As cloud-based solutions have become more popular, more and more vendors have started creating hosted CRM solutions. A lot of these can be either selected or eliminated outright based on the vendor’s expertise in your vertical, unless you are looking for a generic solution. Involve the users, managers, and customers in creating a list of probable vendors. This will enable you to consider vendors that offer you the right mix of functionalities for your business. Without an awareness of your precise requirements, you could end up paying for a lot of surplus functionalities.
Here are 8 things that you need to consider when selecting a hosted CRM solution:
Evaluate the vendor on its capability to integrate your existing business applications with the hosted CRM solution. Easy integration can save a lot of data migration pains and will hasten the deployment process. Also check if you need to purchase additional middleware or spend on extra coding.
It’s important to know what CRM features are most important to your company. After you identify the requirements you need the hosted CRM to fill, you can engage vendors to see how their solutions address your needs.
Apart from judging a vendor strictly on its hosted CRM offerings, it is important that you check whether the solution fits with the culture of your company. One reason that hosted CRM solutions are becoming popular is the reduced IT burden versus a traditional CRM solution. It’s important to make sure the vendor knows your technical limitations before the hosted CRM solution is purchased.
Is there something that ties you to the vendor? How does it affect your plans to customize, integrate, and increase storage if needed? You may incur unexpected costs that quickly multiply.
Does the hosted CRM offer you the applications that are mission-critical to your business or is the offering just glorified contact management software that is making its pitch based on cost?
Find out who has actual control over your CRM data. The vendor needs to have adequate data encryption to prevent illegal and unauthorized access. Check in advance the vendor’s capabilities in recovering lost customer data in case there is a server crash.
This can hurt your customer relationship. Check for the level of system uptime assured in the SLA. Obtain assurance regarding daily backups, performance guarantees, and any procedures that are required to ensure that your hosted CRM is available 24 X 7.
It’s important to know if the hosted CRM system can scale with ease; your user base is bound to grow as your business picks up steam. Most hosted CRM offerings come in different sizes that cover all business sizes. Find out the cost considerations of switching to editions that offer greater functionality.