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28 Most Commonly Asked Questions About a CRM: Beginners Guide

Last updated: January 2, 2021


Mike Markus
He is a CRM software enthusiast/analyst and the co-founder of CRMAdvice.org. He studied MC-IT Course from Melbourne University.

How do you track, manage, and communicate with your leads and customers is important.

And if you want to grow your business and retain your customers, you need an automated way to:


  • engage your hard gained customers
  • drive leads to your business
  • launch successful marketing campaigns
  • and store your data in a well structured format.

Simply put, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you run and grow your business effortlessly.

In this guide you’ll learn what a CRM is, how most businesses fail by not using a CRM, and how a CRM can help you grow your business.

We’ll touch on what features an organization needs in a CRM in order to grow exponentially and run its processes efficiently.

We’ve covered some important questions most new business owners ask about a CRM and even seasoned marketers might ask.

Let’s get started.

The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding CRMs

1. What is a CRM?
2. How Much Does a CRM Cost?
3. Why Should I Use a CRM?
4. How a CRM Will Boost Sales and Get More Leads Coming Your Way?
5. How Does a CRM Work?
6. What is The Importance of CRM in a Company?
7. What are The Key Value Propositions in a CRM?
8. The Three Types of CRM
9. What are The Benefits of Using a CRM?
10. Should I Buy a CRM Solution or Build a Customized One?
11. How to Keep Data Safe in a CRM
12. Can CRM Be Integrated with Social Media Services?
13. Can I Handle Analytics within a CRM?
14. Do CRMs Integrate with Customer Emails?
15. What is Marketing Automation in CRM?
16. How Can a CRM Help in Sales?
17. Can CRM Be Integrated with Payment Gateways?
18. What are The Necessary Integrations in CRM?
19. How Can I Import Data to My CRM?
20. What is The Advantage of Using a CRM on Mobile Devices?
21. What is The Difference Between a Lead Magnet Tool and a CRM?
22. How to Choose The Best CRM for Your Business?
23. What is The Best CRM Implementation Process?
24. What Companies Can Benefit from CRM?
25. What is The Difference Between On-Premise (Self-Hosted) and Cloud Based CRM?
26. What are The Costs Associated with On-Premise (Self-Hosted) and Cloud Based CRM Versions?
27. How Long Does It Take to Implement a CRM Solution?
28. Can an Employee Steal Customer Data From Our CRM?

1. What is a CRM?


A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a technology that manages a company’s relationship with acquired and potential customers to get more sales.

Here’s how it works.

A CRM is a MODULAR TECHNOLOGY that includes sales automation, marketing automation, and analytics to collect customer data and enable sales teams, marketing teams, and customer support teams to work at maximal efficiency.

2. How Much Does a CRM Cost?


Most CRM providers offer free plans which have limited usage.

Paid plans start from around $10 per user per month for small to medium businesses.

Larger enterprises will have to use advanced packages that come with features robust enough to accommodate medium to large business operations.

These packages range from $50 to $200 per user per month.

There are also more expensive plans that extend all the way to $300 per user.

3. Why Should I Use a CRM?


A CRM is like your front-end office for building a relationship with your customers. It will help you retain more customers and easily acquire new leads.

You might be wondering how.

To better understand the importance of a CRM in your business let me give you a few examples of how businesses lose sales and new leads when they operate without a CRM.

Yes, you read that right:

If you do not use a CRM, then you probably don’t know your customer!

Before I get into the examples let’s understand why some businesses have more customers than others.

Gone are the days when a customer would buy from any vendor. The modern day customer is not after what you offer, otherwise you wouldn’t have competitors out there who have better products than you do.

Today’s customer wants a personalized buying experience.


Image Courtesy – PRWeb-CISION

Everybody wants a seamless buying experience where they feel important spending their money buying from you.

Think about this:

You’ll agree with me when I tell you that acquiring a new customer could be 10-times more expensive than retaining a customer.

Here’s the best part.

Happy customers will buy from you over and over again and recommend your business to their friends.

