Finding the Right CRM Solution

CRM Best Practices

What CRM Solution Should You Choose?

When looking for a customer relationship management (CRM) system, the big question you need to address as a business is WHY? If you don’t know exactly why you need a CRM solution, the possibility of failure upon implementation is high and you stand to lose a lot of money. The CRM best practices provided below will help you make an educated decision on whether or not a CRM solution is a good fit for your business.

Look at your business objectively

How does it really work? Begin with processes that aren’t working well, because that’s where a CRM implementation will have the most impact. Take note of which processes are functioning properly; it may not be necessary to target them, but changing other procedures may affect them as well. At the end of this mapping exercise you should have a list of processes and activities that will be impacted by a CRM. This list is only useful when it is unbiased and honest – to that end, involving a third-party consultant may be beneficial.

Pick a team

Besides executives and IT personnel, it’s important that your team contains a group of front-line users. Their input will be valuable, as they will be using the system on a regular basis.  For a successful CRM implementation, your staff must be able to work effectively within the constraints of the system. Training and continuous support will help you ensure that your organization is getting the most out of your investment.

Focus on deployment options

For on-premise CRM implementations you will need to buy or lease the technology infrastructure, which contains servers, storage, backup and recovery, and networking capabilities. Additionally you will incur software licensing costs, maintenance fees, and integration expenses. Cloud-based software will allow you to save costs associated with infrastructure, and instead pay a monthly user-based subscription fee that includes updates and service related costs.

Shortlist your contenders

Now you can decide which CRM solutions best fit your business. Keep in mind important considerations such as stakeholder interest, budget, support, integration, and industry demands.

Many CRM applications are built for specific industries, and you may be able to find a CRM system tailored to yours, be it distribution, manufacturing, agribusiness, or non-profit. For the most part CRM solutions have the same basic features, but these can be customized based on the areas for improvement identified in your process mapping exercise.

Get your numbers straight

Financial considerations will likely play a large role in deciding which CRM will work for your organization. Remember to include start-up costs as well as ongoing maintenance and support expenses per annum when you decide which deployment method and solution package will work best for you financially.

Choose a dependable vendor

You found a solution that fits your organization, your team is on-board, and the financial projections fit your budget. Before you sign on, make sure that your chosen vendor is trustworthy and reliable – you’re about to embark on a long business relationship with them, and you need to be able to count on them in the coming years.

Good luck! Let us know if you have any other CRM best practices tips in the comments.

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