CRM BUYER’S GUIDE
Essential checkpoints to review while choosing the best CRM for your business
GETTING YOUR CRM STRATEGY RIGHT
While starting a new CRM initiative a company has to answer a main question: how technology will help the company to gain competitive advantage by successfully managing key business operations like marketing, sales and service, separately or all together. Your driving point here is an understanding of how the system will support the processes, the strategy and the key business objectives that the company wants to successfully realize.
- Develop a step-by-step use case that outlines the most critical processes for your business, which would automatically eliminate systems that lack the functionality to support these processes.
- Actively engage CRM end users into the CRM selection process. This helps to improve user adoption ensuring the success of your CRM initiative.
- Link your requirements with your goals and objectives that you outlined while defining your CRM strategy.
- Don’t rely on vendors’ presentations in selecting key CRM requirements taking an approach: “Let the vendor show what they’ve got and we’ll make a list of requirements based on that”. This approach only works if the company has never implemented a CRM system before and needs to be educated by the vendor.
- Don’t go too much into details – it can potentially lead to a higher cost estimate and focus the project on features that are not critical or valuable for your business.
- When defining a set of CRM requirements don’t be too general either. If your requirements are limited to finding a system for account and contact management, any modern solution out there would be a good fit for your organization.
CREATING A LIST OF VENDORS AND THE FIRST SOFTWARE DEMOS
After narrowing down your set of requirements, it’s time to long list vendors to address the technical issues, from database compatibility to response times. Usually companies either send a RFP or run test-drives of the systems on the list. While reviewing a demo, look at the out-of-the-box functionalities and only after you have a good understanding of how the pre-configured capabilities answer your business needs should you proceed to exploring the customization. This will help you to understand the difference between pre-set demos and the full capabilities of the system you are evaluating.
- Review analysts’ reports that evaluate vendors in your segment. Getting a RFP from a CRM vendor for the large enterprise segment when you are a small business will end up at delaying your CRM initiative because the system might be out of your budget and the features not relevant for your business model.
- Check at least three sources of information before going into an actual search. Examples of such sources are: CRM Magazine, Gartner or Forrester reports.
- Take into consideration crowdsourced outlets like g2crowd.com that provide feedback from real software users.
- Don’t create too long or too short of a list. If you are considering only 2-3 systems you are really limiting your options and reducing your chances at getting the best deal. Conversely, too many vendors on your list creates chaos in your search as you lose track of features, value propositions and estimates.
ANALYTICAL REPORTS TO CONSIDER
THE FORRESTER WAVE: CRM SUITES FOR MIDSIZE ORGANIZATIONS
In the Forrester Wave evaluation of customer relationship management (CRM) suites for midsize organizations, Forrester lists the 10 most significant CRM suites solutions while researching, analyzing, and scoring them.
GARTNER MAGIC QUADRANT FOR THE CRM CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT CENTER
Gartner analysts evaluate providers on the quality and efficacy of the processes, systems, methods or procedures that enable IT provider performance to be competitive, efficient and effective, and to positively impact revenue, retention and reputation. Ultimately, providers are judged on their ability and success in capitalizing on their vision.
NUCLEUS RESEARCH TECHNOLOGY VALUE MATRIX
The Value Matrix looks at the advances in usability and functionality by vendors in the three core pillars of CRM: sales, marketing, and customer service.
THE BEST APPROACHES AT SHORTLISTING CRM VENDORS
Shortlisting is a very important stage in the CRM buying process. After going through demos and testing basic features, it's time to go through a series of evaluations taking into consideration the following aspects: readiness of functionalities, ability to configure, expand and customize functionalities and the competency of the implementation team.
- Use a balanced system of criteria with values applied to every parameter.
- Create comprehensive scorecards to evaluate the criteria.
- Request a customized and detailed demo developed based on your use case scenario so you can see in real time how the system operates with your workflow. Invite the vendor's implementation team to the demo to make sure that the tech experts can deliver on promises given by sales.
- Engage end users in the shortlisting process - a high user adaption rate is a very powerful indicator of positive ROI. It's important to create an ecosystem where end users, tech advisers and top managers are equally involved in choosing the best CRM for their organization.
- Don't shortlist vendors based on the emotional reception of their product presentation or because you belong to the same country club as the vendor's VP of Business Development. Abstract yourself from the sales rep's charisma and grasp what the product really has to offer.
MAKING A FINAL DECISION
Before fully committing to investing into a particular CRM, it’s recommended to request from the vendor a full scope of the project and the implementation objectives. This will give you a clear understanding of whether the proposal addresses your initial strategy. Once you’ve made a final selection, take time to examine the vendor’s track record and research experiences of other companies, which will help you to erase any shadow of doubt before sealing the deal.
- Set a decision making timeframe and process. Make sure that your implementation due date is not rolled into the decision buying deadlines.
- Sign up for phase-by-phase implementation with a set of specific KPIs to evaluate the success of the implementation at every step of the process.
Don’t start the implementation process without having a defined plan, also known as a “technical blueprint”, which provides a detailed description of the project. The plan describes and outlines all integrations, customizations and configurations.
Recource: https://www.bpmonline.comSend Date: 1395/10/22
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