Today’s business market has become an extremely competitive place. To succeed in this environment it’s more important than ever for companies to develop and manage their operations efficiently. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is an effective way to do this. It will strengthen your relationships with existing customers while building new ones with your latest prospects. A CRM solution helps any organization become more competitive by automating, organizing and synchronizing business processes.
Why is it Important to Choose the Right CRM Solution?
Once you’ve established the need for a CRM solution, you’re left with the matter of choosing the best one for your business. A CRM solution that works effectively for one company may not meet the needs of another.
This is why it’s important to choose the right solution that allows your business to provide your patrons with the best possible industry experience. Implementing the right CRM solution should be viewed as an investment, and chosen with great care because essentially, you’re selecting a partner to help you grow your company. Your company should stand out to your customers, and when they know you have their best interests in mind, they’ll be pleased and continuing using your services.
CRM has evolved into a versatile system that allows businesses to maintain existing customers and recognize new ones by utilizing automated functions and lead management that supports your sales and technical personnel. A CRM solution will reduce calls to your help desk and improve customer service.
When Choosing the Right CRM Solution, Consider the Following:
With the abundance of CRM solutions that are available on the market today, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your business, however this needn’t be so. Break things down into manageable steps to make things easier for you, and keep the following things in mind as you begin your CRM search.
Your current needs versus your future needs
Analyze your current needs, and remember that the scalability of the product you’re selecting is important. Think three years down the road, and consider what your needs will be then; the solution you’re selecting should meet your needs now and in the future as your company grows. Be careful, because CRM products will come with many features and items you won’t need. You don’t want to incur unnecessary expenses so be as realistic as you can be. Be in control and ready to ask the right questions. If you remember to analyze your needs first, you’ll find the best solution that will grow with your company.
Once you’ve implemented the right CRM solution into your operations it will become an important part of your business strategy, possibly even the KEY part of your strategy. So you want a product that provides historical interactive analytics. If the CRM solution provides crucial insight regarding historical trends relating to every aspect of your business, then it will provide all the answers you need.
It’s important to analyze trends over time to identify where your company has excelled versus where it’s fallen short. You need this information for your businesses success in the long run. A CRM solution that doesn’t provide this information will hinder your ability to make important business decisions required in today’s marketplace. Look elsewhere for a solution if the product doesn’t offer these tools.
Cost VS. Budget VS. Quality
It’s simple to state a dollar figure and go from there; CRM costs can run from inexpensive to extremely expensive. It’s important to keep in mind that higher cost doesn’t always equate to higher quality; and when a solution is expensive, that doesn’t mean it’s going to meet all your needs and expectations.
Keep weighing your options and stay critical while searching for the right CRM solution. Once you’ve determined your needs for the present and future, and settled upon the functionality you’ll require, it’s a matter of researching the market to get an idea of the cost range you can expect. Remember that implementing a CRM solution should be viewed as an investment.
You’ll be paying total cost of ownership (TCO) over time in addition to initial costs, so it’s important to look for a CRM solution that works for your business and also gives you the opportunity to grow and excel with time.
Hosted Solutions VS. Onsite Implementation.
Today, most software products can be used in one of two ways. Traditionally, the equipment can be purchased and installed on your businesses premises, where the CRM solution can be put into effect on locally at your site. The other option is to use a CRM solution stored on the cloud. Both of these solutions have their pros and cons.
Examine solutions from each of these two areas and choose one based on your budget and needs. Consider what an onsite implementation will offer as opposed to a hosted solution, and it’ll become obvious to you what solution will work for your company. Every case is different, implementation may be great for one business, but another might have greater success with a solution from the cloud. Only you know what will work best for your company.
Once you’ve identified your budget and business needs, you can exclude some vendors and save yourself a lot of time. Research is key, and since you’ve now eliminated many vendors and hosting companies, you can begin looking for a vendor that has a good track record and experience in helping customers achieve their business goals.
Remember to ask companies about the types of customers they’ve worked with and their long term plans; and evaluate the security offered by particular solutions because you want to ensure your business isn’t exposed to hackers. Ask for references if possible; typically if a company is proud of the work they’ve done, they’ll provide you with references you can contact.
This is usually the most difficult step in the process but it’s important to take your time because as difficult as it can be, it’ll be extremely rewarding once you’ve found the right solution.
Make sure that your team knows how to use the CRM solution you’ve decided on. Many people tend to look at training as an expense that can be dismissed, which is a mistake. If you’re staff doesn’t know how to best use the new CRM software, you’re not going to get the results you desire. Find out if the companies you’re considering offer training, and if so, ask for it to be included in the package.
It’s going to take time for you to decide on the right CRM solution. The entire process may take several months to complete.
What to Expect Once You’ve Made Your Choice
It’s been challenging but you’ve put the required effort into making the your decision. You’ve done your research and you’re completely satisfied with your choice, so what should you expect now that you’ve chosen and implemented the solution?
Assuming you’ve followed the advice in this article and done everything correctly, you should quickly begin to see the benefits of your CRM solution. Your customers will notice an improvement in how you’re doing business with them and your users should feel comfortable and confident when using the product.
Most investments take time to pay off, but the rewards should be seen in about six months. Many people don’t like change, so there might be some resistance in the beginning. However, once they see the benefits of the change, they’ll be ready and willing to comply. If they don’t, they might need to be replaced. The change will be a positive one that will affect the culture of your business. If they can’t get on board with the new culture, they may need to move on.
As time goes on, keep evaluating your solution; as your business changes, your needs will change as well. Don’t be afraid to make changes, and be flexible. Your solution will grow with you.
Those who embrace the CRM solutions available will outshine the rest, and those who choose to ignore these solutions will simply be left behind. Your business will be more competitive by raising the bar for customer relations and interactions with your employees. Your CRM solution will help your business run efficiently and smoothly.
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Do you have questions about using CRM in your business? Contact us and discuss how technology can benefit your business. Technology professionals are standing by ready to help you.
Every company is unique and your solution will need to match the uniqueness of your company. Making the right CRM choice will ensure your businesses success for the future, so be sure to take your time during the selection process to you choose the best CRM solution for you. You won’t regret it.
Published On: 17th May 2013 by Ernie Sherman.