Before buying a CRM, take budget, long-term research and demonstration of the tool into account
A C.R.M. (Customer Relationship Management) is the software that will give life to your company global strategy.
So a CRM is not just another software program to buy…
You have to bear in mind that a CRM is not just software that puts all the customer data in the same place and manages all the customer relationships.
It is much more than that : it will provide you the necessary tools to grow. CRM is also a way to transform your company, for example by making it more “customer centric”.
You also have to take into account that the CRM software can be largely extended inside your company : it can begin with sales team, then marketing can use it for their campaigns, then the support team can manage the user cases…
So the question “how to choose a good CRM” does not have a short answer, as not all CRM programs can satisfy all the needs of all companies.
Some are better for small companies, some are better for large companies, some are dedicated to specific business needs…
Commonly however, the decision is made by a manager upon returning from a CRM tradeshow, or after viewing a quick video on the web. As astonishing as it might sound, you may be quite surprised by the answers we get to the question “why did you choose a CRM ?”.
Choosing a CRM must not be made upon a brand, a quick demo or word of mouth. It really has to suit the company needs, at present and in the future.
If you make the right choice, you will have better service, as well as trustworthiness, and at the same time a decrease in your expenses and an increase in your earnings.
Choosing a CRM takes a bit of research, as is true before any smart purchase…
You must choose a solution that is adapted to your global strategy (not because of the technology used or the brand), then focus on adaptation to the daily business needs.
By having a global view of your priorities, along with knowing the requirements of the daily operations needed, you will resolve the obstacles that occur in making the right decision.
After that, the features of the Customer Relationship Management software will assist you significantly in defining your options, since you will have access to a list of products with a clear link to every precise situation.
But once again, the technology and the features are not the key : the key is how your crucial needs are solved by the CRM.
Another key element in the decision process is to check with the CRM software editor if there is other customers like you in his customers base.
A few major factors to consider when choosing a CRM.
The price is important
The price is important; calculating your budget is a concern for any IT recommendation. You have to take into account :
The initial direct cost (licence, price per month, training…), the indirect hidden cost (internal training, customization…), the cost over time, the much talked about TCO (cost in the next 3 years…). The TCO, Total Cost of Ownership, includes trainings, customizations, disk space, renting…
So don’t be fooled by a monthy price: think about all costs, event the hidden ones (cost of switching to another CRM, customization upgrades…).
The services & training are also important : a top-notch implementation thanks to a sizable funding will affect the company’s foundation, quickly increasing your overall worth.
The knowledge of the way your company departments operate, and of what each one is presently producing, is a must in every successful company.
Having knowledge of how the information is saved and retrieved, the expertise to figure out the strong assets and vulnerable ones of each department will influence your crm purchase.
Scalability of CRM Software
Another notion to reflect on is scalability before buying crm software.
Keep in mind, one of the reasons for possibly purchasing a crm solution is to expand your business.
One question you may need to ask yourself is: will the crm software have the ability to grow with you?
Also, evaluate whether your employees have the expert experience and what levels of expertise they have. To make sure it will suit them, include them in the choice and make them part of the final decision.
If they have already seen the CRM running in a demonstration, they will know that their daily job could be improved by a CRM.
Could you benefit from a personalized demonstration?
A specifications list is still an excellent basis for choosing a CRM solution. However, it is often long to write, and it can also be difficult to list all the potential cases.
That is why a personal demonstration will enable you to see directly whether the application will meet your specific business needs.
Action: Ask for a presentation that fits your requirements. Product brochures or test versions sometimes give you an incomplete picture of the application.