The entire process of selecting, purchasing, installing, and rolling out of a CRM software product can be a very complicated task for any business organization. Given below are some tips that will tell you what features to look for in such software before buying it.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the term given to the concepts that a company employs to manage its relationship with customers. Customer relationship issues are very complex, especially when there is more than a single point of contact for the customer in an organization. The CRM solution helps build a complete profile of your client, which is accessible to all the members of your organization. Along with helping your employees interact with your customers more effectively, this system also helps capture, store and analyze all data pertaining to vendors and partners.
The key functionalities of a CRM system are marketing, sales, and service. It helps automate sales orders, marketing strategies, tracks the project along with the cost details, and also serves as a customer helpdesk portal. The CRM system should also have capabilities of providing multiple communications channels, like direct, the Internet, and via a call center.
The three most important aspects that a CRM software should incorporate, which also form the building blocks along with a database to store the information, are:
- Operational: This is the process of automating all customer process so that it makes the tasks of company’s sales and service representatives simpler.
- Collaborative: The software should be capable of interacting with the customer without any input from the sales or service representative.
- Analytical: Provides the ability of analyzing similar customer related information for different purposes.
The CRM software solutions available these days mainly vary in their approach. But, it is very important to understand that CRM is not a technology rather than an approach to deal with customers and their needs, and therefore, the approach that it follows has to be aligned with the organization’s policies, objectives, mission, and vision.
Tips on Buying CRM Software
Purchasing the right software is very vital for a business organization. Given below are some tips that will point you in the right direction.
- Analyze your needs before you start evaluating any software solutions. Make a list of a ‘must have’ features. This will help you narrow down the list of all possible solutions available in the market.
- Verify if the solution that you are evaluating has been around in the market for sometime now and is not new. Read up the reviews about the software on the Internet or for more concrete evidence, ask your vendor for references.
- Ask the vendor for a free trial period of about 90 days. This will help you evaluate the software thoroughly and confirm if meets all your requirements.
- It is very important to analyze and confirm that the new CRM software solution that you are evaluating integrates seamlessly with your existing applications like Microsoft Outlook and other contact management software.
- The software should have an import/export feature that allows you to import your data directly into the database via a spreadsheet and also lets you export the data into a spreadsheet with a click of the mouse.
- Ensure that the software provides the feature of allowing your sales representative to connect to it via mobile devices.
- The software should allow flexibility in generating custom reports as per the requirements of your organization.
- Another important factor that you must consider is that the software should be very intuitive in nature, so that your employees will not require extensive training to work on it.
- Almost all vendors who sell CRM software solutions offer discounts. Find out what is the standard discount offered, and use this to negotiate further to get the best deal. Once the cost of the software itself is agreed upon, you need to further negotiate on the other services that you will require, like implementation, consulting, and maintenance. You can also persuade your vendor to provide free training to your employees.
- Some vendors prefer not to give discounts, rather they prefer to offer additional modules free of cost. Do not fall for this scheme, unless you evaluate the module completely, and are convinced that you absolutely require the module.
- Lastly, considering just not your present needs, but also your future requirements is a key factor that will help you extend the CRM capabilities as your organization expands.
To conclude, a well operative CRM software solution can turn into an extremely powerful tool for an organization that will help keep customers happy and satisfied at every step of the way. Ensure that you have worked out all the pros and cons before investing in the software.