How to choose the perfect CRM solution for your business - part 1

When it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), it’s important to understand all the benefits of an integrated solution before beginning your selection process.

This blog post will help you make the best purchasing decision possible. It will also help you build a business case for a CRM solution, form an effective project team, ask the right questions, identify the challenges involved and much more.

First though, it's important to have good information and understand the reasons for change before you make a purchasing decision.

Step 1: Getting started with Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Most companies require that you justify the need for a new solution before you make a purchase. Building a case for CRM provides the necessary background information to help you define the need, justify the cost and demonstrate the value of the investment.

Elect a core team

Establish a core group of individuals dedicated to driving the CRM project to completion. Before planning your strategy and implementation make sure your team includes a project leader and project managers to oversee the functional divisions of your organisation – such as marketing, sales, customer service and technical departments.

Set your goals

Your team should have a shared understanding of your CRM goals. To achieve this, the core group should identify your organisation's objectives, focus on processes that require re-engineering and discuss the appropriate courses of action.

Examine your current processes

Analyse your existing business processes from many viewpoints, to find out how they impact both your organisation and your customers. By evaluating your processes now, you can identify what’s working and what’s not and prepare to implement a new CRM solution that emulates the most effective strategies for achieving success.

Step 2: Understanding the core components of CRM

Next, let's look at understanding the core components of CRM. CRM helps to increase productivity across your marketing, sales and support functions.

By understanding the ways CRM can improve your company’s effectiveness, you can better communicate those benefits to key decision makers.

Marketing automation

  • Develop, target and implement campaigns
  • Manage and analyse marketing budgets
  • Maintain lists and track responses
  • Analyse campaign results

Sales automation

  • Perform analysis to ensure time and energy are spent on the deals most likely to close
  • Improve lead distribution and tracking
  • Effectively process quotes and orders
  • Provide remote sales staff with instant access to corporate information

Customer service automation

  • Capture and track every interaction with every customer regardless of touch-point
  • View and measure call turn around time and understand what is taking longer to resolve and why
  • Maintain a complete case history with instant access to all previous issues and customer interactions
  • Automatically escalate cases if not closed within certain time frame

Next time: Planning the Project