Business Management

Shopping for a small business CRM and automation software? Beware of this mistake

Caroline Burk

Updated: Jun 10, 2024 · 4 min read

Hand holding a phone, along with question marks and comment bubbles everywhere

Shopping for a small business CRM and automation software is no easy feat. And all the options on the market only make the search more complex to the point where you’re hesitant to commit to any software because you’re afraid you’ll pick the wrong one.

We know how painful this process can be because we talk to people going through it every day. Through thousands of sales conversations, the Keap team has noticed a common mistake most small businesses make as they search for software — a mistake that prolongs the process and adds unnecessary confusion: Asking the wrong questions.

So, while you can’t escape the software shopping experience forever, you can learn from others and discover how to ask the right questions. Then you’ll be well on your way to saving time and optimizing every area of your business. Let’s get into it.

The core issue

Asking the wrong questions is just the tip of the iceberg. This issue actually stems from having the wrong mindset entirely when shopping for a small business CRM and automation platform.

Let’s look at an example: A member of Keap’s sales team was recently talking to a prospect who asked them “Can I manage my Gmail inbox with Keap?” The prospect was adamant about this feature, but why? They eventually explained that Gmail is where their new lead inquiries land, and their employees need those emails to come through in a timely manner so they can respond efficiently.

This reply caused a lightbulb moment for our sales rep because it’s a tell-tale sign that the person they’re talking to has the wrong mindset about what small business CRM and automation can do.The question the prospect asked isn’t bad — they need to know if their potential platform offers the solutions their team needs to make sales. However, they’re forgetting that this software wasn’t made to recreate their current workflows. Thinking this way is what keeps so many software shoppers from asking questions that truly matter, the ones that will help them find the perfect solution for their business.

The remedy

The prospect in the scenario above learned that their team wouldn’t need to worry about responding to lead inquiries sent to their Gmail account because Keap’s software would do it for them automatically. That’s when the lightbulb went off on their end and they realized:

  1. The true power of small business automation and CRM software
  2. How it could streamline their workflows, cut out manual tasks, save time and help them delight their audience
  3. What questions they should really be asking as they shop around

This is just one example of what happens to the businesses we talk to, but it illustrates the mindset shift that needs to happen for everyone in the market for CRM and automation software.

To avoid asking the wrong questions, you have to realize that this software wasn’t meant to recreate your current processes. It was designed to transform your task management, data storage, internal workflows, customer outreach and more. The right platform should take your current business processes and change them for the better.

Adopting this approach will reveal what you truly want automation and CRM software to do for you so you can ask the right questions and more efficiently find the platform that offers the best solutions.

If the lightbulb is going off for you, lean into it! You’re one step closer to finding your ideal software match. Use the questions below to guide your search and keep the momentum going:

Questions to ask instead

  • How can this software optimize and fill the gaps in my sales funnel?
  • In what ways can this business automation and CRM platform level up the way I currently communicate with leads and customers?
  • What features does this software have to help me and my team save time?
  • How can this software help me generate thorough reports more efficiently?
  • Can this technology integrate with my existing apps and tools (ie. social media, email, project management, etc.)?
  • What is the learning curve for new users?
  • What kind of training and support do you provide?
  • Are there user-friendly resources, such as tutorials or a knowledge base, to help my team get up to speed?
  • How well does this CRM scale with business growth, such as an increase in users, contacts, and data?

Navigate the search with free resources

We know that finding a technology that meets the needs of you and your team is time-consuming. Fixing your mindset and asking the right questions are just two parts of a much larger process, but they’re great places to start.

To help you every step of the way as you browse different software options, we’ve put together two free resources:

What is Business Automation?

Read about the ins and outs of business automation, including why you need it, its four categories, implementation tips and more.

CRM Buyers' Guide

Take your CRM search to the next level and arm yourself with the knowledge in this free guide. You’ll learn how to know it’s time for a small business CRM, which features you should look for, implementation services that should be offered and questions to ask before purchasing.

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