On the contrary, customers who leave your brand due to a bad experience will tell more people about their experience. It’s just who we are.

How many businesses have you complained about because of how they served you?

Businesses that have more customers and better buying experiences have more repeat customers and a better closing rate.

How and why?

Because they have mastered the art of building relationships with their customers.


Image Courtesy – Bain & Company, Inc

They know that entrusting their business processes to a powerful CRM is vital to their success.

Here’s the deal:

When it comes to knowing your customers, building a relationship, and bringing them back to your business, no tool does it better than a CRM.

Here are some examples of why your business is not achieving the goals you want.

The sales department

Let’s say you have three sales specialists and one sales manager. Since you don’t have a CRM, the first sales rep uses Gmail to store his contacts, the second one uses excel sheets to store her contacts, and the third one uses Google sheets to store his contacts.

You cannot track their activities and see how you’re losing leads.

But first tell me:

How will you be able to pinpoint the underperforming sales reps without a point of reference?

These are the challenges you’ll face.

Your sales manager will have a hard time keeping a tab on how leads are coming into your business.

Even worse…

The sales manager will have a hard time putting together a report to show sales, marketing campaigns, gained clients, lost deals, and any other info your organization requires to measure and track performance.

All of his sales team members use a different way to store their data.

It will take time and inaccuracies will trickle in while compiling the report since the data are not closely monitored.

Now here’s the worst part:

Should one of the sales reps decide to leave your organization, they’ll go with your contacts and leads.

Leads you paid money to get.


Image Courtesy – Convert.com

Think about it:

Some of these contacts and leads would have actually brought in more business if you followed up with them.

With a CRM you can monitor and allocate tasks to your sales team and observe everything it does without having to interact with its members. Your CRM will also store data in your database and losing a team member will not affect your company’s performance.

Frustrated customers

If a customer gets a bad product or did not like your services, it will be hard to follow up with them when they minimise communication with your organization.


Do you have their contacts?

…You have complaints like these coming in on a daily basis.


Image Courtesy – Business2community.com


Image Courtesy – Postplanner.com


Image Courtesy – Customerthink.com

How do you manage that?

Better still, how do you pinpoint the frustrated customer from your long lists of customers?

What if 20 customers complained today? Will you remember all of their queries in a week’s time?

If you’re not organized, you’ll slowly lose all your customers to your competitors.

With a CRM you can easily see all the interactions such as notes a customer has had with your organization.


This way you’ll notice dissatisfied customers earlier and engage them to strengthen your relationship and keep them coming back.

Inability to spot trends

Sometimes you’ll have some products performing well and others performing poorly.

If you don’t have a system in place to know where customers are more interested in a certain product, you’ll have a hard time scaling.


You’ll waste a lot of money on running untargeted marketing campaigns.

Here’s the main reason why you need a CRM yesterday:

You can easily pinpoint the most winning products on the dashboard of your CRM by accessing reports from the marketing module.

Once you have concrete results, you can focus marketing campaigns to get more sales from customers’ geographical locations with the most purchases.

Picture this:

A competitor could be tracking your business activities online and since they have a powerful CRM system with sniper like marketing tools, they could easily pinpoint the location where your products are trending and take advantage with a good marketing campaign.


Image Courtesy – Technologyadvice.com

And just like that, you’ll end up losing valuable customers to someone who is using a CRM.

You’re missing out a lot if you’re not using a CRM in your business.

Small niche businesses are now outperforming industry veterans by using powerful CRMs that accurately pinpoint customers.

Now that we’ve covered a few ways a CRM can solve problems in your business, let’s see how we can utilise it to boost sales and get more leads.

4. How a CRM Will Boost Sales and Get More Leads Coming Your Way?


A CRM solely focuses on three areas of your business: marketing, sales, and customer services.

And these three are the core drivers of your business.

You need to market your business to get new sales and then retain your buyers with excellent customer service to keep them coming again and again.


Image Courtesy – Medium.com

Remember: it’s more expensive to get new customers than sell to existing customers.

