Top 10 considerations when selecting a CRM – Customer Relationship Management System

1. Types of CRM Platform

On Premise CRM Cloud Based CRM
•        An on-premise CRM is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a  CRM system housed at the place of business that uses it.•        This can mean the CRM is kept in a dedicated server room, or even in a closet. Generally, an on-premise solution requires the business to buy either a server or a computer that can act as a server. Once this takes place, the CRM software can be installed on that server, usually by an inhouse IT department. •        A cloud- based CRM system is managed digitally via the Internet by an offsite team of experts.•        This solution is also referred to as software as a service (SaaS), because it does not require a software installation or an IT department for management purposes. Instead, you simply log in online and begin using it.•        Cloud-based CRM is accessible anytime by anyone approved within the business to use it — even on mobile devices

2. Pros and Cons

On Premise CRM Cloud Based CRM
On -Premise  Pros• In-house IT teams have greater control over equipment, security, and data.• It may be all smaller businesses need for the time being.

On -Premise  Cons

• Outages can cause major delays in using the system.

• If using as a customer service touchpoint, outages can be especially damaging.

• Can mean extra expense if IT expertise must be hired for setup and maintenance.

• Difficult to scale and upgrades can be costly.

Cloud-Based Pros• Accessible 24/7 by anyone approved within the organization.• Accessible on the road via mobile devices• Minimum investment needed.

• Do not require server maintenance and upgrades are often automatic.

• Scalable and secure to keep up with business growth

Cloud-Based Cons

• Cloud based systems rely on your Internet connection. If your Internet  service goes down you may experience downtime

3. Your Team need to use it

Why CRM Failed

Why CRM Failed

In Short, **Adoption = Success **

According to Forrester Research, 70% of CRM project failure are primarily caused by lack of user adoption. And this is always the top priority focus of the top CRM software vendor by providing ease of users, and practical usage, to drive user adoption. Some of the top vendors such as Salesforce has the best user interface and user friendliness interface to allow users to easily figure their way through the navigation, making adoption less frustrating and higher success.

CRM Adoption

CRM Adoption

Some of other key factors includes but not limited to:

  • Involving user at the start
  • What are our data needs?
  • Multiple Sales Processes
  • Do we involve our customer?
  • How do we measure success ?
  • User Training ?
  • Management Training?
  • How about our partner ? (channel)

When selecting an implementation partners, interview them to make sure they’ve experience in such planning and measurement template, to ensure they’ve the experience and skillsets, not just lips services or fancy website.

4. Know what features you need

CRM features and functionality

CRM features and functionality

Always knows what your business require, list down the top 5 key problems the CRM deployment is meant to solve, and then prioritize them.

When selecting the software, ensure that the selected CRM can address all, or most, of the features and functionalities, and allowing you to grow the functionality adoption stage by stage when your organization is ready for the adoption.

It is always good to have a CRM solutions which allows growth path, then to change a software midway, as the migration can be an extremely painful and costly exercise for the organization. Not only that, the change may at times be so destructive to the organization that business may be impacted and even create bad customer experiences.

5. Examine how it helps grow your business

CRM Deployment

CRM Deployment

CRM software is not just about deploying an automated software to speed up your processes, it should have many best practices you can learn from the software, and experience of the implementation partners, software vendors from their other clients’ deployment.

CRM Best Practices

CRM Best Practices

Besides that, the software should provide guidance on improving customer experience, customer interfactions with the organizations, and how you may even learn more about your customers, collecting feedback which were not possible in the past.

6. Do you need Mobile ?

Customers and employees are expecting to be served and to serve even when they’re on the move, when mobile technology leading both consumers and business front, mobility is no longer a luxury but a must for any business to compete in the market.

Mobile CRM

Mobile CRM

Ensure your selected CRM support Mobility, and not just an extension with mobile browsers, but ensure it’s an native apps that leverage on all the functionality of Apple IOS, Google Android, Blackberry, and Microsoft Windows Mobile. Watch out for some of the CRM which only support certain platform and have compatibility issue for cross platform adoption.

7. Consider Your Hardware

BYOD

BYOD

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, refers to the popular growing policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.

No longer just about your company hardware – Employees bring their own devices, thus the terms BYOD – Bring Your Own Devices.

BYOD is gaining popularity in every organizations big or small, and IT departments are adopting technology to support employee’s own devices to make them more productive while they’re on the road. Ensure your CRM adoption supports every possible platform out there to maximize your employee productivities instead of enforcing a platform unnecessarily.

  • Look for a CRM that offers the same features you use on the desktop version on phones and tablets running iOS, Androidor Windows

8. You don’t work in a vacuum

CRM Integration to Other System

CRM Integration to Other System

When selecting a CRM software, you should consider one that can easily integrates with all the new social networks, web 2.0 or even hardware such as Call Centre system or ERP solutions in the market. Choose one with many of these out of the box integration done and ready made so you know it’s has already been proven with open standard and integration capability.

9. Measuring your performance

CRM Analysis and Dashboard

CRM Analysis and Dashboard

One of the top objectives of adopting CRM is to allow organization to measure their corporate performance, whether it’s sales analysis, customer services level, marketing campaign performance and corporate dashboard, make sure the selected CRM has these analytic tools supported out of the box without you having to involve in another complex Business intelligence project or using low end tools like Excel spreadsheet to mingle with data and limited analysis.

Mobile CRM Dashboard

Mobile CRM Dashboard

For executive on the move, consider a CRM that can even provide such Dashboard and Analytical tools on Mobile platform so they can alert to important events, and notification even when they’re on the move

10. Will it grow with you

CRM AppExchange - Appstore concept

CRM AppExchange – Appstore concept

It is always painful whenever you are stuck with a software solutions that are difficult to extend or upgrade, because of the technology dependency in many such traditional client server platforms. Example, you may need to upgrade the Operating System, or the Database version or even the Email server before you can consider upgrading the CRM, and the nightmare of coordinating with multiple stakeholders in charge of different part of the server software alone can be a nightmare.

Choose a software that are ideally easy to upgrade, or multi-tenanted software such as Salesforce, Google gmail, which support auto and multiple upgrades without users even noticing it.

In addition, does the software support third party vendor extension, example, when you need a project management extension or an event management extension, are the solutions already there for your to expand your business with ? does it support AppStore type of concept like Apple ? These are again important consideration when choosing a CRM solutions.

Selecting a CRM software can be a taunting task especially for SME with lacking of experience IT who are experience in Software and Business function. At time, even company with IT department find it difficult as the IT staffs may be mainly technology administrator and not business consultant background and thus unable to provide consultative feedback on the right selection.

For those who require an independent IT consultant to assist in your selection process, please feel free to visit us at http://agilitytech.com.sg or contact us at info@agilitytech.com.sg for a discussion. It may be a more cost effective way to get the right software from the start.

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