What CRM To Use – 4 Helpful Questions To Ask

Sales podcast ep 28 The-Slow-Pitch-CRM for Sales
Sales Podcast, The Slow Pitch
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
What CRM To Use - 4 Helpful Questions To Ask


What CRM Is Right For Sales?

When you own a small business, choosing a CRM System can be daunting. By the way, a CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and the system is technology that manages several components of a company’s or salesperson’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. CRM and CRM System are often used interchangeably.

In this episode we talk about how to decide which CRM to use. Whether big or small, there are several factors that are important in any CRM. We walk through some of the important features and issues to help you decide which CRM is best for you to use.

Lane has narrowed down his choice to Aptivo. Aptivo claims to have “All the software you need to grow with your business”…and this includes a CRM option. One of the issues Lane identified early on in his pick is whether or not the separate functions will talk to what he uses already. If not, should he use it?

Questions to Ponder Before Selecting a CRM

During our discussion, Rob asked some questions to help him decide. Some of the questions include:
1. What happens if you don’t use a CRM?
2. What happens to the data if you need to transition out of Aptivo?
3. How do you need to use the data and how will this CRM help you track the stats that are important to know if you’re doing all the right things to maximize your success rate?
4. What if you need to export one piece of data? What is the tradeoff that you need to simply enter it again. Will it be too difficult or time consuming?

We also talk about the tradeoff between having the RIGHT CRM versus a Good Enough CRM system Does it make any difference? Does it hurt you to have Good Enough? …versus nothing at all?

Sometimes making a decision is tough, but some of the stuff we talk about in this episode should help you decide which CRM is right for you to use in your business.


Related Episodes:

Top 10 Sales Tips For Beginners

Increase Sales Conversion Using the 12-Week Year

How To Set Sales Goals For Sales People



Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:09

Welcome, everybody to The Slow Pitch. Welcome back. Welcome back. And hey, Lane. How are we doing over?

Lane  00:15

I’m doing great, Rob, how are you?

Rob  00:17

I’m doing well doing well. So what’s on your mind today? I know. We talked a little while back. But what’s on your mind today? What’s happened?

Lane  00:26

Well, a few episodes ago, Rob, we talked about CRMs. And I think I’d like to dig a little bit deeper in there.

Rob  00:31

Alright, so now that you bring that up, I do remember we had a little bit of a bet on the the CRM system that I bet you are not going to do it. I think that’s what the bet was. Right?

Lane  00:42

Yeah. You You bet that I would not do it. I bet that I would. And there was a beer tab involved.

Rob  00:46

That’s right. Beer tab. And so who owes what? For the beer tab?

Lane  00:52

Well, I did actually go and set up a, an account with Aptivo. And so I think you lost

Rob  00:58

Dang nab it!

V/O  01:00

You were listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  01:08

So you set up a CRM system, then?

Lane  01:12

I certainly did.

Rob  01:14

Alright, so what’s the problem? You see you got a problem with it? What’s going on? What if you set up How can it be What’s wrong?

Lane  01:19

Alright, so here’s my problem is so I have a an existing billing and provisioning system, you know, it creates accounts, it does all that fun stuff, invoicing, the billing, all that kind of fun stuff.

Rob  01:31

So kind of like… a after they become a client, it’s more of like a system for billing. But it’s also ticketing and,

Lane  01:41

Yep. ticketing. It takes care of pretty much everything except your base CRM.

Rob  01:48

Interesting. Why wouldn’t it take care of Okay, that’s interesting.

Lane  01:52

Yeah, it just doesn’t it’s not, you know, there is a an add on product, you know, third party products add on for that will add the CRM functionality to it. But it’s, it’s not the best, shall we say? It could be adequate, but it’s not the best.

Rob  02:06

Before we get too far. What would be wrong with just adding that on, even though it’s not the best?

Lane  02:11

Because I want the best. But no, that’s the silly short answer. There’s nothing inherently wrong. I just worry that it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that a full-blown CRM would have.

Rob  02:22

Okay, so I’ve been in your shoes, right? Like, I analyze things, and I try to overthink things. But if it does the job, that may be the easy answer. Like it may be like, alright, these already communicate, you already fixes that problem, which is the bigger problem, a CRM system that doesn’t communicate with your ticketing system, or your invoicing system or all that, or having to work on figuring out a way to migrate stuff, I’m assuming it’s what you have to do, right and migrate.

Lane  02:48

Ultimately, that’s my big problem with a whole wholly separate CRM platform is, you know, I’m gonna have a whole bunch of customer data there, well, potential client data. And then when someone becomes a client, now I have to migrate them over to another platform.

