If you’re dealing with only a trickle of donations or sales, managing these incoming transactions by hand is relatively easy. But as your organization grows, you need dedicated tools to help you manage your members and transactions.
This is why many organizations turn to customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Tools such as Salesforce (for businesses) and neonCRM (for nonprofits) can help automate the process, making it easier to track the who, what, when, where and why of every dollar entering your payment environment.
CRM tools can also:
- Increase your productivity by making it easier to spot new opportunities and discover what works
- Save you time by removing the need to record every transaction by hand
- Improve reporting accuracy by reducing calculation errors and redundancies
However, these benefits exist only if you choose the right CRM platform for your organization. How do you know whether you’re using the best tool possible? Below are some of the most important criteria that should factor into your decision-making.
Your organization may be small today, but as you continue to grow, you want a CRM platform that can keep pace with your evolving needs.
Ideally, your CRM solution should provide anytime/anywhere access. After all, your sales team may go on the road, or your campaign volunteers could host off-site events.
You want a CRM platform that plays nicely with the other business tools you’re already using. Can yours sync with your organization’s newsletter service? Does it integrate with social media? If not, you may need to look elsewhere.
Although most CRM tools work out of the box, it’s important that your platform allows advanced customization. Can yours generate user-generated reports? Can you set goals and track them?
5. Ease of Use
Features and functionality are great, but only if you know how to use them. Every minute spent installing, training or troubleshooting is a minute taken away from more critical functions — like running your association.
You might notice that pricing isn’t on this list. While it’s important to keep costs to a minimum, what ultimately matters is the value you receive from your customer relationship management experience. In fact, it’s often worth paying a premium if your CRM platform provides the flexibility and support you need.
The Limitations of CRM Tools
Although the benefits of CRM solutions are well documented, getting started isn’t always easy. One of the biggest hurdles you might face involves convincing your sales team to share member information. This is especially true when placing data in the cloud — as is the case with many SaaS-based CRM solutions.
In addition, most CRM tools are standalone platforms that don’t automatically sync with your organization’s payment environment — meaning there’s still a lot of manual data entry involved. You can get around this with payment integration. As new memberships and donations come in, payment integration allows your CRM platform to automatically capture those transactions.
Not every payment processor supports this type of integration, but at BluePay, we’ve developed payment modules for some of the most popular CRM tools on the market.
For a full list of our payment integration solutions, click here.