5. How Does a CRM Work?


A CRM simply lets you and all the people in your marketing, sales, and customer service have a 360-degree view of your customer.

What do I mean by an all-round view?

A CRM stores each of your lead and customer’s data in a central module that is connected to other modules in the sales team, marketing team, and customer service team.

Whenever they interact with any of the teams the data are added to the central module and can also be accessed by any other team members when needed.

And by the way…

A CRM also integrates other apps via APIs to further interact with your customers and collect data.


Image Courtesy – salesmate.io

Some of these apps are MailChimp, Google apps, Xero, and DocuSign, to name a few.

6. What is The Importance of CRM in a Company?


People are used to instant apps, data, and instant services on their phones all the time.

Fair enough, they also expect businesses to be just as fast. As a result most businesses who can’t adapt to this kind of personalization end up failing.

Fortunately CRM tools are at the centre of the big technology movement.

They clearly emerge as the accessible option for digital migration that a company can use to accommodate its everchanging customer.

So here’s what you can do with a CRM software.

Collect as many data as possible

To further refine and personalize your customer’s experience you’ll need to customize your product delivery process.

To customize your product delivery process you have no choice but to get better at communicating, gathering, and analysing data.

In plain words:

You’ll need a CRM to help you know your customer and collect and analyse their data in order to know them.

Improve support processes

How many times have you seen a customer send an email, then follow up with a call?

Sadly, if the customer care agent handling this call did not read the previous email chats, the customer will feel very disappointed to again be put through the whole process of answering all the questions s/he already answered by email in order to catch up with the new customer care agent on the phone.

As a business owner you can avoid these types of errors by using a CRM.


The new agent on the phone can easily retrieve all the previous customer interactions and pick up from the last point of contact the customer had with your business.


Image Courtesy – Capsulecrm.com

This way customers can have a better experience with your business.

Drive better sales recommendations

The fastest way to send a client off is by pitching a product s/he got pitched weeks or months ago by a different sales agent.

It makes them undermine you as a company. A client will feel like you’re after the sale and don’t care about them and their time.

You see…

To eliminate these awkward situations you need a CRM. The software will track all meetings, phone calls, people involved, and issues covered.

Best of all…

When another team member logs into the CRM s/he can:

  • get updated on the products that have not been pitched
  • see how clients prefer to be approached
  • and some other key data points that allow a better experience.

S/he will see all the past interactions of any client (pages visited, chat history, visit history, etc) with your business and will not make this horrible mistake.


Image Courtesy – Zoho.com

The way a CRM tracks your activities is just phenomenal. It’s hard to stay on point without a CRM.

Create an end to end view of customer operations

Customers have a habit of doing things in an unsystematic way.

In my experience:

You as a business need to know how a lead was generated, the cost of acquiring a customer, and the average time taken from the first contact to when the sale was made.

But the modern customer’s buying journey is full of meanders and dead ends.

In this day and age marketers have to go through complex multilayered metrics to understand and analyse data.

A CRM can carry out these tasks through automation tools, database systems, and robust reporting capabilities that provide more useful data that will help you better understand your customer.


Image Courtesy – Pipedrive.com

Here’s the cold hard truth:

It’s hard to exist in business in this era without the right customer information.

As a business without a CRM you’ll struggle to satisfy your customers who may call you in the next 30 minutes, email you within the next hour, and surprisingly complete a payment on a smartphone app the next day.

Now here’s the problem:

If all these data are stored in different databases and content management systems within your organization, will you serve this customer again when a problem arises?

Their data are literally littered all over your organization’s systems.

As if that was not enough…

How will you track their interaction with your company to market to similar audiences?

This is why you need a CRM to funnel all your customer information into a central base where everyone in marketing, sales, and customer care can track and access their data whenever they need to.

7. What are The Key Value Propositions in a CRM?


There are key features you need to have in your CRM if you want to leverage data in your everyday operations and speed up tasks.

A CRM needs to have these features in order to grow a business.

