The leading CRM solutions on the market may have a lot in common, and many of them are good enough to handle your basic business processes. But is “good enough” what you’re looking for?
“Good enough” CRM solutions often fall short of expectations, especially when it comes to integrating key data and streamlining processes. Wouldn’t you rather invest in a CRM solution that not only addresses your needs but also automates and complements the unique requirements of your company?
Based on my 30+ years of experience in this industry, if a friend was investigating CRM solutions, I would pass along this advice:
- Begin by thoroughly understanding the needs of your organization. Then compare solutions based on your needs, not on all the bells and whistles.
- Avoid being swayed by hype and flashy demos.
- Make sure your prospective provider asks questions about your business, processes, and goals.
- Take into account the entire platform and ecosystem of the solution, not just its CRM functionality.
- Carefully consider features such as analytics, collaboration, and mobility.
- Be sure to get answers to all your questions.
- Calculate the actual bottom line, including any hidden costs.
Throughout the process, keep in mind that the provider you select might be even more crucial to your project’s success than the specific CRM solution you choose.
Initial questions to ask a prospective CRM solution provider:
- How does your team’s technical expertise differ from that of other providers?
- What does your team know about my industry?
- As our implementation specialist, what will you do to make the project a success?
- Will you allow for flexibility in the implementation without charging for adjustments?
- How will you deliver the best quality while helping us to reduce costs?
- What experience do you have planning for the cloud and future compatibility?
- What are some of your best client relationships, and what makes them so successful?
After your CRM solution provider has become familiar with your business, ask:
- What are the most significant risks or impediments you see within our organization as we consider a new implementation?
- How will you help us develop a CRM program that will continue to meet our needs over time?
The right CRM solution provider should ask you questions such as these:
- Do you have the executive buy-in and team commitment to work through the project and make the changes necessary for implementation success?
- Are there individuals within your organization who will serve as change champions?
- Have you allocated time and resources to help ensure ongoing project success beyond the initial implementation?
Red flags to keep in mind:
- If the implementation is wholly technically based and not focused on business processes
- If the provider’s expertise is not broad enough to handle all of the products available in the ecosystem
- If the provider doesn’t have related industry expertise
I’d tell my friend to do their homework and then go with a provider that has expertise, experience, and excellent references – like Crowe.