There are a number of factors to consider when selecting the CRM system that is right for your business. Every business has different needs, goals, missions and values, and as such need to select a CRM system that can be moulded around their requirements and not the other way round.
Before talking about the right way to go about purchasing a new CRM system, it is first necessary to highlight the most common reasons for their failure.
Not wanting to look bad
Neglecting to honestly examine the problems within an organisation which have resulted in the need for a new CRM in the first place will jeopardise any new CRM initiative. In some instances it is difficult for executives to expose the problems as they have essentially been developed on their watch, and they may see highlighting them as detrimental to their career.
Too much Priority Given to Technology
Another common mistake is putting priority in the technology from the outset. It is quite common that companies get enamoured with one specific feature that doesn’t really map to their specific business issue.
Failure to Define Goals
Finally, failure to clearly define the goals and objectives of the CRM initiative is a sure fire way to fail. The objectives are designed to act as the reference point which guides all decisions and if they are not there, wires will inevitably get crossed somewhere down the line.
7 Steps to CRM Success
Step 1. Know your Business Requirements Inside Out
The CRM selection process should start not with an external search for a solution but with an internal search for why a solution is needed in the first place. Laying the groundwork can make the difference between success and failure. This is a crucial step in the selection of an appropriate system that should not be ignored.
Step 2. Pick the Right People for the Team
The next step is to pull together a team of people, which usually consists of a senior member who has the necessary resources at his or her disposal, also someone from IT who can understand the technical aspects of implementation and a project manager who can deal with the logistics. Depending on the requirements it may be necessary to pull in people from marketing and/or sales and/or customer service. It is also beneficial to pull together a panel of end users who can illustrate the common pain points and areas where productivity can be increased.
Step 3. Consider your Budget and Where to Run Your CRM
When considering the best CRM system available, some organisations need to accept the fact that they are constrained by the current level of resources that they have available, business that have adequate resources are able to take a longer-term view and really take into account how they can maximise ROI from their CRM solution.
Step 4. Integration Requirements
The next step is to consider the level of integration required between the new CRM system and the existing systems that are currently being used by your organisation. This is essentially a mini requirements gathering exercise. If the CRM system is only a departmental solution it is unlikely that it will require as much integration as a solution that is designed to increase the overall customer-centricity of the organisation.
Step 5. Support Requirements
The level of support an organisation will require will depend largely on how competent their staff are at adapting to new technologies and concepts. Most organisations will struggle to cope without some level of support.
Step 6: Vertical Market Requirements
Sometimes there is a need to collect unique customer information that is specific to the industry, trade, profession or any other area in which the organisation operates. This step is also useful for organisations in horizontal markets as it can provide insights into the various niches in which the organisation operates.
Step 7: Feature Requirements
The customer approaches that an organisation wants to take can be identified by using the problems that were unearthed earlier on in the requirements gathering step. Once these approaches have been identified it should be possible to outline the specific feature requirement. For example, if the organisation wants to enhance offline capabilities for their sales people to nurture leads more effectively, they should look for a CRM solution that has effective online/on premise integration along with fully customisable business process flows.
There are a number of CRM systems on the market today that offer excellent functionality, however Microsoft CRM offering stands out from the crowd with its sleek and familiar user interface and its easy integration with other Microsoft products, you can be sure to get maximum user adoption, which usually translates into ROI.
The number of factors to consider when selecting the right system can be very daunting, and there is a mine field of common oversights that can be made at every step. However, if the above steps are used as a guide, the chances of success increase exponentially along with the probability of achieving the return on investment that the effort deserves. If you approach a partner after having followed these steps, the implementation process is sure to run as quickly and smoothly as possible, and you can start enjoying the benefits that a well thought out CRM system that is tailored to your business can bring. Click here to read about how to select the partner that can meet your needs most effectively.
For more information about the CRM specification process download: Step by Step Guide to getting CRM Right: Step 1
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