All businesses are unique. In fact, the more different your business is, the stronger its competitive advantage is likely to be. That's why it's very important to choose a CRM that is customizable. A customizable CRM won't force you to change your processes to match everyone else. A customizable CRM will enhance, not erode your competitive advantage.
A rigid CRM may force your sales staff to do unnecessary work. For example, consider a business that deals primarily with people as customers, like a firm of family lawyers. A rigid CRM may force your sales staff to create a "company" in addition to a person:
This creates a lot of confusion and extra work.
While most CRMs allow you to customize the steps in the sales process, they often don't allow you to visualize the flow. For example, after a deal is closed, you may want to collect a deposit from the customer. Here's how this would look in a drop-down list:
It isn't clear from this list that leads should move from "Closed Won" to "Deposit Paid". If your salespeople are working with a visual pipeline, this is obvious:
Many CRMs come with a set of pre-configured reports and metrics. These are good to get you started, but very often they are too simplistic and can't be customized. You'll end-up having to export your data into a spreadsheet for proper analysis.
On the other hand, CRMs like TaskPutty CRM allow you to do complex calculations right inside the CRM, using Excel-like formulas:
CRMs like this can even be used to calculate sales commissions. This is great because salespeople can have real-time access to their commission reports.
You want simple forms with only the relevant information for YOUR business. Long, complex forms with lots of optional fields confuse people.
This CRM does a bad job of hiding optional fields. Only "First Name" is required, but you cannot hide the other fields:
Don't fall into the trap of buying a CRM that isn't customizable. See your CRM as strategic investment and use it to strengthen your competitive advantage. Only a CRM that can be customized to YOUR business can help you do that.