Lead generation

In the sales module you need a sales generation feature to show you:

  • How customers heard about your business
  • Why they chose to approach your business
  • How and what moved them to make a purchase
  • How they interacted with your sales team
  • Their journey from the point of contact to when they closed the deal
  • The number of website sessions and the pages they visited
  • And lastly, what they eventually purchased.

A CRM will allow you to cohesively track lead generation, lead qualification, and lead conversion.


Image Courtesy – Zoho.com

Marketing automation


In the marketing module you should have marketing automation features that enable you to integrate popular marketing automation solutions to create a concrete option to deeply penetrate your marketing processes, process automations, and help your marketing team members to be efficient their campaigns.


In the dashboard of your CRM you should have a number of configured and easy to create reports that you can share with the rest of your company’s stakeholders.


Image Courtesy – Agilecrm.com

Clerical automation

How many times have you had to notify others of account updates, send reports during meetings, and ensure data quality across departments?

To be honest, these repetitive tasks are tedious.

All you need is a CRM to eliminate and automate them.


Image Courtesy – Hubspot.com

Once you enter the data, you can automatically communicate them to relevant stakeholders or log them into the right systems without duplicating data everywhere.

There are 3 types of CRM software. Each type is built to accommodate certain businesses with similar ways of carrying out their processes.

Want to know the best part?

These CRMs have more than enough features to accommodate your business operations and help you grow consistently.

8. The Three Types of CRM


These are:

#1 Operational CRM

The operational CRM streamlines the processes of a business, i.e. sales automation, marketing automation, and service automation. The main purpose of an operational CRM is to:

  • Capture leads
  • Convert them into manageable contacts
  • Get all their details
  • Get them to buy from you
  • And nurture them to get more sales throughout their lifecycle.

Here’s a better illustration of the core functions of an operational CRM.

Sales automation

Sales automation is all about SETTING STANDARDS in your business to acquire customers and get more sales from existing customers.

Marketing automation

The core purpose of marketing automation in a CRM is to find the best way to offer products and interact with potential customers.

Its biggest feature is to MANAGE CAMPAIGNS.

It enables a business to determine the best channels (emails, phone calls, meetings in person, ads on social media) to reach potential customers.

Service automation

The service automation CRM is all about CUSTOMER RETENTION by providing customers with the best customer support to build strong relationships.

Its core functions are customer call management to handle incoming/outgoing calls and service label management to monitor the quality of service based on some key performance indicators.

Here are the most popular operational CRMs on the market today: Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot.

#2 Analytical CRM

The analytical CRM is mostly used by top management, sales and support, and the marketing department to establish more efficient ways to understand lead and customer data.

Its core function is ANALYSING CUSTOMER DATA that comes from various marketing channels.

It helps businesses to take more cost effective ways of bringing in leads by focusing on the most productive channels.

Features of the analytical CRM:

  • Collect customer information coming from several channels and analyse the data in a structured format
  • Help businesses to set up methodology systems to marketing, sales, and support to improve customer relationship and loyalty
  • Improve the overall effectiveness of the business by analysing key performance indicators set by the business.

Here are 3 examples of analytical CRMs: ZenDesk Explore, MixPanel (third party tool), and NexTiva.

#3 Collaborative CRM

Also known as the strategic CRM, this software has only one purpose – to coordinate and share data among various business units, such as the marketing team, sales team, technical and support team.

By enabling business units to share data from a central point a company can drive more leads, improve customer service to gain new customers, get more sales, and build loyalty.

Here are 3 examples of collaborative CRMs: Microsoft Dynamics 365, Bitrix24, and SAP Business One (SAP Customer 360).

