You are managing sales leads and opportunities on spreadsheets. You and your colleagues have all of your contacts stored individually in Outlook – or worse yet, in their Rolodex. Your teams’ sales pipeline reports come to your inbox in Excel files. You don’t know who your customers are and thusly are not collaborating with them and responding to their needs quickly enough.
It’s time to make a change and rethink your manual processes. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help you drive revenue, boost productivity, make informed decisions, and generate tremendous return on investment.
So, you know you need it, you certainly want it, but how to you find the right solution? It’s a big decision and one that will have a strong impact on your business. Choosing the
- Have a clear idea of your budget. Keep in mind that any business application is an investment so you want to know that the one you choose is scalable – both from a budgetary point of view and an implementation standpoint.
- Determine if the software is easy to use. You want users to be able to get their data inputted into the system easily and also be able to update, retrieve, and analyze that data in a few intuitive clicks. Consider how it works with Microsoft Outlook. Most users come in to work in the morning and the first thing they do is fire up their email, which is most often Microsoft Outlook. Having your CRM system integrated into your most used business applications goes a long way to making users comfortable with the CRM system. One of the most pointed to reasons for CRM failure is low user adoption. You don’t want your software investment to become shelfware. So consider usability in your search.
- Define your functional requirements. All solutions will share a lot of features and functionality. By clearly defining which are more important to your organization, it will be easy to dig deep and compare the products side-by-side. Get a list of the features of each product you are considering and see how they stack up against each other. As mentioned previously, dig deep to create scenarios you might encounter. Determine which features will meet your needs out-of-the-box or which might require customization.
- When in the decision process, make sure to engage the right people. IT might be looking at the product from a different angle than a sales manager who will look at it differently than a marketing director. Have an understanding of the goals of the various departments and try to find the best match. One solution will not be all things to all people. There will need to be concessions along the way – just make sure everyone is on the same page with what is most crucial to your overall company goals. It is important to spend your money on the high-priority capabilities.
- Take advantage of the free trial. Whichever vendor you are considering – make sure to take advantage of their free trial. This is an invaluable opportunity to make sure the functionality you were told about exists and meets your needs. You can make sure that the product is user-friendly and the learning curve not too steep. You can also ensure that your existing data will work with the tool. Get the true experience of the software and a window onto what to expect both with the product itself and the company you will be working with.
It is time to ditch the spreadsheet and start reaping the benefits of a CRM system. If you need help on CRM software selection or would like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, contact us at Magenium Solutions. Also, keep an eye out for our follow-up post on which deployment model to choose: On-premise, Cloud, or a Hybrid of both.