Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How To Define Your Needs Before Buying Crm

Like many other business trends, the pressure to keep up with the latest technology developments and hold on to your competitive edge can often lead to rushed and poorly researched decisions. Such is the case with Customer Relationship Management and its enormous industry growth and migration rates. Many CEO?s have been left scratching their head, wondering how to keep up and which CRM product is right for them?

The CRM market is packed with solutions that range from the simple contact management and tracking to the feature rich comprehensive solutions that can reach across you entire organization. However, the question for the interested buyer should remain, ?What can our organization/company/employees do with this CRM?? and not ?What can this CRM do for my company?? Approaching CRM vendors with this mindset will allow you to see past the over kill features and cumbersome processes inherent in most solutions. You need to see the value of their product as it relates to your business specific needs. Refining your company needs for a CRM solution based on your current business practices will help you find a suitable CRM solution!

By really analyzing your current processes and methods, flagging the procedures you want to enhance or areas you want to improve in efficiency, will better prepare you to test out CRM vendor platforms. As well as help you model your business processes to better benefit from a suitable CRM solution.

The majority of CRM software solutions are built on best practices in business, flowing from Marketing and Lead Management to Sales Automation; Account, Contact and Opportunity management to Sales tracking, reporting and forecasting capabilities. Furthermore, CRM vendors also offer simple customer service, support, and tracking features in the form of Case and Solution management. This base model is prevalent in many industry solutions and makes the first step on to a CRM platform relatively smooth.

However, the customer is left to do the drilling or the ?kicking of the tires? if you will, to really substantiate the value of the features embedded in the program and see if they will improve their current business processes, as well as enhance their employee productivity. In this case, finding the functions you need in a CRM will be just as important as the form it comes in. Acquiring a user friendly product will ensure your employees adopt the product quickly and continue to use it in the long run.

With step one accomplished, the goal should now be to review the extent of the product offered by the vendor. Can this CRM solution accommodate your growing company? Your need to manage key processes such as projects, billing and invoicing, contracts, quote management, product inventory, human resource management, etc. should all be met by the same CRM solution. There is nothing more disconcerting then having to procure services from multiple vendors to get close to the CRM functionality and organization you need.

By defining your needs in a CRM software solution, you will be better served when it comes to researching and evaluating the different products on the market, as well ensuring your company benefits from your decision on the whole. By knowing what you it is you need in a CRM, as well as what it is that will work for your particular organization, you will ensure your employees can adopt and use the solution you choose.

Colin Duffy enjoys writing about CRM subjects and on demand CRM and ERP software vendors such as Salesboom ( )

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