Choosing the Right CRM Software
Managing all aspects of a business can be time consuming and expensive. If your customer list is growing and you can’t keep up, investing in CRM software may be the right choice. However, purchasing software without spending time thinking about what you need will drain your accounts without giving anything in return. Use the following guidelines to help you pick the right CRM Software for your business.
What Does Your Business Need?
Understanding the needs of your business is the first step to choosing the right CRM software. What is your businesses size? What problems do you need to solve? Make a list of what the ideal CRM software would do for you. There is a huge variety of software available, but the only way to be sure you’re getting the right one is through a solid understanding of your needs.
What is Your End Goal?
Along with understanding what your business needs now, you also need to have an idea of where you’d like your business to be in the future. If you are simply interested in being better organized with the data you have, a simple program is all you need. However, if your goal is to increase sales by analyzing customer habits and anticipating what they might be interested in next, the type of software you choose will be very different. Start with a goal and build your software around it.
What are the Functional Requirements?
Understanding the requirements of each type of software you’re interested in will help keep you from regretting your choice in the future. A simple to use program will be welcomed by your employees, but this must be balanced by its ability to perform.
Another aspect to consider before purchase is whether you will store your data on a local server or in the cloud. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Hosting on site will give you more control over your data. However, it will also require a greater commitment in terms of IT personnel.
What is the Vendor’s Background?
After determining exactly what you’re looking for it’s time to examine the software and vendors available to you. Learn more about any vendor you’re interested in working with. How long have they been in business? Are the financials solid? Do they have partnerships with other vendors for added usability? What level of support do they offer after you purchase their products? Thoroughly researching a potential vendor will lessen the risk of a disappointing purchase.
Evaluation – Does the Product Have What You Need?
Your vendor should give you and your team a chance to evaluate the software before making a full purchase. This period tends to be between three and six months and should be used wisely. This is your one chance to make sure you are making the right choice, so be cautious.
While evaluating your software the first thing to determine is if the functionality you bought it for actually exists. In other words, can the software do what you need it to? From there, gauge its usability. While the software may have the functionality you want, it may require more work to use than its competitors. Finally, functionality is useless if it won’t work with your data. Make sure all information can be transferred seamlessly.
While CRM software is easy to purchase at trade shows and conventions, making a choice on a whim will likely result in a piece of software being left to collect dust on a shelf. Take the time going in to understand your needs and take advantage of all the opportunities you have to test potential software. Following these steps will help ensure you choose the right CRM software.