If you are considering a new CRM solution for 2013, you’re not alone. According to a recent Forrester Wave™ research report, CRM adoption is on the rise for organizations of all sizes. The study found that 41 percent of the small and medium-sized businesses they surveyed had already implemented a CRM solution (a marketing, sales, or customer service application), and an additional 25 percent have plans to adopt a CRM solution within the next 12 to 24 months.
From an anecdotal standpoint, we can confirm that the market has heated up with renewed CRM interest. We just hosted several fall
As you explore a new CRM solution, knowing how to budget for a new system will be top of mind, especially the cost to implement the software, which can be the biggest variable. Here are three important areas to consider when planning for the implementation costs for a new CRM solution:
#1 Time and urgency for a new CRM system. You need to factor in how much time it will take your organization to implement the solution, and how quickly you need to have your team up and running on a new CRM system―within weeks and ready to go at the start of 2013 so that you can take advantage of an improving economy? Or perhaps you are launching a new product or service line and need your marketing and sales team to be quickly organized and executing on new plans. Or do you have time to work through the CRM project over many months?
#2 Complexity of your CRM needs. What are your main goals for CRM both for the long term and short term? Do you need an easy sales and marketing solution for managing and tracking a sales pipeline and marketing activities? Do you need to tie quotes and orders to inventory items or service lines? For some companies, it is essential to customize a CRM solution with specific business processes unique to that business. Forms, fields, and workflows all need to be configured to meet special requirements. Going even further, for some organizations CRM needs to be cross-functional and encompass many departments and business processes across a diverse organization. You might have other systems that need to be integrated with CRM, from other business software being used to manage specific industry needs, to integration with your organization’s internal and external websites.
To help you understand your complexity, think about your needs in practical terms for these three categories of a CRM implementation:
•Basic CRM for an “out-of-the-box” deployment of CRM. In other words, using the system “as is” for sales, marketing, and customer service teams
•Tailored CRM for some customization of forms, fields, and workflows in the system to better reflect your business and for some customized reporting tools like charts and dashboards
•Extended CRM for advanced customizations, integrations, and reporting, crossing many departments and operations of an organization, beyond sales, marketing, and customer service, and possibly including outside systems and web services
#3 CRM readiness of your organization. Equally important is to have a realistic understanding of how ready your business is for a new CRM solution. Because CRM solutions are now available as a cloud solution, or software as a service model, like Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, having certain kinds of hardware or operating systems in place is no longer a hard technical requirement. If your people have access to the Internet, they can log onto a cloud-based or hosted CRM solution and work securely from any location. However, you do need to assess if your organization has the culture, business processes and realistic expectations to ensure a successful CRM project. Based on the complexity of your new CRM solution, you may also need internal IT resources and dedicated project managers.
For a simple, practical guide to planning for your CRM investment, download the
By Andree Dolan of