Old, new, vampires, zombies, jumpy, gruesome – as a horror movie connoisseur, I have seen it all. Although hopefully less gory, shopping for a CRM has a surprising amount in common with my favorite movie genre; maybe that’s why I love walking nonprofits through the process of choosing a CRM.Observe the advice below to escape the danger of choosing an unsuitable CRM:

  1. Follow your instincts. We’re all familiar with the part in the scary movie when the bravest/most foolish character inches toward the creepy door to open it. This moment leaves you clutching your blanket and screaming “Don’t do it!” on the couch. As we all know, opening the door rarely proves to be a good idea. It was obvious there was danger behind the door, so why did he open it?If your sales representative is unresponsive or uncooperative, chances are your experience isn’t going to improve once you sign a contract. You should leave each interaction feeling better about the proposed software solution than when you began. Follow your gut if you feel like the interactions with your sales rep aren’t going well.
  2. Don’t split up. It’s important to keep your nonprofit colleagues in the loop while looking for software. If they understand how you came to the decision about your solution, they will be more likely to agree with your decision and embrace the new system. Involving the people who will actually be using the new system while shopping around will help you find a CRM that is user friendly and matches the needs of your organization.
  3. Avoid falling into a trap. Don’t let a software company lead you to what you think is a great solution, only to trap you with hidden fees. Make sure you ask about exactly what you are getting for the price you are quoted. One common surprise cost is training and support. Make sure you ask about the cost of training and support before deciding on a CRM.
  4. It’s a team effort. Much like defeating a hoard of zombies, choosing a CRM is best done with the help of a skilled team. It may be helpful to consider your sales representative as your teammate. A sales team from a great company really does want the best for you because trying to sell you software that you won’t use or won’t be happy with isn’t good for the reputation of the company or for your organization.
  5. Every story is a little different. It’s important to keep in mind that every nonprofit is different. An advanced CRM with all of the bells and whistles isn’t necessarily going to be the right fit for a small, new nonprofit on a budget. Make sure you choose the right system for YOU and the mission of your organization.
  6. It’s scary! Committing to a system can be intimidating. But if you do a proper amount of research, there isn’t really anything to be afraid of.
  7. Finish what you start. Unfortunately, just knocking the serial killer unconscious isn’t going to cut it. Sometimes, pausing your search can come back to bite you. The sooner you choose a CRM, the sooner you can start properly managing your data.

Shopping for new software shouldn’t be a scary experience. With the right tools, team, and mindset, you’ll have a great experience and get the best software for your organization’s needs.