What should you look for when choosing a CRM system? As with everything, the choice can be bewildering and frankly, sometimes incomprehensible. By asking some simple questions, you can make the selection process much easier.
1. Do you want to own the software or rent it?
2. Do you want your data to be hosted on your own network of PCs and servers? Or are you relaxed about this being hosted on the Cloud or other 3rd party provider. Pros: with Cloud based, you can be up and running quicker, often in 24 hours. Cons: with Cloud based, there may be some constraints, as the data is hosted externally and you are likely to have on-going subscription costs for the life of your contract.
3. What functions come with the CRM system? Do you need them or will you use all of them? Make sure you ask what each function does and how potentially it could help you. If you are never going to use it, then don’t have it. If, however, you might consider it for the future, check to see if you can add it on at a later date. Look at your core needs and stick to them.
4. How many people will access the system and what skills do they have? Training is often a critical but overlooked or compromised item in any CRM Project. Make sure you have a core project team who are well trained and understand the system and objectives. Do you have your own trainers or do you require full training?
5. Consider remote users, how often the team will access the CRM system and from where and How. If the system is to be accessed remotely, do you need a different internet connection? Can your internal server cope with demand? Do you have your own IT department? If so, what do they need to be proficient in (e.g. MS technologies such as SQL skills).
6. What do you want the CRM system to be linked to? Do you need to integrate the system? You may, for example, use it simply as a CRM system and just need email such as MS Outlook linked. However, you may want to link it to a finance system or even your ERP system or just an ability to show or view core information. Check how important this is and if it is worth the extra costs, especially in any initial phase.
7. How can you measure success? This is a very important consideration. If you previously haven’t been using a CRM system, then the chances are that you won’t have a benchmark to measure ROI. So in order to get accurate information that you can act on, consider what data you put into the system from existing sources or spreadsheets. How old is the data and how accurate is it … basically, streamline and update any data that you input initially and assess regular weekly or monthly reports for optimum feedback.
This list is just a quick snapshot for consideration, but as in any IT project, planning is the key to success as well as having a competent and enthusiastic Project Team. For more help in choosing and advising you on the best solution for your business and to leverage 15 years CRM implementation experience, please contact us.
2nd May 2013