9. What are The Benefits of Using a CRM?


I could list a thousand benefits, but these are the main benefits of using a CRM in your business:

  • Better client relationship – CRM enables you to build better relationships with your customers by enabling you to know them better. You can easily forge strong relationships with your customers once you get to know them.
  • Improved efficiency in serving your customers – once you establish personal connections with your customers, you can easily serve them more efficiently. If all your teammates are recording their interactions with customers and clients, anyone can easily serve a client by accessing their previous interactions.
  • Make more sales – the more you know about your clients’ needs and wants, the easier it is to solve their problems, which means more business.
  • Higher employee satisfaction – the more your employees learn how to interact, solve, and learn about your customers from a central point, the more satisfied they’ll be since everything is systemized and any employee can tap in and serve your customers efficiently.
  • Increased revenue – once everyone in your enterprise learns how to use the CRM, it will be faster to carry out tasks more efficiently, hence increasing productivity and allowing room for additional products and services.
  • Cost savings – Getting started with a CRM can get costly and time consuming, but as time goes by the benefits will outweigh the costs. Sales team members will be able to access prospects’ data easily while service reps will now be able to understand and solve clients’ problems more efficiently.

10. Should I Buy a CRM Solution or Build a Customized One?


Only you can decide after analysing your company’s needs.

With a customized one you’ll have to go through the process of creating a software from scratch, which will involve requirements like software analysis, a lot of bug fixing, and support, just to name a few.

To tell you the truth…

Building a custom CRM is quite expensive since you’ll need a whole team or to hire a software development firm to create it. It could also take between 6 weeks and 9 months to completely set it up depending on the features you want. You’ll also have to hire an in-house team to maintain the CRM.

Costs a lot of money…

How much does a custom CRM cost? The cost of building CRM starts around $50,000. This is not the exact cost, it exceeds according to the scope. Generally CRM software providers charge $120 per user per month. You can also use a CRM software development company to develop a custom one to your requirements.

(In general, custom CRM costs may vary from $30,000 to $300,000 and up. It heavily depends on its complexity and the region where you hire developers.)

On the other hand…

Buying a SaaS CRM subscription will give you the freedom of avoiding all the costs that come with maintaining the CRM.

HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, and the sales focused CRM Pipedrive have been in the top 3 of our cloud based CRM review list for years.

11. How to Keep Data Safe in a CRM


Here’s a set of rules you can implement in your business across all units to ensure data remain secured.


Image Courtesy – Eggmarketingpr.com

  • Audit security regulations on a regular basis.
  • Encourage users to create complex passwords or set up defaults that require complicated password patterns and change the password every 3 to 6 months.
  • Track all user logins based on the browser, IP address, or API.
  • Establish access levels of data within your company. Let there be a hierarchy of data access from the top management to the lowest ranking employees. Let all employees access certain modules of your CRM, but assign some top level employees to only be able to see, add, and make changes to your private and confidential data based on their roles in your organisation.
  • Let whoever is installing the CRM for your organisation carry out a thorough security check on your CRM and company computers to remove any possible vulnerabilities and further add layers of protection to prevent any possible hacker attacks.

I’m asking you to do that as you understand it (if you do), but I want to make sure that people who don’t know what CRMs and all those complicated systems are doing that too…)

12. Can CRM Be Integrated with Social Media Services?


Yes, of course.

CRMs integrate social media data to help you build campaigns.


Image Courtesy – 1crm.com

Social media data can help you run your MARKETING CAMPAIGNS more effectively.

For example, Facebook supports most of the popular CRMs – Ontraport, Hubspot, Leap via PieSync, Pipedrive, MailChimp, and Salesforce to easily share leads between Facebook and your CRM database.

For unsupported systems you can easily download data from Facebook in a CSV file and manually upload them to your CRM database.

13. Can I Handle Analytics within a CRM?



CRMs have a DASHBOARD where you can collect and visualize your customer data, sales rep activities, engagement levels, won/lost opportunities, and a few more things depending on how you run your business.


Image Courtesy – Agilecrm.com

After reviewing 30+ different CRMs…

…For small to medium businesses the best solution with the smartest CRM analytics is Zoho CRM. It has Advanced Analytics powered by Zoho Reports, which allows you to do more sophisticated and advanced things such as develop and share reports with colleagues using customized access control.

For enterprise level businesses it’s Salesforce CRM where the basic Sales Cloud has some workable analytics built in. Similarly to Zoho, you have two options: you can stick to the basic integrated reporting features or upgrade to their Analytics Cloud powered by Wave.

14. Do CRMs Integrate with Customer Emails?


Yes, you can integrate mailing solutions such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. You can even perform these actions in your CRM:

  • Send autoreplies back to your customers
  • Automatically associate emails with incidents and customers
  • Automatically direct customer emails to appropriate units in your business based on your workflow rules
  • Easily retrieve emails sent from your customers.

Taking Freshsales CRM for example, you can connect to Gmail, Outlook, or even a private IMAP server like Microsoft Exchange.

When you connect your email, you’ll be able to receive emails and have them automatically associate with the related records in Freshsales. This will help you track email conversations with all your prospects from one place.

15. What is Marketing Automation in CRM?


Marketing automation is simply an event-based trigger way of marketing that is used to send messages and offer certain presentations to leads and customers at a particular time, or after they’ve taken a certain action in various touchpoints of your CRM.

Here’s a good example:

How many times have you received a thank you email after subscribing to a new service?


Better still, have you ever received a hard to resist offer after making a purchase?


All of these are marketing automations to keep customers engaged and drive more sales. Below are some examples of how you can automate marketing in your CRM:

  • Cross-sell messages based on past purchases
  • Automate messages to welcome leads
  • Thank customers after making a purchase
  • Send lapsed messages to previous customers to get more sales
  • Run repeated marketing campaigns to repeatedly appear to your prospects aiming to convert them. (Ideal for long sales cycle)

The best CRMs with marketing automation tools are Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, and Agile CRM.

16. How Can a CRM Help in Sales?


The reason why CRM software exists is mainly to drive sales to your business.

A powerful CRM will support your sales team at every stage of the sales cycle all the way from getting your leads to customer management.

Here are a few ways a CRM will help you in sales:

  • Centralize all customer data
  • Access, share, and update information across all units of your business
  • Help you to qualify leads and prospective customers
  • Use reports to measure business activity, identify certain trends, and forecast sales
  • View and manage communications.

17. Can CRM Be Integrated with Payment Gateways?


Yes, you can integrate just about any payment processor. All you need to do to add a payment processor to your CRM is integrate the right payment gateway extensions.

These PAYMENT GATEWAYS can easily be developed in accordance with your CRM.

If you’re using a paid SaaS CRM, you’ll likely already have them developed. If not, contact support and ask how to go about it.


Image Courtesy – Zoho.com

With Zoho CRM and Freshsales CRM there are more than 13 payment getaway integrations (Stripe included) you can choose from. Even if you’re not a tech savvy person, setting it all up takes less than an hour.

18. What are The Necessary Integrations in CRM?


We recommend that you ensure that your CRM has a well structured architecture that allows you to integrate vital customer information modules.

Most of the integrations are:

  • Marketing – Understand your audience and initiate marketing campaigns using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email autoresponders such as MailChimp, lead generation, lead scoring, campaign management tools, optimization tools directly from your CRM
  • Sales – Capture sales with apps like e-signing tools, Google sales apps, and payment gateways
  • Customer service – Serve and interact with your customers using cloud services like Zendesk, Sap Help Portal, and HelpDesk
  • Reporting – Get clear reports on your business front-end operations. Use SuiteCRM, Cratio, and InsightSoftware
  • Accounting – Keep tabs on inventory, sales, and expenses using apps like CPQ, Quick Books.
  • Social media – Get notifications in the CRM and post from the CRM
  • Scheduling app/calendar – For scheduling meetings try Google Calendar, Outlook, Apple Calendar, and Join.me
  • Sales quotes/proposals – Produce better proposals and other client documents with apps like PandaDoc, Octiv, or Qwilr
  • E-commerce – Expand your sales to the digital platform with apps like Shopify, Woocommerce, or Bigcommerce. These apps will easily integrate with your CRM to help you understand your online storefront’s performance data.
  • Computer Telephony – Make calls straight from your CRM by integrating Voip solutions like Nextiva, Fonality, and Twilio
  • Workflow – Automate tedious repetitive tasks using apps like Zapier, Tenfold, and Automate.io
  • Collaboration – For in-house team to work seamlessly with remote members. Use apps like Slack, Spark, or HipChat.

