By: Sayed Ally
One of the most daunting tasks faced by staff is choosing the right Customer Relationship Management technology. Whether you are in the retail industry, financial, high tech, or any other industry doesn't really matter. The method of choosing the right product applies to any industry and any size business. Here are 10 steps to choosing a CRM solution for your business that will help make it successful.
Company Strategies & Goals - When you choose a CRM solution that meets your company's specific needs there are many factors that you need to considered. Not all CRM solutions are equal, and the small to medium businesses have different demands than those a billion dollar enterprise encounters. A cellular company that has hundreds of offices around the country won't have the same requirements as a smaller retailer with just a couple of offices. However, far too many people still fail to consider the business objective when choosing software.
Hosted Web-based or on Premise - There are pros and cons to both in-house and hosted solutions. Most would agree that hosted CRM solutions are easier to implement, readily accessible, and much securer. However, if all of your employees don't have regular internet access the online CRM software is not for your company.
If you have an in-house IT department that is able to support your CRM software, an on-premise solution is the way to go because this also gives you the ability to customize features specific to your business.
Budget - If your business goals have been properly defined budget needs to also be determined based on those goals. You should not base your decision on just the lowest cost because your upfront costs make up only about 30% of what your actual overall investment will be. Only make up a portion of the overall investment. Budget should include costs for customizing, integrating, maintaining, deploying, and training.
Room to Grow without Constantly Upgrading - You should have your growth strategy in place before you purchase your CRM solution. Choose a vendor that will make upgrades easier and more cost effective. This is an important part of your long term decision making.
Rapid Deployment - If you host in-house it will take anywhere from 2 to 6 months to get your system up and running where as the average deployment of a hosted CRM solution is about 1 month. That's a huge difference. Determine whether the length of deployment will have any impact on your business and choose accordingly.
Customize For Your Business Needs - There are many CRM software choices but you should always choose one that allows you to customize it to your business needs giving you a much smoother running system.
Ensure It Works with Existing Systems - You will have a much smoother transition if you choose a CRM solution that will work with existing systems. That's because your employees will not have to deal with training on several new technologies. Choosing a CRM system that will pull data from your back office information can also help you better service your customers.
Choose a Vendor Based on Reputation - If you take the time to do your research and choose a vendor with a reputable reputation you will land up with a reliable product. Remember the most expensive isn't always the best and the least isn't always the worst but you need to do your research.
Choose An Interface That Meets Your Business Needs - You need to determine if your staff can learn the software and then use it efficiently so that productivity isn't negatively affected. If the CRM solution you choose is too complicated staff tends to not bother to use the CRM solution because they become frustrated. Choosing wisely will avoid this.
Functionality - It is critical that the package you choose has the functionality you need. You should be able to quickly recognize if it does or doesn't.
As with anything doing your research and shopping around will reap the benefits. Knowing what you need means you can shop right. These 10 steps to choosing your CRM Solution for your business should make a smoother transition.
About the Author:
Sayed Ally is the lead CRM Analyst. His company provides, Microsoft CRM 3.0. Sayed can be reached at Tel: (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email: aSayed@cqsolutions.com
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