There’s nothing as valuable to your company as your customer relationships. You do everything you can to nurture those, including sending out regular newsletters, birthday cards and maybe even a little something for the holidays. Each year it gets a little harder, though. Your spreadsheets have grown to unmanageable sizes, and you’re pretty sure you left your notebook with your client details on the bus this morning.

Your personal customer relationship management plan isn’t really working all that well now that your company has grown. Translating those notes on paper to something useable for the entire team just takes up too much time.

How About An All-In-One CRM?

If you’re reading this article, you’ve hit a wall or you see one coming and you’re hoping that a CRM will save you from the crash to come. CRMs, short for customer relationship management, can be powerful solutions for all kinds of businesses, when the right features are properly implemented. Their primary goal is to keep you and your customers in touch, as well as inform your entire team what’s been done where with said clients.

All-in-one CRMs take the idea of a basic CRM one step further and integrate everything you need to not just organize your contacts, but keep in touch with them and move their relationship through the sales journey. It’s an intelligent way to organize and update your sales contacts, automate sales activities, send out newsletters on the regular, analyze data, help with your marketing efforts and integrate with lots of other programs you use every day.

Some companies call their all-in-one CRMs “marketing CRMs” because they focus a little more on the marketing side. Either way, an all-in-one CRM can be the perfect solution to your disorganized office and headspace. They range in price from around $10 per user per month to thousands of dollars monthly. The trick is to choose a CRM that’s not only within your budget, but that can scale as your business grows.

Choosing the Right CRM

The biggest complaint about CRMs, even all-in-one CRMs, is that they’re difficult to configure initially and then they simply don’t get used because of a lack of intuitive functions. This is absolutely a problem with some systems, which is why the best way to choose your CRM is to take the programs that are in your price range on a test drive. Watch out for these red flags:

Extra fees. Many CRMs offer a free trial or at least a discounted trial offer, but keep an eye out for setup fees. These can vary dramatically between providers, with some offering a free setup and others charging hundreds or thousands of dollars to get your team hooked up.

Ease of use. When you open a new software platform the first time, it can be legitimately confusing and still be a good product in the end. The same is true of an all-in-one CRM. But if you populate it with some data and you’re still finding it clunky or cumbersome after a few tries, toss it out and keep shopping.

Problem-solving. CRMs were meant to solve problems, all-in-ones more so. Before you even start looking at systems, make sure you understand what problem it is that you’re trying to solve. Because different CRMs focus on different competencies, it’s a good idea to be on the right page with the product offerings. For example, if you’re trying to find a way to track e-commerce purchases, but the CRM you’re looking at is built for B2B relationships, it might not be a good fit.

Integration. There are so many productivity tools in the SaaS space these days that there’s a very low chance that you aren’t using some of them already. But that’s ok if you choose a smart CRM that’s able to flex with your needs. Using Zapier to send customer data to a designated spreadsheet? Choose a CRM that can accept that input. Not every CRM will work with every cloud-based app, take your time when examining the different packages.

Getting the Most Out of Your All-In-One CRM

Choosing a CRM is only the beginning of the story — you have to really use it in order for it to be worth all the effort you put into selecting it. It can take time to transition fully to your CRM, especially if you’re using marketing automation. This is absolutely not a reason to abandon your CRM hopes, just something to keep in mind. After all, any new system will take a little investment to produce good results.

Balancing functionality with price, while keeping the central questions you need it to solve in mind, will help you pick the all-in-one CRM that will work best for your unique use case.