19. How Can I Import Data to My CRM?


Whether you’ve stored your data in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, notepads, databases, or other CRM providers, you can easily import the data into your CRM and keep good track of all your customer info.


Image Courtesy – Webalite.com

Most CRMs allow automated data migrations, which include processes like:

  • Normalizing data. i.e. mails, names, locations, phone numbers
  • Creating .csv files and .xls files with well defined fields
  • And reviewing the data after importing.

If this sounds too techy to handle, you can reach me anytime. I’m happy to guide you. Or call your CRM provider to help you carry out data migration.

20. What is The Advantage of Using a CRM on Mobile Devices?


Most companies have adopted the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ feature.


Employees can now seamlessly connect to their organizational networks and easily access work-related systems on a smartphone.

Your sales team can benefit from:

  • Making video and audio calls directly from your company’s CRM
  • Receiving clients’ electronic signatures from their locations
  • Power customer support with field to office services by capturing products with their phone camera or GPS location tracking for analysing the time and location of each case being carried out.

21. What is The Difference Between a Lead Magnet Tool and a CRM?


While they both perform the same tasks, a CRM is way more powerful than a lead magnet tool. These two tools help businesses track customer journeys, follow lead activities, and get leads from different sources.

Here’s the difference.

If you as a business set a goal to drive more leads to your business, a lead magnet tool will only help you up to the point of getting sales.

On the other hand…

A CRM will help you get customers just like a lead magnet tool would, but if you want to engage the customers, enhance their interactions, and maintain relationships with them, you’ll need a CRM.

Simply put, a lead magnet tool is a small part of a CRM.

22. How to Choose The Best CRM for Your Business?


It’s not easy. While there’s so much information out there on how to choose a CRM, it’s better to have a checklist to guide you through choosing a CRM for your business.

There’s no good or bad CRM. As long as it fulfills what your business needs and checks the boxes on your checklist, you can go for it.

Here’s a checklist to help you choose a CRM for your business.

Ease of use – It doesn’t matter how many cool and advanced features a CRM has if you cannot understand and use them comfortably. Choose a CRM that you’re comfortable using.

Integrations – Choose a CRM that has customizable third party apps. For example, the top giants in the CRM world Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365 have their own app marketplaces to help you further customize your CRM with integrations that suit your needs.

Scalability – As a small or medium business you plan on growing as time goes on. You need to invest in a CRM that grows with you. It’s always important to choose a CRM that adjusts to your needs.

Mobile – Sometimes you’ll have teams in the field that will require to share data, communicate, and access customer data. That’s why you need to invest in a CRM that allows mobile access.

Support channels – From time to time you’ll encounter issues and need to contact support to help you. Choose a CRM provider who has multiple contact channels. At least the CRM vendor should provide live chat, email support, and phone support.

Here are the most popular CRM software tools in 2021.

23. What is The Best CRM Implementation Process?


I’ll be totally honest with you.

It’s not easy to implement a CRM software in your business. It takes time. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to involve everyone in your organization and establish a commitment to the implementation process.

Create a good execution plan that is flexible enough to make any adjustments when needed.

The most effective way is to involve a professional implementation team to guide your organization through the process.

However, leadership is vital whenever coordination is needed in an organization.

There are some considerations you need to make to ensure everyone stays focused and motivated to implement your CRM.

Top level commitment

To show the importance of implementing your CRM get your top level stuff to commit to implementing the CRM.

Once the top managerial team gets committed, everyone else will see the importance and urgency of the implementation process.

Involve integrations

There are many systems within your organization that can be integrated into your CRM, such as phone calls, repetitive tasks such as manual data entry, and email tracking.

All these systems can be automated by integrating them into your CRM via a CTI solution (Computer Telephone Integration simply means connecting the telephone systems and computers).


