Monday, March 31, 2008

Choosing The Right CRM Solution

Choosing the right CRM technology can be a bit of a daunting task no matter what size of company and no matter whether they are in telecommunications, financial services, industry or retail. Whether you need Customer Relationship Management for a large company or a small business what?s important is that you?ve recognized that there is a place for CRM in your business but what?s the right CRM Solution?

These major points should be considered when evaluating CRM technology.

1. Company Goals
2. Company Strategies
3. Web based ? client side or hosted
4. Scalability
5. Room To Grow
6. Rapid Development Attainable
7. Customizable
8. Integrates with existing systems
9. Vendors Reputation
10. Product Reliability
11. User Interface ? how easy
12. Functionality

Your company goals and strategies are the most important and directly reflect the outcome of your choice. CRM solutions are not created equal and the sooner you recognize that the better shape you?ll be in. On top of that the challenges big business will be facing will be distinctly different that what small business faces so you need to be looking at CRM solutions that plug into your business size. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software is one package that?s designed to work with small business and grow with you or just start big.

A financial company with offices across the country is going to have completely different requirements than a small retailer with one storefront. Yet it?s a common mistake to ignore this ever so important fact. You also need to know the company?s objectives so that you can match goals with product. This is where it?s a good idea to map the IT strategy to your goals.

You need to determine what your company?s growth objectives are and make sure that they are clearly defined. For example do you want to increase your revenue? Then how do you want to do this? How do your customers interact with your staff? Does access to real time analytics impact decisions drive the business? There are so many things to consider when choosing CRM software. If you take your time and do it right you?ll make the right choice and one that you?ll be happy with for years to come.

You?ve made the first step already and that?s deciding that your business can benefit from CRM solutions. You?ll need to set the budget you have available before you start so that you aren?t wasting time on CRM solutions that are out of your reach and a waste of your time.

The lowest initial price shouldn?t be the only determining factor. It is estimated that 30% is all that makes up the initial costs with the remaining 70% going to maintenance, deployment, integration, customization, and upgrades. That means your budget has to be large enough to sustain these additional costs.

Scalability or room to grow is crucial to your choice of CRM software. Even at this very moment you are certain your company will not make any large growth patterns you cannot predict into the future so it?s very important that your software allows for expansion to meet your future needs no matter when they occur.

Once you decide to install CRM software you want to be up and running in no time. Some of these packages can take as much as 6 months to become fully functional. That?s way too long disrupting a business for far too much time. Packages such as Microsoft Dynamic CRM software can be up and running in just a couple of weeks.

When it comes to choosing the right CRM solution take your time, consider what you need now and what you might need in the future and compare quality products slowly eliminating products until you?ve got the right one for your business.

Sayed Ally, is the lead CRM Analyst. His company provides, CRM Software. Sayed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email: aSayed@cqsolutions.com.

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