The holiday season is fast approaching and the mad rush to the closest department stores has begun. For the business world, finding new and innovative tools to achieve success in the New Year is #1 on their shopping list. Becoming more productive, competitive and proactive is their prime focus and thus the hunt for the latest technologies begins. While putting together a list of potential investments, I would advise any company to consider one crucial tool that will ensure your competitive edge is as sharp as a razor blade- CRM or Customer Relationship Management.
Like most things, CRM comes in all shapes and sizes and searching for the best solution for your company can become quite overwhelming. In attempt to make things easier, I’ve decided to provide a quick and comprehensive list of the Do’s and Don’ts of Shopping CRM.
DO create a complete list of your company’s needs, requirements and expectations when implementing a CRM solution. Think about what you want to achieve with the CRM in place and how you plan on measuring it.
DO allocate internal resources, budget and schedule staff time specifically dedicated to your hunt for CRM. Make sure every department is involved and has full buy-in and support for a CRM.
DO consult a variety of CRM resources and publications that provide user reviews, video captures and product overviews of CRM solutions that complement your needs list.
DO investigate SaaS (Software as a Service) options, which may be more cost-effective, quicker, and easier to use than building an in-house system.
DO embrace CRM as a long-term partner and select a system that will adapt as your business changes. Easy customization should be a requirement and be open and accepting of the changes that the CRM will bring to your company.
DON’T perceive the CRM solution as magic. Although you may expect instant results, you can only get out what you put in, so ensure that all users are willing to continually update and maintain the CRM database.
DON’T select a CRM solution solely based on brand recognition. The larger the vendor, the less amount of attention and support they are capable of providing their customers. Assess your needs and choose a vendor whose capabilities match up.
DON’T think that you can build an entire CRM system by yourself. Not only will you be tying up all your IT resources, but your expenses will outweigh the end result. If you don’t want an off-the-shelf package, than find a solution that offers superior flexibility and customization.
DON’T forget that the CRM solution is in place to enhance your communication, NOT replace it. Keep the lines of communication open both internally and externally and continually tweak the solution to meet your ever-changing needs.
If you take some of these points into consideration when shopping for CRM, you should end up with a solution that matches your needs, complements your entire team and will be successfully deployed. Happy shopping!