Image Courtesy – Asagarwal.com

Since your employees have to use these systems, they’ll easily get used to the CRM if they have to use the CRM every time they need any of these systems.

Therefore they’ll get comfortable with the CRM.

Implement in phases

To ensure that no one is left behind you can start with the basics and slowly introduce new functions to ensure that everyone grasps every phase.


Use the resources from your CRM provider to educate your employees about how to use your CRM.

24. What Companies Can Benefit from CRM?


It’s simple:

Just about any company that manages several employees and has a growing number of customers.

Here are examples of CRMs that you can use depending on the size of your business.

  • Zoho CRM – the price starts from €12 per user per month. It’s robust and has an all in one functionality. It is the most popular and new user friendly CRM for small businesses with which you don’t have to be an expert to get started.
  • Hubspot CRM – the free version includes all the main features. It also has extra premium features to grow your business. It’s one of the best all-round CRMs for businesses that are growing steadily in industries such as marketing, consulting, speaking, real estate, law, etc.
  • Pipedrive CRM – starts from €15 per user per month. It’s one of the best sales-focused CRMs out there. It is not a great tool for managing existing clients, but one of the best for tracking prospects through a sale. It’s best for small and medium businesses.

25. What is The Difference Between On-Premise (Self-Hosted) and Cloud Based CRM?


On-premise (self-hosted) CRM is stored on servers located on your business premises while cloud based CRM is stored on the cloud and can only be accessed via the Internet through a web browser.

Both on-premise and cloud based versions have their benefits and tradeoffs associated with deployment and maintenance.

I put together a short overview of the main differences between these products.


26. What are The Costs Associated With On-Premise (Self-Hosted) and Cloud Based CRM Versions?


On-premise CRM versions require you to have hardware and software for local networks. The price range starts from a thousand dollars. For large enterprises the prices go to hundreds of thousands.

Additional costs are hosting services for remote installation and license key for self-hosted version, and additional user licences. (Depends on how many users you’ll have.)

Lastly, there is a salary for outsourced or in-house IT staff for project implementation and maintenance. (This could be a one-time payment or hourly payments for the service provided by IT specialists.)

Cloud based CRMs are cheaper.

It requires your business to have basic hardware assets such as laptop / mobile app devices that can provide access to the web. An Internet connection is necessary.

Most cloud based CRMs on our 2021 list have monthly or annual fees starting from $10 per user per month, and with more advanced CRMs there are additional training costs.

27. How Long Does it Take to Implement a CRM Solution?


It’ll take a couple of days to implement a ready to install solution. However, if you decide to build a custom CRM, it’ll take from 2 to 9 months. Mostly it will be due to features such as:

  • The number of departments to use the CRM
  • Third party integrations
  • Customization
  • The size of the data to be imported.

It’s easier to start with a cloud based CRM. Take a look at our list of the best CRMs in 2021.

28. Can an Employee Steal Customer Data from Our CRM?


Yes and no. It all depends on the permissions they have on your CRM.


Image Courtesy – Pipedrive.com

Your data should only be accessed by a few select KEY MEMBERS of your organizations.

These key members should also sign a nondisclosure agreement so that you can hold them liable if data get exposed. This way no one can steal your data unless an external breach occurs.


I hope you’ve learned a few things about CRM. If you have a question about a certain CRM or CRMs in general, feel free to contact me or comment below. I’d be happy to help you understand your CRM so that you can drive more sales to your business and retain customers.

If you are not sure which CRM to choose, this list of the top 10 CRMs in 2021 will hopefully make your CRM searching process easier.

Our CRM Software Review Process:

  1. Using Each CRM Software for 5+ Years.
  2. Ran Businesses With All of Them.
  3. Attended their Events.
  4. Tested for Consulting Industry,
  5. Business or Life Coaching,
  6. Authors,
  7. Blogging,
  8. E-commerce,
  9. B2b Marketing & Sales,
  10. Offline Business,
  11. And for Pipeline Based Sales Model Business.
  12. Compared Usability, Cost & Value.