Rob  03:01

Okay. So which is the bigger headache is a bigger headache having to do that, or a bigger headache saying, Listen, I’ve got a CRM system, it’s not the best in the world. But it tracks key pieces of information that also automatically migrates into my new system, or my ticketing system, or my invoicing system, which is more of a headache, and which is more of a process that you I feel like it’s okay to put up with. Don’t think of just today think of fast forward 12 months, three years, because the likelihood of you jumping from one program to another is pretty low.

Lane  03:34


Rob  03:34

Think about that. Now you have thousand new CRM pieces,

Lane  03:40

And to me the short term, it’s it’s easier just to take the little CRM plugin that can work with my, you know, my billing provisioning system, that’s quick and easy. Okay, yeah, it works. But I am thinking, you know, a year, three years, five years down the road, and I don’t know that that’s going to be adequate. But that’s also where I turn around and start thinking, Okay, well, now I’m just duplicating data everywhere. Right? And what what headaches is that going to create for me?

Rob  04:07

All right, is the invoicing side that the, what did you refer to it as another term? Why did you use it like

Lane  04:13

A billing and provisioning system

Rob  04:14

Billing and provisioning systems? Very fancy words, I don’t use those words very often. So the billing and provisioning system and plus there’s a lot of B’s, and P’s. So they’re just popping going on with that… billing and provisioning system… that is going to be able to make it past the three year mark, do you think or do you think?

Lane  04:31

Oh yeah.

Rob  04:31

Well, okay, so that’s pretty hardy. It’s a CRM side. Do they know that their CRM system is weak? And they’re they’re going to continue to develop that? And and, could you give them feedback? Are you paying for it? And will you give them feedback so they can fix that?

Lane  04:46

Yeah, um, It’s developed by a third-party separately from even the people that that have the billing provisioning system. So I know they’ll take some feedback, but you there’s no guarantee that it’s really going to go anywhere. It’s going to depend on how many how many of their Clients are really using and all that kind of fun stuff.

Rob  05:01

Sure, yeah. But obviously, there’s a partnership there. So they kind of have an inherent reason for them to push that other company to get it up to snuff. So there might be some value there, but there might not so alright, let’s assume that it’s an it’s a bigger headache to have to deal with that and migrate it later that you don’t want to use the one that’s, that’s already synced up and linked up, right? And now you’re going to try to evaluate a CRM system that is going to be worth working for you on the other side of pre sale side. What is it that you’re you’re struggling with? With that now, you said, You looked up one of them? What do we want to talk about what that one is? or?

Lane  05:34

Yeah, I’ve started sign up with Aptivo. So they have absolutely everything. And I think this is where my head started spinning a bit is they of course, based on whatever package you get how many apps you get, and and you know, it’ll do ticketing, it’ll do project management, it’ll do invoicing, it’ll do absolutely everything if you want it to.

Rob  05:52

So billing and provisioning is still there?

Lane  05:55

Aptivo has stuff to do billing the way they want it done, but not the way you know, I need it done…

Rob  06:01

I gotcha. So is that a perfect fit? But it’s semi there. Okay. So the issue then becomes how do i… Is it how do I evaluate whether or not this is a good system to use? Or what’s the problem?

Lane  06:13

Yeah, part of it, I guess part of it is, is evaluating whether it’s a good fit, but I I still, always circle back to my duplication of data.

Rob  06:22

So you want to reduce the duplication piece? How does Aptivo, do an export? Can you export it easily? Does it do it to excel? Or does the other one except Excel? Do you know that answer?

Lane  06:32

I don’t know the answer, I don’t know how it comes out of Aptivo, I would imagine you can export somehow importing may not be the easiest way

Rob  06:39

Importing from Aptivo to the other.

Lane  06:41

Yeah, yeah…

Rob  06:42


Lane  06:43

What are you googling?

Rob  06:44

No, I’m looking at up to his website and trying to figure out if you can, based on their website descriptions if you’re an export…. [MUSIC]    Okay, so for those of you listening here, we just kind of went into geek mode, we kind of went into all the guts and you know, all the insides of this a little bit. And then, of course, couldn’t find what we were looking for, which I’m sure is normal because when you when your CRM system, you don’t want people to be able to export stuff easily. You don’t want him to be able to jump around, so, it’s there. But you got to do some search…and so finally, Lane says, Let’s Google this. And so he Googled it. Sure enough, you can export Okay, so we’ve got we’ve got an idea, you can export your stuff, your data using Excel over now. I think the issue becomes that’s nice to export everything, but you’re saying every time you do a sale, it’s closed. Now all of a sudden, it needs to be brought over. That data, you don’t want to spend the time having to re enter all that data, correct?

Lane  07:39

Yeah, ideally, it’d be great just to be able to say, Okay, yeah, let’s go place an order and the transfer that over.

