Everyone seems to love the sites that offer CRM comparisons, so I took a look at a few. Of course, you could do the same thing I did. Bing or Google “CRM Comparisons” and you’ll get a loooong list of options. Here are the ones that I looked at in no particular order.
http://www.comparecrm.com/ - This is a pretty extensive site with side-by-side comparisons available, products reviews, and a whole bunch of white papers.
http://crm-compare.com/ - Compares NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, Applicore, and RightNow. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never even heard of the last two and there’s something to be said for name recognition, which perhaps implies something about the popularity of the software.
Over the years, I’ve used Goldmine, ACT!, Siebel, NetSuite, Salesforce.com, and currently Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In my opinion, the first two are more properly called contact management applications versus full Customer Relationship Management systems. It’s been a long time since I used Siebel and I’m sure it has changed and improved a lot in the last 6+ years. As with any system, NetSuite and Salesforce.com had their advantages and disadvantages. And Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Well, it should really be called something else (like XRM?) because it’s much more than just Customer Relationship Management. It’s even more than just Sales Force Automation (SFA), marketing automation, service management, and vendor management. It’s more like a comprehensive front end for your entire business.
You can look at the comparison sites and read the reviews and white papers. The bottom line is, you probably won’t know what works best for you until you’ve tried them out. Nothing compares to a hands-on experience. For example, you can get a free 30-day trial download of Dynamics CRM. And there are probably trial downloads and/or test drives available for most of the major CRM applications. The biggest challenge as far as evaluating CRM systems is finding the time to test them all, so you’d be wise to identify a very short list first. The biggest challenge once you’ve purchased a system is adoption. So the degree to which any system is user friendly should be a major consideration during your evaluation.
I do not pretend to have listed here all of the factors that you should consider. These are just a few pieces of advice from someone who has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly!