Five Things to Consider When Buying Web-based CRM
Selecting a Web-based CRM solution can be a challenging task. There are dozens of applications to evaluate and hundreds of third-party service providers to choose from. Here are five things to consider that will help you find the Web-based CRM solution that’s right for your business.
Architecture and Security
While Web-based CRM can spare you the hassle of day-to-day system maintenance, it also puts the service provider in the driver’s seat, forcing you to give up a certain amount of control over your data.
This can be hard pill to swallow for many companies, given the mission-critical and sensitive nature of customer information. But, partnering with a service provider that has the appropriate security measures in place can protect your data from being compromised. Make sure the Web-based CRM solution you choose provides support for secure socket layer (SSL), data encryption, and other features designed to prevent unauthorized access and security breaches.
System uptime and performance are also critical, especially if your Web-based CRM solution will support service teams that work around the clock. Look for 24 x 7 system monitoring, redundant servers, scheduled daily backups, and other procedures that will eliminate the risk of downtime and prevent data loss in the event of an outage or system failure.
Implementing a Web-based CRM solution shouldn’t force you to start restructuring existing workflows across your sales, marketing, and service teams. The service provider you select should understand that each and every company has unique processes, methodologies, and best practices. Make sure that the way your Web-based CRM application supports and automates them aligns with the way you do business.
Just as customer-facing activities vary greatly from company to company, so do goals and the key performance indicators, metrics, and other reports used to track them. For example, while improving service response times and reducing customer churn may be key objectives for one business, increasing up-sell and cross-sell ratios may be the most important goal for another.
The Web-based CRM solution you select should offer plenty of flexibility in reporting, such as the ability to build custom and ad-hoc reports, as well as dashboards and visualizations, so you have the tools you need to address your specific information requirements.
Although some Web-based CRM vendors may try to convince you otherwise, basic user-defined alerts are not actual workflow automation. Those Web-based CRM solutions that are truly workflow-enabled will not only improve the productivity of your key processes, but dynamically automate their execution based on structured business rules to ensure efficiency, consistency, and repeatability.
On the surface, all Web-based CRM solutions appear to be more affordable and deliver more value than their on-premise counterparts. But, if you choose a Web-based CRM solution that offers fewer features and capabilities, isn’t user-friendly, or doesn’t include comprehensive post-installation support and training, then you’re not really getting the most for your money.
There are plenty of Web-based CRM offerings on the market that deliver the same level of functionality as on-premise solutions. Make sure the one you commit to can meet all your requirements.