A failure to complete due diligence in all your business processes can end up costing the company too much money, time, and productivity. At the same time, you can also easily enrage your employees if you make too many changes that fail. When implementing a customer relationship system, all of these things can rise to the surface, demanding that you conduct an intense CRM evaluation before such a system is put in place.
The completion of your CRM evaluation can be difficult simply because there are so many worthy options available on the market. If you conduct a quick search, you’re likely to find a wealth of information on SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, and so many others. While it is important to remember that each of these companies have millions of advertising dollars at their disposal to be sure you know everything about their product, your CRM evaluation should include lesser known products as well.
In the process of completing your CRM evaluation, there are many points you need to consider. Here, the focus should be on three key elements: hosted CRM versus on-premise; full enterprise solution versus individualized departments; and customized versus out-of-the-box. You may think you can quickly look at each one and know exactly what will fit best within your environment. Jumping too quickly on one option versus the other can result in quick failure, however, and your CRM evaluation should demand that you intently examine each element.
Moving data storage and management to the cloud is gaining momentum as companies are recognizing the power and advantages of on-demand solutions. There are still fears concerning data security, however, and these fears should be explored with any vendor you seek in order to ensure that your data is safe once it passes through your firewall. If this is a concern that you cannot get past, you may need to set aside the hosted option and stick only with on-premise solutions. A full CRM evaluation should help you determine the best option, but the level of risk tolerance for all decision makers within your company should be considered.
There are specific questions you should ask in your CRM evaluation to know for sure whether you need a solution that integrates the entire enterprise or one that simply works within specific departments. First of all, does information from your distribution division affect your client base? Does your call center need access to accounting records? Are automated email notifications accessible by your tech support personnel when serving a client? To achieve the best customer service possible, all individuals interacting with your clients should have access to all interactions. If only certain departments ever touch the customer or their account, you may not need enterprise-wide integration. Include an assessment of your needs in your CRM evaluation and you will be better suited to answer this question.
Is your IT department ready and able to launch a CRM solution? How specific are the goals you have established for your CRM solution? Will it integrate throughout the enterprise and is it hosted or on-premise? You should be able to answer all of these questions to decide whether or not you want a customized solution or one you can use right out-of-the-box. You will find in your CRM evaluation that customization is much more affordable in hosted solutions, yet out-of-the-box options can deliver powerful results in standard practices.
Your CRM evaluation should be extensive to ensure your company gets the most value out of your CRM solution. If you do the job right, you can guarantee great results and rapid adoption among your staff.