It is hard to pick the best fruit out of the fruit box similarly it is very difficult to identify which CRM is best suitable for your business where there are several CRM Solutions available in today’s market. There are many CRM software’s in the market that are termed as “Best”, but before you jump to buy and install the CRM to your organization, you must need to evaluate the basics and research on its usefulness, scalability and many things. Let us understand CRM first:
Customer Relationship Management is a set of applications and software designed to help business to manage their customers, interactions, business information, sales, marketing and Customer support. It also manages employee data, vendor information and partner relationships.
In short in today’s world, if you are dealing in products or services, CRM helps in managing existing/potential customers and relationships with them.
The three major functions that work under CRM model are sales, Marketing and Customer service.
Now as you know much about CRM, lets us understand things that are crucial for purchasing an appropriate CRM for the organization.
Understand your needs and select wisely
Understand your business first and check how the CRM is going to help the organization in maintain operations running smooth. Understands the benefits of CRM and then wisely take decision on which one to purchase. Buying a giant application by investing huge amount of money is certainly not a wise decision. Buying a big CRM solution is not always a better option. Understand kind of business you are into like, small, Medium or large scale business and invest accordingly.
Try it before buy
Gain hands on experience on several or at least some CRM Software solutions to make sure that it will help to accomplish the business goals. Download or subscribe the trial versions applications. Take help of customer support of service provider to understand the process of CRM. Also make sure the team understand it and use it. Better to play around with application to understand the functionalities and flow that matches to your requirements and business flows. The CRM is of no use if teams do not use it or use little.
Understand what the features that CRM provides. Never buy a solution that is mess or dumped with so many functionalities that are of no use for the organization. Often buyers do not read manuals and features that are included in the package deals. Make sure the features provided by the solution are going to improve the efficiency of your business operations. Go through the demos on the CRM service provider site or YouTube that would best serve to your knowledge.
Now as you are aware of the features provided by the CRM Solution, it is phase to understand how is going to be fit to organization and relevant processes? Will it actually improve the efficiency of the business? List down the process and modules required in the business process and get them mapped. For example Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Campaigns, Products, Opportunities, Email Communication, Task Management etc. This will not only help in understanding the CRM but also will be helpful for the integration.
Check the level of customization required in the application.
Also how much customization the application is flexible too.
Both the above given scenarios are equally important for finalizing the CRM Solution. Not necessary all the CRM available in the market works as per your business needs. They are been designed keeping in mind the ideal business process. Check the CRM Solution and understand the level of customization required and how complex is it going to be? Take a help of consultant that can describe the capabilities of the each systems and functions that are out of reach.
Reporting is a very crucial part of CRM application. Every CRM application has its own tool of reporting with their unique limitations. Understand the kind of reports required by the different departments, the access levels and auto generated Reports. Make sure the application that is been selected is proficient enough to generate the required reports.
Integration with Systems
May be the organization is currently working with some systems that supports the business process where the department is very much comfortable with process and can’t live without it. In such cases the application integrations comes into the picture. The integration between the systems is required to keep data in sync. Understand the level and complexity, time and resources required to make the integration.
The Implementation is the component key. Introducing new software application in an organization requires great efforts in understanding, training and deploying. May be an outside consultant or a staff person is required to head up the deployment. In any case, there is going to be a period of training and testing where bugs will be worked out and best practices will be established. So even if there is not external implementation cost, there is still costs associated with educating or training your team on the system and configuring your data into the new platform.
Technologies are getting compact and small day by day. More or less tasks are performed or managed through Mobiles, laptops, Tablets etc. Mobile is the best means of communication and is must for team to be competitive in the field and to best serve customers. Team working on CRM application has to stay connected to each other and to the clients for most of the time. PC or Laptop may not be available everywhere, hence mobile is a great tool where team can communicate and perform their respective actions. So it is advised to look for a tool that can be accessed through various web enabled devices and can get updated regularly.
The business process may change based on the requirement or changing environment. Customization may come at the later stage where operations are working smoothly and the application becomes rigid to the customization at some level. In such case Customer Support comes into the picture and makes things possible for you. Customer supports not only help in demonstration or educating the application but also to upgrade or modify the systems where it is required. Hence make sure you are not just buying a right CRM application but an application that comes with support package.
The bottom line is you might search your dream CRM application forever but never comes to any conclusion or exact match. We advise you to start it by writing down the requirements. Write down the key information using excel sheets or flow diagrams that you would like to see in your CRM. But you have to initiate yourself rather than jumping on several CRM Software Solutions to find the perfect one. You will never get a right CRM unless you yourself clear on your requirements.