Rob  07:45

Convert it to a project or a sale. Yeah. And I would agree, that’s usually something that’s very helpful. But my… I think my question becomes, how much time is that going to take to convert from the information in your CRM and enter that into your new invoicing and billing and procurement section?

Lane  08:02

In the grand scheme? It probably doesn’t. It’s not gonna take but a couple of minutes. I just, I know I overanalyze things always. And I just worry about Okay, for now, if I like my client calls me and says, Hey, I’m changing my phone number or my address, I updated in one place, but it’s out of sync and the other and then nothing lines up.

Rob  08:22

Yeah, listen, that’s not unusual. I know to have things go perfectly. You’d have to build your own CRM, your whole system yourself, right? But then somebody else is gonna say that’s not what they want. So that’s the beauty of CRM is they’re very flexible. How many things do you think you can do just in the CRM side of Aptivo? I mean, I mean, looking at it, what do you what do you there’s like all kinds of stuff you can put in here.

Lane  08:42

Oh, it’s, it’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy.

Rob  08:44

It’s customizable. There’s all kinds of integrations you can from a lead capture, there’s a web to leads, in other words, you can put a web form on your website that then converts it into a lead when they enter their information in right. That’s right, how I read it. And then you can also put it in through email. So if you want to email yourself this information, I think, is what they’re saying. Or they just somebody sends an email to you, you can import it, and you can manually enter it, then you can start to customize things where you have different fields, you can add fields, take away fields, have some searches, that kind of thing, and then have a conversion piece, which kind of puts it into the contacts and from a lead converts it into an opportunity. So how often in your process, do you have a lead that’s been generated on your side that isn’t or doesn’t become an opportunity? Have you ever had how many how often you have that happen? It happens to me, but I don’t often happens to you.

Lane  09:35

It happens like 25% of the time.

Rob  09:37

Yeah. And that’s about right, because I think what happens is you get some people that put their stuff in, you reach out you talk to them for a few minutes. And after a little while you’re like this person is either (a) crazy and you should never do business with them. Or (b) in the initial conversation. You can tell right then and there. It’s too early, they’re not ready for you. And then the other reason that they become one where they’re just not ready to convert to an opportunity is they don’t have the funds just based on the conversation and things that you’re going through. And it’s sometimes it takes a half an hour hour of a conversation, but it’s worth that effort. The goal when you have a lead, is to try to figure out, are they a real opportunity? Or is this just garbage, because obviously, garbage in garbage out. And the more that you can weed that out before you get there before they can convert it to an opportunity, the better off you are. So I’ll spend, I’ll invest, I look at it as an investment, I’ll invest an hour of a conversation with somebody, before I ever make them an opportunity, I’ll put them in as a lead. But then it converted to an opportunity, once I’ve had that conversation. Now, once I have an opportunity, once during that opportunity to spot now becomes a little bit more of an in depth conversation. And more than likely, I’ve already gone through enough conversation with them to know that this is a pretty likely sale. So I’ll leave them out of the opportunity mode until I feel like they actually have the ability to make the decision, know that they have the ability to invest in my services, and that they don’t need anybody else helping them with that and they have enough pain to go forward. If I know all of that, then I put them in as an opportunity before that is be still pretty much a lead. Now, the cool part is is I don’t know if this Have you been able to dig around a little bit. But when you put them in as a lead, can you put them in as a hot lead? Or a cold lead? Can you? Have you been able to find that or See that?

Lane  11:21

I don’t know? I don’t know.

Rob  11:23

Okay, my guess is that you can and here’s… you. And it could be just as simple as setting up a field. When I’ve done this stuff, I set up a field that is a 1 to 10 ranking. When I say 1 to 10. I mean, like 10 this person is… they’re legit. I don’t have enough information quite yet. But I do know that I have enough information to make the decision. They’re not crazy. And we can continue to talk at least that part, right? And then if I get to conversation with them, and I go, this person is a little bit nuts, but I believe they have the funds. I’ve got to figure out do I want to do business with this person, right? And this is whether or not I want to, is this gonna be worth the time or not, then I might put them at a three, four or five somewhere in there, depending on the level that they are. So in if they’re truly crazy, I just put them in a one or a zero, and I don’t want to deal with them ever again. But they’re there in case I need to send out newsletters and information, right? So because they may, they may end up with funds at some point.

Lane  12:18


Rob  12:18

So that’s kind of how I would look at your your fields, if you will, when you set it up is setting them up in terms of leads how hot or how cold they are. Once you have that, that becomes your priority list of what you’re following up on all the time. And then when you convert them, then they become the opportunities now you know that they’re past the point of worth it or not worth it? It’s like they’re legit. And these are good opportunities.

