10 Steps to Choosing the Right CRM
By Amer Wilson
CRM systems are known to fuel explosive business growth. Businesses of all sizes are turning to it to help them achieve even greater levels of success. However, what many businesses fail to realize is that choosing a CRM software entails significant risk if meticulous planning is not done beforehand. If a proper road-map is not chalked out, chances are that your implementation strategy might work out and you risk losing money on your investment.
Nobody makes the wrong decision for his business on purpose. It is due to lack of adequate knowledge that businesses fail to simplify processes which result in costly CRM implementations, leading to failure. To help you cope with this pressing issue, we have put together the 10 essential steps involved in choosing the right CRM solution for your business. These steps are:
1. Define your Business and Functional Requirements.
Firstly, it is important to identify the needs of the business which in turn will help to understand in what capacity CRM can fulfill the objectives of the business. Once the requirements of a business have been highlighted, the business will be prepared better to select the most appropriate software.
2. Get everyone on board
Implementing CRM is a major change for any organization. Thus, it is essential to get everyone in the organization on board in order to ensure a smooth transition. The involvement of the top management is likely to improve the credibility of the systems, making it easier for the rest of the employees to comply.
3. Evaluate the options.
Depending on your business requirements and the resources you have at your disposal, you need to decide whether to opt for a cloud CRM or an all premise CRM. Both have their own pros and cons. On premise is the traditional deployment method as many people are reluctant to move their data into the cloud due to security concerns. All major CRM companies offer cloud versions of their software. The final decision will be made based on how comfortable the management of your company is with its data residing in the cloud.
4. On the basis of evaluation results, select the best CRM software.
Since you are going to invest a lot of time, money and human resources when purchasing a CRM, you deserve the best available option that will get you the desired return on investment (ROI). There is a plethora of options in the market which can make the decision making process complex and intriguing. But we are here to make the journey for you as simple as we can. Have a look at the info-graphic below which compares and contrasts 13 leading CRM software in the industry.
5. Make a list of CRM vendors, offering your preferred product.
Every CRM has its strengths and weaknesses. Another aspect that needs to be kept in mind is the cost of each CRM solution since you don’t want to go over budget when making the final purchase. On the contrary, you shouldn’t cut down on the crucial functionality of CRM solution in order to accommodate the budget,. Therefore, you need to be extremely cautious in your search of a CRM vendor.
6. Evaluate CRM vendor through its presentation and demonstration.
Once the best options have been shortlisted, you should call the vendors and ask their business analysts to give a presentation demonstrating the features & functionality of their product. Ask them about the deployment methods and the time it would take to set up the system. Also inquire about the training and support services so your employees can be armed with the skill set to use the CRM system effortlessly.
7. Question the vendor about the customization/integration capabilities
No matter which CRM you opt for, an out-of-the-box solution will never be robust enough to connect with every department of your business. You will have to integrate it with third party apps such as accounting, e-commerce, social media, ERP, online web portals, databases etc. so that you get a 360 degree customer view. Hence, ensure that you go for a solution whose functionality can be easily extended through customizations/integrations.
8. Ask all possible questions and clarify every ambiguity.
Until and unless you are fully convinced as to how a particular CRM can help you accomplish your business objectives, do not take the final decision. Hasty decisions often tend to backfire. There should not be even a shred of doubt in your mind as to whether you should be taking this step or not. You might get intimidated at the last stage but don’t back out. Remember that it’s an investment that will definitely pay off.
The last two steps are straightforward.
9. Discuss optimal purchase scenario and favorable terms involved.
10. Make your purchase decision.
And you are done. You have taken the first step that will go a long way in determining the future success of your business.