So, you’re in the market for a contact data management software system. It’s a big decision! However, just like buying a car – sometimes folks decide to test drive web-based CRM or contact management software before committing to a paid subscription. Signing up for a demo or a month-long free trial can give you a good idea if the data management system is for you, and often you can extend your trial for a couple of extra weeks. But if you’re like a lot of shoppers, you may not be making the most of your test drive!

Here are a few tips to be sure that you take full advantage of your advance look at a potential cloud-based CRM software purchase. Let’s suppose that you have carefully considered the options and have now narrowed down your choices to two-four contact management solutions that may suit your needs. You’ve compared the contact management systems for price, usability and reputation and are ready for a closer look before that all-important final decision.

The best cloud-based contact management systems offer you a screen-share demonstration, the chance to test the product with a free trial, (such as the one offered by Contact Boss), or both. You may think you don’t have time to spend on a trial or demo, but remember that once a customer contact software choice is made, the effort to reverse and switch to another product can be considerable! So, a “test drive” is well worth the time and effort spent. Before you made the decision to shop for a CRM contact management tool, you no doubt made a list of needs that would be met by a new contact manager software. Begin with that summary as you book your demo or free trial. 

Firstly, you may wonder if it’s a demo or a free trial subscription you need most.

We recommend getting to know your basic contact manager software supplier with a quick demonstration call where you will walk through the primary features with the aid of a knowledgeable company representative. Other demo options may be via a self-serve online demonstration, webinar, or a virtual video tour. The personalized demo may work best for most client tracking software shoppers since the features will be clearly explained, according to your company needs. Plus, the best online contact manager company representatives will welcome questions from your team!

Like what you see? Move on to a trial subscription to decide if this is the best client management system that’s right for your small business.

No doubt you have very specific goals in signing up for a cloud CRM software for small business – but let’s revisit some of the most common goals here:

  • More efficient storage and sorting of customer data
  • Improved customer service or sales
  • Better use of staff time
  • Greater security and accountability of contact records

Plus, you may have a list of expectations of what you are looking for in a web-based client management software supplier – for instance:

  • Great customer service
  • Affordability
  • Flexibility
  • Usability

Spending the time on your trial subscription can help you evaluate all of the above, and aid greatly in making your final choice, so before you enroll in an address management software subscription be sure to prepare properly!

Generally, a free subscription will be available for about 30 days, and provide a basic version of the customer database management software. One excellent feature of the “test drive” is that you can assess the contact database software in your own time – however many companies make the mistake of subscribing for a free trial before the team is ready to evaluate. Do check, as some companies may be able extend the offer for one or two more sessions if your situation has prevented your team from properly assessing the software free trial. Also keep in mind that the free trial offered by most software providers may not include all the features available in a full paid version, so be sure to ask about capabilities that you may not see during the test drive. Also, you should clarify any auto-renewal clauses and payment expectations, as some CRM software providers may include an “auto-renew” clause.

If you are booking a demo or free trial with a contact database management software firm, we suggest that you consider the following six steps for greatest success in your free trial experience.

1. Create a CRM contact manager software selection team.

Identify a small number of key staff members who will be day-to-day users of the business contact software product and have clear ideas on requirements for various parts of your organization. Assign a leader who ensures that the client contact software is being tested in real-life situations and is prepared to provide weekly updates on feedback and questions as the trial continues.

2. Know your business needs.

Talk with your team and itemize pain points. Analyze any issues related to processes in your current customer relationship management protocol. How do you want to improve with a new online system? i.e. is productivity a priority, or great customer service, or increased sales?

3. Have a plan for your trial period.

After your demo, there are no doubt questions yet to be answered, or features to be tested. Are there any issues of concern? Develop an evaluation matrix or checklist to be sure that the client management software trial covers off the issues on your mind. It will also help compare one supplier against another based on your own organization’s top priorities in order to find the best contact database for small business.

4. Consider the onboarding process.

Will your new contact data management software integrate all existing data seamlessly? Does it work well with existing company systems?

5. Compatibility.

Making a software purchase decision suggests an ongoing relationship that will go beyond set-up. Can you work well with the online contact database software supplier? Will they provide excellent customer service after the initial start up period? Are training and updates available for your team?

6. Can this software be customized?

Perhaps the CRM tool offers your small business the features it needs today but you see your organization growing at some point in the future. Can this software provider scale up easily or offer custom solutions according to your company’s medium- and long-term plans? For example, Contact Boss offers a customized Enterprise version that is developed exactly to your organization’s requirements.

It’s a big step to select the most effective and affordable contact database management software to fit your organizational needs. If you have taken the time and effort to set up a free trial, be sure that you make the most of the opportunity for that all-important “test drive!”


About Author

A consummate communicator, Carol Horne has undertaken a variety of content creation projects over the past few decades. She supplied, assigned and edited copy for the majority of Tourism PEI’s consumer content. She led the marketing team at Confederation Centre where she developed marketing and communications strategies to enhance awareness and generate revenue for the theatre, gallery, restaurant and gift shop. In her role as Chief Marketing Officer she oversaw the development and execution of marketing, graphic design, social media, communications and PR, sales, development and guest services activity plans. As manager of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s online media centre and the US consumer E-Newsletter she was in charge of creating and curating Canada’s tourism promotion content.

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