Many company leaders make the mistake of letting their IT department unilaterally choose which software package to purchase. This is a particularly bad idea when it comes to buying CRM software. The reason being that most of the time IT staff are not the people who’ll be using the CRM system to do their jobs on a daily basis. Instead, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service are likely who will depend on CRM most heavily. So, along with IT, you’ll want to include front line managers from each of these departments in your CRM buying process. Now, I realize each of these individuals may not know exactly what to look for when evaluating CRM software. So, here are a few guiding principles you can share with them to get the process started off on the right foot.
Ensure that the tool supports the growing Bring Your Own Device trend—Giving users the freedom to access the new CRM system through whatever tool (desktop, notebook, tablet or smartphone) they’re most comfortable with will help encourage user adoption.
Consider activity, message management & social collaboration tools—If there are messaging or social media tools your team already depends on, look for CRM systems that can integrate with or build upon these.
Make sure integration with your back office systems is possible—Most leading CRM systems provide open architecture and through industry standard web service calls and therefore should be able to be connected to your back office software of choice. But, just to be sure, check this with your CRM vendor prior to purchase.
Don’t forget infrastructure—Check with IT to be sure that your company has the existing cloud or on premise infrastructure needed to support the CRM system you’re interested in.
Now that you know what to look for in your new CRM system, as a Microsoft Partner I’d be remiss if I didn’t quickly explain how Dynamics CRM 2011 fits the requirements mentioned above.
If you already own Dynamics GP, this one’s easy. Microsoft offers a connector tool that makes it easy to integrate your ERP with Dynamics CRM. If you own another ERP, but are interested in Dynamics CRM, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you explore your options.
Dynamics CRM offers a variety of deployment options. If you want to maintain full ownership of your data and already own or are willing to invest in the necessary infrastructure, a traditional on premise deployment may be right for you. For others, there’s Microsoft CRM Online, a cloud version of this system, available for a low monthly subscription fee.
If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM or think that it may be the CRM solution you’ve been searching for, please give us a call at (336)315-3935.