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What Is in a CRM RFP?

RFPs Simplify the Buying Process
Are you having a tough time finding the right customer relationship management (CRM) solution for your company?

By issuing a request for proposal (RFP) to each CRM vendor you are considering, you can simplify the process, and make it easier to compare solutions based on your key criteria. With a CRM RFP, you can make a faster, more informed decision, and ensure greater satisfaction with your selection.

But what are the key elements of a CRM RFP? Your CRM RFP should ask vendors to provide the following information:

Company Background
Ask each vendor for a complete company history, including mission statements, organizational structure, geographic scope, and financial status, as well as a roadmap that outlines future plans for the business. This information will help you determine which vendor will be the right partner for you, now and in the future.

Functionality Requirements
The functionality section is, by far, the most important piece of any CRM RFP. Outline your specific requirements, including end-user functions, integration with existing systems, and other key criteria, and ask each vendor which features and capabilities they offer. This will help you identify those solutions that provide everything you need to achieve your CRM goals.

Proposed Solution and Pricing
By the time each vendor has reviewed and completed the previous sections of your CRM RFP, they have gained enough insight into your company’s needs to propose a solution, and estimate the costs involved in design, implementation, roll-out, and maintenance.

Any expenses for add-on services such as consulting or training, as well as any discounts being offered, should also be included in this section of your CRM RFP.

Value-Added Services
Most complex software solutions require help from vendor or third-party consultants, and CRM is no exception.

Make sure each vendor clearly defines the level of services that will be required for your project, as well as some background information (i.e. professional experience, education, skill levels, etc.) about the team members that will be delivering those services. In this section of the CRM RFP, vendors should also establish a firm timeline with specific milestones, as well as any anticipated service costs.

Of course, you want to speak to companies who are already utilizing the solutions you are considering.

Make sure your CRM RFP asks for a list of customer references, preferably from clients within your industry, or those that have similar needs and business challenges. To get the clearest picture of each customer’s experience with the solution, talk to multiple stakeholders, including IT staff, business managers, and end users. And, if possible, request a site visit, so you can get a first-hand look at how the solution operates in a real-world scenario.

Other points to consider when reviewing completed CRM RFPs include the timeliness of each vendor’s response. Be wary of those vendors who don’t get their responses in on time, as it may be an early indicator of their inability to provide prompt service and support. Completion of answers is also important. Any vendor who doesn’t answer all the questions in your CRM RFP may be trying to hide something.