When your company decides to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, the next important step is to define your CRM requirements. You’ll need to outline your needs and goals and translate those into a firm list of key criteria before you start evaluating the various vendors and applications on the market. This approach will help you find the CRM package that will work best for your business.
In order to identify your top CRM requirements, you’ll have to gather in-depth insight into the expectations of your customers, the goals of your company, and the needs of your sales, marketing, and service staff. Begin building your CRM requirements list by conducting a thorough assessment and posing the following questions to your project team and other key stakeholders.
You can most accurately discover and prioritize your CRM requirements by understanding what problems you are trying to solve, what processes you are trying to improve, or what objectives you are trying to achieve. This knowledge will help you determine which features and functions the solution you choose must have.
Involving your core user base in project planning can help you more clearly define your CRM requirements. Knowing how the members of your sales, marketing, and service teams interact with customers, as well as the challenges they most often face when working with existing or potential clients, will help you map out the tools they’ll need to perform their jobs more effectively.
While increasing internal productivity and reducing costs are important things to consider when defining your CRM requirements, you need to remember what CRM is really all about: gaining market share and improving satisfaction and loyalty among your customer base.
Gather as much insight as possible into the expectations and needs of your current and potential clients, so you can ensure they are reflected in your final list of CRM requirements.
The ability to analyze and assess the success or failure of a CRM initiative through use of reports, key performance indicators, dashboards, and other business intelligence capabilities is a must-have on any CRM requirements list.
Whatever your goals are – to reduce customer churn, improve up-sell and cross-sell programs, shorten resolution times for customer issues, etc. – make sure the features you need to track the critical metrics related to those objectives are represented in your CRM requirements.
Your CRM requirements should not only address your short-term needs, but your long-term plans as well. Make sure your list accounts for any expected changes in the structure of your organization or future shifts in your business model. This will help you choose a solution that can evolve with your company.