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For a startup, the right tools can make the difference between efficient operations and chaos. Many times, a fledgling company feels that they should immediately buy every tool that they might possibly need in the future. Since each new tool requires a period of learning, adding too many at once can wreak havoc on productivity. It is better for startups to embrace tools gradually. This allows them to learn precisely what each tool can do, identify any gaps and select the right additional tools to address any deficiencies.

Two tools that can be extremely valuable to startups are a CRM and a project management program. However, there are many different varieties of these two tools. Selecting the one that is right for your organization requires evaluating your needs as well as the capabilities of the different programs.

A CRM can tie customer service, marketing and sales together, allowing everyone to have access to a holistic view of the customer. At the minimum, you want a CRM to track contact data, record a customer’s purchase history, track marketing campaigns and measure sales goals. Some CRMs can devise and deliver email campaigns, interface with your social media accounts, store invoices or provide easy access to contracts. Deciding on the features your need will help you evaluate the different options available to you.

When selecting a project management tool, you will find that there are a number of possibilities offering different features and functionality. Although your exact requirements may vary, most companies prefer a solution that is easy to deploy, easy to use and accessible from any location. It should be capable of managing small and large projects with the same interface, offer a management dashboard that consolidates information on all active projects and provide real-time information. Other factors to consider include the ability to work with existing tools, an environment that fosters collaboration, time-tracking features and robust reporting capabilities.

Regardless of which tools you select, it is important to remember that the people using them can affect whether the deployment succeeds. It may be wise to talk to these people before making a decision. This allows you to discover their pain points, learn what is most important to them and identify the problems that the new tools should address. Another important point to remember is that users may need training on the new program, so you will need to allocate the time and money to ensure that they understand how to use the program. Otherwise, you may find that users who struggle with the new tool may avoid it, undermining your efforts to improve productivity.

PhaseAlpha provides customized software solutions to clients in a wide range of industries. We work with startups as well as international corporations, offering every client extraordinary results and superior customer service. To learn more, send an email to info@phasealpha.com or call 1-888-559-5673.