Shopping for CRM Systems

JustenoughcrmBeing the one tasked to evaluate and select a CRM System can be a lot to ask. This post is to help you ease the pain and understand your options before making such a large investment. Here’s an excerpt from a highly recommended book called Just Enough CRMby Francoise Tourniaire. It’s listed on my CRM Books page and something you should consider adding to your library.

When your done reading this, you might also find some additional information from a previous post called CRM Shopping? Simplify the Process.

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Top 10 CRM Stories of 2006

I’ve already talked about what’s ahead for CRM in 2007 in a previous post but failed to recognize what was accomplished in 2006. Better late than never right? Despite being well underway into 2007 I felt this list was worth mentioning.

An anonymous author for SearchCRM put together this article and starts it off with this blurb

"For the first time in years, earth-shattering acquisitions weren’t the
biggest news in CRM this year, but the market for CRM technology
remained an active and tumultuous place in 2006. We break down the top
10 stories of the year."

The article then goes on to list the top 10 CRM stories of 2006. We’ll do this David Letterman style and start from number 10…

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Do You Need A New CRM System?

If you have absolutely no tool in place to track customers’ interactions, you need a CRM system. If you do have a tool in place but are not satisfied with it, take a good look at it before deciding to start over. Why?

  • Problems that appear to
    be tool problems may stem from other causes.
  • Implementing
    a new tool requires significant amounts of time and money, and requires
    retraining customers and staff to use it.
  • You don’t want to embark on such a
    project without having a clear requirement to do so.

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CRM is So Misunderstood

Businesses need to understand good customer service does not
begin or end with the purchase of a CRM (customer relationship
management) solution, according to Gartner.

It may seem obvious but too many companies are failing to
understand the complexity of the good customer service jigsaw in which
technology is just one–albeit important–piece.

"More than 70 percent of CEOs currently rank building customer relations as their most important task yet, they tell me they’re not doing CRM. They think CRM is a technology. CRM is not a new concept. The term may be a decade old but it goes back hundreds of years." according to Gartner analyst Scott Nelson

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5 Tips To Optimize CRM Training

Training new customer service reps to use a CRM system quickly is
crucial not just to a contact center or customer service effort, but to
the entire company, as well. Often, a service rep is the first contact
for new customers, or for existing customers who have problems with a
product or service.

Having a new rep stumble through an unfamiliar system is the last thing
a call center manager wants to see or hear. So, what can be done to
help newbie users master your CRM system?

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Will Google Buy

SalesforcegoogleThe world is being “disrupted,” and that’s a good thing, said IDC. At its Directions show here this week, the company made some predictions regarding changes in IT and how to find the good in them.

If you believe Frank Gens, senior vice president of research at IDC, one of those changes is that will be bought sometime this year, and not by a company you’d think would buy the software as a service (SaaS) darling, either.

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Six Reasons Why CRM Initiatives Fail

There can be many reasons why CRM initiatives fail but here we’re going to focus specifically on six of them pertaining to small businesses and startups. Brian Halligan has been implementing and using CRM systems for his whole career and has some good points.

"Most small businesses I deal with have either tried and failed on a CRM
implementation or are getting marginal value from what they consider a
sunk cost in software and human brain-damage from their implementation."

Here are short summaries of the six reasons why CRM initiatives fail:

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How to Create a CRM Business Case – Free White Paper

Getting a CRM business case approved can be a tough challenge. Gary Smith has put together a free three page white paper explaining how to define the benefits, business capabilities and
scope of the CRM project in a way that will withstand executive
scrutiny and present a compelling reason to invest.

You can download the free white paper here.

CRM – Debunking the Myths

HolygrailBeing tasked to evaluate and select a CRM system can be difficult and intimidating. Should I select an in-house system? How about a hosted solution? Your boss depends on you to pick the best solution for your company but you don’t know where to start.

According to Matthew Crook, CEO at SalesCentric, there are 8 CRM myths that should be debunked before your quest for the CRM grail begins.

I’ve included a summary of each of his points below.

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CRM – 7 Ways to Make Money

Gene Marks from The Marks Group wrote about
Seven Ways to Make Money From Your CRM System. The article talks more about how guys like "Don" or "Harry" are able to keep better track of their quotes or sales leads using a CRM System instead of ways to really increase revenue using CRM.

It’s a somewhat entertaining article written
in a cartoon-like way and better targeted for the novice or small
business CRM user. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading it and
therefore pass it onto you.

His seven ways are listed as such:

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