Next 5 steps to buy a CRM solution for your business
Having discussed the first stage of CRM buying process, let’s proceed to the second and final stage that is all about defining your CRM requirements. With results of stage one in mind, sailing through this stage will be relatively easy.
The sixth step to buy CRM is to understand the adeptness of the team members.
6. Check how well your staff can adopt the new application: Many companies require support from the CRM vendor to help their employees pick up the nuances of the application. Now whether you will require it or not will solely depend on how adept is your staff at picking up new applications and new concepts. Once you know the sophistication level of your staff, you can estimate the degree of support you will require from the vendor.
Note: The levels and costs of support can vary from vendor to vendor. To make the best choice, check with vendors to see what costs are associated with premium support. Use the social media channels to enquire among the peers who have employed support from CRM vendors. Do not opt for a vendor who holds a reputation of providing an excessively costly or poor quality support.
The seventh step to buy CRM is to understand the integration requirements.
7. Consider the integration level of the CRM application: How far will the CRM integrate in your business process is an important question. Integration can add significant costs and delays to the CRM implementation. So if you are planning to use the CRM to increase the customer-centric nature of your entire business, then ease of integration should be your preliminary criteria. Opting for a too-difficult-to-integrate CRM cannot prove to be a good bet for your business.
The eighth step to buy CRM is to understand the feature requirements.
8. Take out your list of need-to-improve processes: Remember in the second step (know your business), you have executed a business mapping procedure which in return gave you a list of areas that require upgrading. Use this guide to make a list of must-have features in the CRM application.
Using the problems you identified early on, note the approaches that your business should take and identify those CRM features that will help you execute these approaches. Let’s say you want to capitalize the social media to establish a stronger connection with your customers. So your goal should be to look for a social CRM that helps you create social platform for your employees to build an integrated interface for customers to share and collaborate.
The ninth step to buy CRM is to understand your market nature.
9. Vertical/Horizontal market requirements: Understand and analyze your market requirements before selecting a CRM application. For instance, if you deal with an industry where different forms of customer data is collected, then you should select a CRM solution tailored to your vertical industry.
Considering the unique needs of every industry type, customizable CRM software has now become much prevalent. Industries for which tailored CRM applications have been created include agribusiness, insurance, real estate and non-profits.
The tenth and final step to buy CRM is to zero in on the right vendor.
10. Finalize the CRM vendor: Once you’ve shortlisted a few CRM vendors, carry out a background check of each of them. Remember the last thing you would want to discover is that your vendor has over-promised or won’t be in business to support you in the future.
Note: Do your own research. Social media can be a good medium to carry out the check. You can also ask for a few references from the vendor themselves. Enquire among the references whether the CRM implementation was benefiting, and if so, what role the vendor played in it.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @jones_converge