V/O  12:43

Do you have a question about sales call or text or question at 608-708- SLOW that’s 608-708-7569. Or you can email them to Questions@TheSlowPitch.com. Now, back to the show.

Rob  13:02

From a sales tracking standpoint, I think the really important part and you tell me if I’m off bace here a little bit Lane, but I think one of the more important things in sales tracking is being able to see big picture where you are against your goal. So if you’ve set goals, where are you against that, whether that’s by month, by quarter, or by year, in which would you if you had to pick one, what would you measure against?

Lane  13:30

Well, based on one of our previous conversations, you know, approaching every quarter as if it’s if it’s a year, I think we have to go by quarter.

Rob  13:39

Wow, you…I’m impressed. I’m impressed. Somebody has been listening to the podcast, I like it. I know, I know, I would do it. Yes, I would say quarterly is a good way to go for the quarter. Because it really gets you motivated to say, if this is my year, I got to hit this number in this quarter. That was really urgent. And I and I would even venture to break down into weekly if I had a choice because I would say how much do I need to get in each week? Knowing I have flexibility, but not not as much as I think right?

Lane  14:07


Rob  14:07

So having that dashboard is really important to know where you are versus the other win/loss. The thing I think is really important to know is what percent of the conversations that you have that have gotten to the opportunity level. They’ve been vetted enough you could do business with them, you know they have the funds. Did you win the project? Or did you not win the project? That is an interesting number to measure. And a lot of people think they know it, but when you really push on it, they don’t really know the exact numbers and what percentage is when and what percentage is lost. And even over time, like in the first quarter, I tend to lose more or less or about the same as in the second quarter and so on. And if you start to know that you’ll know hey, my goal in second quarter is too high. Because May just for whatever reason every year dives and I didn’t know that and so maybe I need to boost up third quarter and make second quarter shorter. So that I’m in line with where I need to be and know that in third quarter, I need to go after it. And in second quarter, I’m building, I’m planting seeds. And I’m building stuff. So when I know that I’m gonna have a slow season, or I know when I would go into a slow month, what I’ll do is I’ll start to think about what are all the activities that I can do now, that’s going to drive a lead 1, 2, 3, 6 months later, if I know that I’m going to go out networking, or I’m going to make cold calls, or I’m going to go follow up on emails that are that are a little bit older. And say hey, have you ever that figured out? Because they just disappeared on me. Sometimes that happens when they come back. I’ve I’ve called old emails or old prospects, so to speak, old leads to figure out where they are, and sometimes they come back to life. So during those months, those are really important times to start to work on looking at forward momentum in today’s world, right in today’s time. Yeah, so that’s one of those things that people understand with sales tracking. So would that be something you would use? Do you think sales tracking?

Lane  16:06

I think I would Yeah, I think that’s that’s definitely worth having it. And, and seeing those those patterns over time and understanding what your your busy times of the year or your your lean months are, and whatnot.

Rob  16:19

Yeah, and I think that’s, that’s always helpful for folks, based on everything we just kind of went through and all the different elements that’s in this Aptivo piece, is this… Do you think this was helpful? Did you get something out of this? Was this helpful for you?

Lane  16:32

I think it’s helpful because for me, it helped me understand that I really do need to use Aptivo or something like that, rather than a possibly subpar plugin for my other platform. But I also think it’s beneficial because you spoke about parts of this that I probably wouldn’t have myself thought of, with, you know, the win/loss and things like that, that I should I should be tracking in. And that’s probably why I need to go with the professional application rather than a plugin because the… there is more benefit there.

Rob  17:06

All right, good. I’m glad to hear that. So that that makes me feel better.

Lane  17:10

Yeah, I’m curious if, if this has helped anyone else out there who’s listening? If it has, please drop us an email, tweet us, Facebook, us, Instagram us? We’re out there.

Rob  17:20

We, we are not very much. Not very much. I mean, you know, but we do pay attention. So and the other thing is, is if you have questions, just you know, drop us a line when those same things we want to we want to be able to answer your questions as well. I know that some, some questions are out there that have not been answered by us yet. And we’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to still go through. But we absolutely appreciate you listening because it means a lot when we know we can help somebody in their sale. I get nothing out of this. I don’t have to… we don’t we don’t sell sales. This is what works for us. And we want to make sure that you get something out of it as well. Alright, let’s let’s wrap it up then, Lane. Until next time.

Lane  17:52

Until next time,

Rob  17:54

We’ll see you

Lane  17:55


V/O  17:56

Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales call or text your question at 608-708-SLOW, that’s 608-708-7569 or you can email them to Questions@TheSlowPitch.com. Slow Down and Close More!

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