’re weighing your options, try to look for a solution that will complement your existing infrastructure.

How easy is it to use?

A CRM with a million bells and whistles may look nice on paper, but if it’s difficult to use and maintain, it’s not worth the investment. The goal is to find a balance between functionality and ease of use. Ideally, you’ll want to find a solution that can be implemented quickly and with as small a learning curve as possible.

How are upgrades and enhancements handled?

Over time, all CRMs reach a point when enhancements, new features and other upgrades are necessary. When you’re evaluating your various options, be sure to check with the vendor to find out how (and how often) these updates are handled. Do you have to wait for quarterly or bi-annual releases or do they occur more frequently? How much of disruption should you expect during these updates?

Selecting the right CRM is an important business decision that should not be taken lightly. You want to make sure that the solution you end up with suits your specific business needs and is designed to grow as your business grows.