What is a CRM system?
A CRM system (Customer Relational Management System) is important for the growth of any successful business. It is designed to manage multiple sets of information and communicate their various relationships to one another. There are several factors involved in finding the right solution, but first, take some time to determine the needs and priorities of your business.
Here are some questions to assist you in this process:
- What are the difficulties your business is experiencing and how will a new CRM system resolve them?
- Who in your business will be using the CRM system? How many users will your system have?
- Most Importantly! What is your budget?
After answering these few initial questions, you can start to make decisions about the specifics of your new system.
How would you like to access your solution?
You have two options: cloud-based or on-premise. There are pros and cons to both, but you should base your decision on the needs of your business.
You can log in to your system over the internet on any computer or mobile device. This would require little to no hardware or software investment for your business. Scalability would be simpler and system updates would often be automatic. The only drawback is if you experience an internet shortage, in which case, you wouldn’t have access to the system.
Your system would physically live at your business location functioning as a server. This solution would require a large initial investment to hire in-house IT personnel to oversee the system’s management. However, you would have greater control over the system, your data, and the security of information.
What would you like your solution to do?
You should have a general idea of the features and functionality you want your system to have. One of the things you want to look out for when choosing your CRM solution is its scalability. As a business grows and evolves, so do its needs. Finding a solution that can keep up with the growth of your business and adapt to change is important.
Does the solution have the ability to integrate with applications your business is currently using?
You want a solution that will decrease your workload and streamline all your business operations. Finding a solution that can integrate with other applications is very important. This type of system will allow you to perform your operational tasks all in one place.
What can you afford?
As mentioned previously, determining your budget is one of the first decisions you should make before choosing a CRM solution. The free options often lack the features and functionality needed to improve business processes. You don’t want to spend too little on an inadequate system or overspend and put your business at risk.
What kind of implementation process is offered?
After you have decided what kind of system you want, the next step is to inquire about the implementation process. CRM system vendors are in charge of this process and should offer some kind of training for interested parties. The purpose of the training is to provide staff with the skills and knowledge needed to accurately use the system. The most effective CRM system training is often user-type specific and largely hands-on.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Before making any purchasing decisions, find out how much customer service and additional technical support is offered after implementation. These types of services may have extra costs or added charges.
The vendor’s point of contact should develop a roll-out plan based on the type of system your business is looking to use. This plan should include specifics regarding what training will be involved and how long the implementation process will take to complete. Ensure that the vendor’s pre-determined timeline matches your expectations.
Is your new solution easy to use?
The answer to this question should be “Yes!” However, when learning a new system, there is always the risk of poor adoption. Things you can do to help drive adoption include:
- Setting a realistic timeline
- Providing a digestible training schedule
- Resisting the urge to speed up the process
Take your time to learn and understand how your new solution works to guarantee a successful adoption.
Congratulations! You’ve done all the necessary research and can now decide which solution best suits your business. At this stage, you and your team are learning how to effectively use the new system and in the process of improving your operations. Most importantly, you have taken a major step to increase the progress and continued growth of your business.