The modern business landscape has become extremely complex and competitive, which requires you to adopt software tools to optimize your limited resources, boost productivity and improve the bottom line.
For many organizations, the choice of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is critical to the success of their outbound marketing campaigns and lead nurturing practices.
According to 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, a study by American Express, six in ten consumers will spend more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences. Many other studies have also proved that CRM adoption can significantly transform organizations and their customer relationship dynamics.
However, the very choice of CRM software and its implementation dictate the outcome. A study by Merkle Group Inc found CRM initiatives had a 63% fail rate, thanks to their poor implementation.
Factors for Choosing CRM Software in the US in 2015
If you’re planning to successfully implement CRM tools for your organization, consider the following steps.
Define Your Goals and Objectives
Each CRM tool is designed differently and what works best for one organization may not necessarily work for another. Therefore, an organization must define their goals and objectives before purchasing CRM software. While this process may sound simple on the surface, it’s actually quite complex in practice. Organizations where CRM fails, either underestimate their needs or fail to consult their sales, marketing teams and other end users. When you allow them to participate in the decision making process, you’re more likely to choose the CRM tool that fits their requirements.
Measure Its Scalability
Many businesses commit the mistake of overlooking the scalability of their CRM software. Considering CRM software is a long-term investment, the organization must ensure that the software accommodates the evolving business needs from time to time. You don’t want to end up investing in another CRM tool if the existing software fails to cater to your future needs.
While it’s hard to fully measure the scalability of a CRM software without actually using it, reading software reviews, comparison posts, and consulting experienced users will help you gather ample information on the CRM software that’s right for your organization.
Consider Your Budget
Budget is arguably the most important component of your decision-making process when investing in CRM software. However, rather than letting the upfront costs influence your decision, focus on the potential long-term costs and benefits the CRM solution will deliver. Consider what’s included in the price of the software as well as the cost of system integration, software customization, and additional equipment. When you’re investing in a CRM solution, make sure it seamlessly integrates with your existing IT infrastructure.
Look for Mobile Features
Does your CRM software offer a mobile solution? While this may not be an important feature for some, it could be a deal-breaker for others, especially those working on the go. If you’re seeking out mobile features, check if the mobile version of the CRM solution has all the features that are available on its desktop version. Automatic sync and offline access are some of the must-have features a mobile CRM solution is expected to offer these days.
Test Drive Your CRM Software
A CRM solution is a big investment for your company and you want to make sure it’s the right purchase. That’s precisely why you should ask your potential vendors to let you test drive their CRM solutions. If any vendor isn’t willing to do so, they probably don’t deserve your business. When you test drive CRM software, ask your team to test out all features, whether they are basic or advanced. Perform an extensive number of tasks including entering leads, sending emails, exploring all features available in the software. Gather feedback from your team and share it with each of the vendors. This process will help you find the vendor that best matches your requirements.
All CRM solutions may look appealing at first sight, but don’t let them lure you into buying without research. Consider your requirements, objective, business goals, future expansion plans, and take your entire team through the options to help put things in perspective. Research the long-term costs associated with CRM options available to you. Rather than rushing to buy any CRM software, proceed with careful planning.
What is your advice on choosing the right CRM solution?