How to Pick the Right CRM? – Tips and Factors to Look Out For!

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CRM systems are known to fuel explosive business growth. Businesses of all sizes are turning to them to help achieve even greater levels of success.

Due to the advancements in technology and ultra-competitive markets,CRM has matured into a complex, multi-tiered support system. From providing real-time updates to centralizing customer data, CRM software offers countless features and applications that help businesses retain their customers and optimize business processes. With the advent of mobile apps for CRM, managing businesses has become more convenient than ever. So, what could go wrong?

What many businesses fail to realize is that choosing a CRM software entails a significant amount of risk if meticulous planning is not done beforehand. If a proper road-map is not chalked out, chances are that your implementation strategy might not 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, resulting in costly CRM implementations, hence, leading to failure. To help you cope with this pressing issue, we have put together the 10 essential steps involved in picking 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 that in what capacity a CRM can fulfill the objectives of the business. The rule of thumb is to list down the number of problems you’d like your CRM to solve, followed by defining the vital features that you’d like in your CRM.

Highlighting your business problems, as a result, will pave the way for a successful CRM implementation, with little to no CRM implementation mistakes made. As no two CRMs are alike, and as your business processes are unique, it makes sense to invest in a CRM that is customized to meet your business needs. Learn why a customized CRM is better for your business.

Once the requirements of a business have been highlighted, the business will be better prepared 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.

Implementing CRM to build stronger ties with your customer base involves getting the right people on board with the management. Otherwise, no matter how good the CRM is, it is pointless if you don’t have the right people using it.

“If you do not put the right tools and the right information in the hands of your people, they will not be able to perform as effectively as their CRM empowered counterparts,” asserts Jim Dickie, the Managing Partner of Insight Technology Group.

In short, people who are going to use the CRM should have a say in its selection.

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 to the cloud due to security concerns. All major CRM companies also 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, Pick the Right 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 your desired return on investment (ROI). There is a plethora of options in the market which can make the decision making process complex and intimidating. But we are here to make the journey for you as simple as we can. Have a look at the infographic below which compares and contrasts 13 leading CRM software in the industry.

5. Make a List of CRM Vendors, Offering Your Preferred Product

Too often CRM implementations miss the mark because most businesses neglect the importance of budgeting. As CRM software substantially impacts the performance of an organization, businesses should carefully invest time and resources in outlining the budget.

Furthermore, since organizations are continuously working towards becoming more efficient, they should pick a CRM solution that is within their budgets. From a monthly to a yearly subscription, software vendors offer a variety of affordable solutions.

Every CRM has its strengths and weaknesses. Another aspect that needs to be kept in mind is the cost of each CRM solution. No business would want to go over budget when making its final purchase. On the contrary, businesses shouldn’t cut down on the crucial functionality of CRM solutions in order to accommodate their budgets. Therefore, extreme caution is advised when in search for a CRM vendor.

The bottom line is that organizations have to determine what works best for their business instead of letting a CRM vendor decide their fate.

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. Furthermore, 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. Learn the possible various benefits of CRM integrations. Hence, ensure that you go for a solution whose functionality can be easily extended through customization/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 even be 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 be rational. Remember that it’s an investment that will definitely pay off.

9. Discuss Optimal Purchase Scenario and Favorable Terms Involved

Corona Medical Centre – An Example

Smart organizations like the Corona Medical Centre in Corona, CA were able to streamline their processes by identifying their problems. With sales information scattered across different platforms and lack of integration between different systems, the staff at the Corona Medical Center had to manually work on their reporting tools. This was both time and labor intensive.

Sugar provided Corona an easy to use application that stored and shared information. With cross-module reporting, Corona was able to effectively evaluate their sales activities. And as Synolia was able to implement Sugar, their quote software was integrated into a single sales information system. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if Sugar took the ‘one size fits all’ approach.

With Sugar, we implemented a solution that fits our business, instead of having to adapt to a rigid software system” said Laurent Guenier, Corona Medical’s IT manager.

SugarCRM provided Corona with a solution that was customized for their system. As a result, Corona was able to improve the flow of information across different departments, resulting in a higher level of business growth and productivity.

This is why no matter how much you save with off-the-shelf software, if you have a unique business with requirements to match, you need a CRM solution that can be customized to be equally unique and effective. It should accommodate the diverse nature of your business needs and requirements.

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.

Rolustech is a SugarCRM Certified Developer & Partner Firm. We have helped more than 700 firms with various SugarCRM Integrations and Customization. Contact us today for your FREE Consultation Session. We will be happy to assist you!