Susan Campbell talks about how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions can do great things for a company, when they are selected and implemented correctly. She then goes on the say “This is easier said than done, however, and many decision makers are left scratching their heads trying to determine exactly what the companyâ€™s needs are and how to select a solution that actually meets those needs.”
Before a company can investigate a CRM software solution, it must first be able to properly identify company goals, strategies and business objectives and what benefits related to these factors they hope to gain from the CRM software implementation. By properly aligning the CRM software selection with business objectives, the focus is put directly on these objectives and not getting caught up in clarifying the companyâ€™s IT strategy. Such an approach also enables the company to consider growth objectives and ensure that these are clearly defined.
If the company has planned an aggressive growth strategy, the CRM software solution should be scalable enough to accommodate rapid growth without the need for continuous upgrades. Any enhancements that are necessary to sustain even moderate growth can be painless for the company as the system should offer consistent and readily upgradeable architecture. Companies should always assume that changes will need to be made and this should be factored into the decision process.
The company seeking a CRM software solution should also be able to identify whether or not they need a customized solution and whether or not the solution should be compatible with existing systems. Customization can result in higher costs for the organization, however, depending upon the industry, the investment could result in a better return.
The same can be said for working with existing systems. The company may require that the solution pull data from legacy programs instead of requiring employees to adopt several new technologies which can, in effect, threaten the potential success of the CRM software implementation.
The operation of the user interface should be a critical element in the decision process. The company should identify if employees can learn the software, use it efficiently and whether or not it promotes productivity. Users will overwhelmingly reject the solution if it is too complicated to use and they do not perceive the intended benefit. If users wonâ€™t use the program, any benefit it was intended to provide will be elusive for the company.
Once these things have been properly defined, the company must also decide what budgetary goals are and how they fit with strategic goals in terms of the pending CRM software investment. Making the right choice in a CRM software solution can produce a fast return on investment.
While choosing CRM software can be a daunting task, it does not have to be an insurmountable one. Simply defining the right goals and how the CRM software enables the company to meet those goals will go a long way in preparing the company to make the smart choice.