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So that you decide on the ideal solution to meet your business requirements, you need to have established and considered selection criteria before you can proceed.

How to choose the best CRM for your needs

Follow these simple steps on how to choose the best CRM for you.

Identifying your current and future CRM needs

As important as it is to take into consideration and analyse your current needs; as you will be using the CRM software for some time, it is essential to consider the needs you are likely to have in the future as the business grows and develops.

When trying to find the right solution, and the right CRM software partner, it is important to ask the right questions, for today and tomorrow, so that the software solution can effectively meet the ongoing demands of your business. Make sure that the solution is scalable, both in terms of adding users or additional functionality.

Preparing a business case for CRM

You will need to place these business needs in a commercial context in order to put forward a robust business case for CRM investment.  Set some parameters for measurements in your business plan (which you can reflect back to throughout your implementation) – these can be aligned to:

  • Company growth (increasing your customer base, revenue increase, improving your win rate, maximising cross and up sell opportunities)
  • Operational efficiencies (streamlining and automating, improvement of processes, cost control, systems integration)
  • Customer satisfaction (better targeting, consistency of experience, visibility, recognition and adapting to customer needs, flexible go-to-market of new products and services)

Objectively qualify the benefits (and validate the ROI) gained by addressing these business needs and prioritise and include accordingly (this is a must within any business case).

CRM functionality to scope

Do your research.  There are a plethora of whitepapers and websites which will help you understand CRM solutions and functionality on the market which you may not have considered, that will help your business either evolve or be revolutionised.  You need to prioritise functionality, in terms of essential, nice to have or a future consideration once your organisation is ready for such change.  It may also help if you phase your CRM functionality.

Take a more in-depth look at the essential scope of CRM functionality so you know what to expect.

CRM deployment methods

As technology has advanced, the way in which your marketing, sales and customer service teams work has also changed. Choosing the right deployment method for the software can have a crucial impact on the way your teams are able to work, as On-Premise and in the Cloud offers different benefits. It is essential to bear in mind which is able to meet the demands of your business effectively.

Deploying your CRM software On-Premise means your business can benefit from managing the system from your company's premises, which means that you have control over your own data and information from inside your office. Having your CRM solution deployed in the Cloud means the system is hosted outside of your offices, on the internet which allows your users to access the data on CRM wherever they may be working from. Think about public vs private cloud options, and the flexibility these give you; or look at hybrid deployments. Your CRM partner will be able to advise you on the best option for your situation.

What are key CRM selection criteria?

Finding the best CRM solution for your business is determined by the key requirements of your company. In approaching the process, there are certain criteria that you need to consider.

  • Ease of implementation - you need to have software which can be deployed quickly and easily with minimal disruption
  • Cost of CRM software - the solution needs to meet your budget and provide a return on investment – consider licence costs, implementation costs, and ongoing maintenance costs when putting your CRM budget together
  • Growth potential - the software should be scalable to be able to expand along with your business
  • Functionally rich - the software should provide comprehensive functionality which supports and improves your business processes
  • Ease of use – a CRM project can fail at the last hurdle, if users do not see the benefit of using CRM or find it too difficult to use.  Ensure your CRM is familiar, intuitive and makes their daily life easier
  • The software provider's reputation, you need to know the software provider has been able to successfully implement software for other similar businesses.  Request customer case studies and testimonials from your CRM shortlist
  • Level of support provided by the software provider - you need to know that your chosen software provider is able to support you both throughout the implementation process and afterwards.  What SLAs do you want to negotiate to ensure your business objectives are met?