By PowerBuy // 10 September 2013 // Related Categories: Tips
There are many popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools today ranging from Cloud solutions such as Salesforce.com and SugarCRM to software such as Microsoft Dynamics and ACT!. So how do you select the CRM that’s right for your business? Here are seven things to consider.
You need to clearly understand your objectivesTo implement the right CRM you firstly need to understand what you want it for. Do you want to better manage your sales pipeline and processes? Are you looking for a better way to track marketing campaigns? Perhaps you want to be able to automate your time-sheeting and client billing? Be very clear of your goals before you start looking for a solution.
Understand the “scope” of your CRMIdeally, your CRM can support your entire client relationship from prospecting to invoicing, but this is not always the case. Your accounting software is likely to be more powerful than your CRM for invoicing and payroll. Likewise your Practise Management software is customised for your industry and might do a much better job managing your calendar and timesheets. Before you roll-out a new CRM make sure you understand the scope (e.g. recording and tracking client interactions) and then look for a CRM solution that can integrate seamlessly with your other client management tools.
To Cloud or not to Cloud?Installing CRM software on your server and PCs is still the most common approach for CRM deployments and this usually involves an upfront license payment followed by annual maintenance renewal fees. Big business might claim that the data is better stored in their secure datacentres than in the Cloud.
Many will argue that data security is just as good, if not better, in the Cloud. Cloud-based software gives you access anytime, anywhere (provided you’re connected to the Internet) and it works no matter what device you access it from (PCs, Macs, tablets etc.). You never own the software but instead you lease it by the month. Cloud-based software stays up-to-date without any hassle because features & bug fixes are managed by the Cloud provider while you are sleeping.
Consider your staffDon’t invest in a small business CRM if you might grow out of it this decade. Seven years may seem a lifetime away but CRMs are very “sticky” and upgrading can take a lot of effort from your staff. Look for a CRM that can grow with your business.
If your staff work remotely then a web-based (Cloud) CRM makes a lot more sense than on-premise software because it will synchronise when they are on the road.
How will you migrate from your current system?Migrating data to your new CRM can take a lot of work especially if your current system has been around for a long time. Migrating to your new CRM might take days, weeks or even months. You will need technology and a proper transition plan to import your client information from legacy CRMs such as Act!, Excel, Outlook or Google contacts. Look for a CRM that can help you automate data migration.
Consider the cost of customising your CRMThe cost of customising your CRM to suit your business can dwarf the upfront costs of licensing the technology. CRMs that appear more expensive to buy or rent can end up costing you much less if they are easily customisable. Established Cloud CRMs such as Salesforce.com tend to have an advantage here because there is a large community of developers who have already built thousands of customised modules for you to choose from.
Choose an established brandThe key to buying a CRM is to consider brand reputation before price. Some disruptive start-up CRMs like “Zoho” are cheap and feature-rich but these technologies are not yet mature and you’ll read pages of blog comments about their obscure bugs and spelling mistakes. We suggest you choose a well-establishe
d CRM brand with years of development behind them and one that can offer you the quality of technical support that you may need.
Want to know more?
If you’re considering a new CRM for your business then please get in contact with us.
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