How to Evaluate CRM for Your Company
Once you’ve decided that it’s time for your business to move to automating customer relationship management, you’ve got your work cut out for you. There’s enough information online to keep you busy for quite a while during the research phase. When you’re ready to move forward to decision-making, these tips will help you create a vision to “start with the end in mind,” so you can target the solution that helps you get to that end.
Understand your goals. If basic contact management is what you need, then there’s no need to splurge on more than that. If analysis is what drives your business, then reporting functions should be a priority. Understand what the available systems offer and how their capabilities can help your company. Then prioritize.
Read the reviews, but check sources. Some “review” sites are just fronts for vendors. Seek out objective points of view from reputable industry analysts. A few sites we like are: destinationcrm.com, Cnet, TEC (Technologyevaluation.com), and Inc.com.
Choose a preferred deployment method, but don’t let technology drive your decision. Platform matters, of course. The Cloud is an important option for most companies, and CRM lends itself to cloud deployments. Also think about mobility. Does your team need phone or tablet access to the system? But platform is still second to functionality. A system that doesn’t fit your company fails regardless of where it’s installed.
Prep your people. Much of the success of your CRM project rests on the expectations of your team members who will be using the system. Commitment to making the implementation successful has to come from all levels in the organization, or your system won’t help you meet your established goals. Get the staff involved in making the decision and setting up the system. Customize it if needed to help them work efficiently.
Understand the total cost of ownership. This includes license costs, monthly fees, training, customization, support fees, costs for any needed plug-ins, etc. Only by thoroughly assessing the complete project budget can you know what you’re shooting for in terms of ROI.
Test drive systems. A big part of your company’s eventual success with the system boils down to pure usability. Being able to poke around in a trial version of the systems you are interested in gives you an idea of how your team will respond to the system. Today’s consumer products (iPads, smartphones, web apps) are creating a new kind of technology user who expects systems to be simple and intuitive. If your system doesn’t offer that type of look and feel, keep looking.
Ready to test drive? We can help. Visit our SugarCRM website to sign up for a free trial today.