Calculate CRM Total Cost Of Ownership

Although it may look and sound complicated, calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for on demand CRM is as simple as elementary subtraction.

Or to go one step further, more money will be going into your business rather than the system that struggles to support it. The on demand model affords customers greater flexibility in accessibility and product, hassle free hosting of information, upgrades year round and greater security of information, just to name a few perks!

For those not using on demand CRM allow me to break down its cost effectiveness versus out of the box or custom built solutions:

For starters you can take your current IT costs and subtract all your hours and dollars spent on system maintenance, upgrades, integration and up keep.

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Demystifying CRM Adoption Rates

I recently spoke at a global sales summit in Verona,
which gave me a unique opportunity to interact with sales executives
from all corners of the world. I heard their perspectives on sales
effectiveness challenges, sales process, and channel management, among
other topics.

During my keynote I shared the results of CSO
Insights’ 2006 Sales Performance Optimization study as they pertained
to leveraging CRM to improve sales effectiveness. The chart at right
turned out to be the subject of lots of discussion. It illustrates the
breakdown of the CRM system end-user adoption rates reported by the
1,275 companies taking part in this year’s study.

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CRM Software Integration in the Age of Globalization

Integration across operating locations of all sizes has become increasingly important in the age of globalization and increased competition. The reasons are clear: reducing costs, optimizing processes, and gaining a single, unified view across all company-wide information.

While end-to-end business software solutions are helping to integrate data, systems, and business processes within large enterprises, many companies have yet to achieve the same integration at their smaller subsidiaries.

The reasons are many. Integrating operations is perceived as too costly, complex, and time-consuming.

Similar problems are cited by midsize enterprises, which need their systems to integrate with those of their distributors or customers to remain competitive.

However, new, easily implemented solutions are now available which cover the demands of small subsidiaries and independent midsize companies while linking quickly and cost-effectively to enterprise-scale headquarters I.T. systems.

There are numerous solutions for integrating applications, processes, data, or systems within a company. But while large companies’ headquarters are usually equipped with modern business software solutions, their international subsidiaries and remote operating locations often work with applications that cannot interoperate.

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Five Steps to a Successful CRM Implementation

Review a stack of business journals and three letters will likely pop up time and time again – CRM. The universal acronym for customer (or client) relationship management, CRM is seemingly the Holy Grail of today’s business manager. For the professional services person, some iterations of CRM may be confusing – many are slanted toward automating customer service operations. But never fear, there is a whole lot more to CRM than fielding service calls. In fact, a new breed of CRM is quickly becoming a powerful solution for professional services firms, especially those with management teams that want to leverage firm-wide intellectual property to grow their client base, improve productivity and maximize profitability.

Unlike accounting or HR solutions that are primarily used by highly trained and skilled personnel within a single department, CRM is an enterprise application that is used by virtually everyone across the firm. When deployed in an organization, CRM solutions aggregate vast amounts of information to create a pool of knowledge that can be used to prospect new business, validate leads, analyze processes and more. Sounds great. But the question remains: how can a firm ensure success? Following are five simple steps that can help put your organization on the path to CRM success.

1. Remember that Culture is King – A CRM solution is more than a new software package. It also encompasses a mindset, a way of doing business and a way of interacting with others in the firm. The success of a CRM implementation rests on the shoulders of a workforce that is willing to share information about clients and contacts. However, this "collaborative" mentality flies in the face of the culture within some professional services firms. For better or worse, many professional services practitioners are skeptical of sharing contact information for fear of losing opportunities to generate work that they can produce themselves. However, if a CRM implementation is introduced to the workforce as an opportunity to create new opportunities for all, success rates will improve significantly.

Consequently, it is especially important to publicize instances when shared information benefits the firm-at-large. Management must work toward creating a culture that is based upon "the greater good" rather than "individual gain." To reach this goal, users must see proof that the information they share will be used to improve operations and add new business that will benefit all members of the firm. It may take some time, but such a culture shift is worth the effort.

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Avoid 5 CRM Deployment Pitfalls

Companies that learn to recognize and avoid them can realize the long-promised benefits of increased productivity, greater customer satisfaction, and better employee satisfaction.

It’s 1999–CRM is the must-have business application, because untapped customer relationships will open the floodgates to new revenues. You plan how you’ll spend the bonus you know is coming your way.

Thousands or millions of dollars later, perhaps things didn’t turn out quite as hoped. What went wrong?

First-generation CRM software was anchored in vendors’ expertise in a particular customer touch point, often the call center or sales force. Companies purchased extra functionality for any given touch point. Meanwhile, failed deployments made national headlines.

Today’s new products might give hope to companies that waited to adopt CRM technology or replace systems.

The pitfalls of deployment
Are companies in for the same problems that plagued first-generation deployments? The pitfalls do remain: AMR Research estimated in 2004 that 28 percent of CRM implementations failed to go live, and 33 percent had significant user adoption problems. Therefore, it is critical to consider the risks and take steps to avoid them.

Poor user adoption
First-generation CRM technology often required companies to redesign business processes to accommodate software function, and customer-facing personnel had to learn entirely new applications and processes. In some cases, neither vendors nor enterprises gave enough consideration to whether products would ensure user adoption.

Product scope instead of strategy
Immature technology led IT staff to focus on product scope, instead of capabilities that enhanced operations, legacy investments, and business processes. Companies even substituted CRM software for business strategy.

Rigid software design
First-generation software forced companies to conform to its function or customize it extensively, discouraging user adoption and automating business process without optimization.

Never-ending upgrades
First-generation CRM products took months or years to deploy, and the frequency of new product introductions continually pushed out completion of implementation.

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Planning Your CRM Rollout

Communication is critical to rollout success and CRM user adoption. Make sure to include customers in your communications for the parts of the project that will impact or be visible to them.

Rolling out, or deploying, new procedures and the systems that support them always should be carefully planned. But when those procedures and systems are visible to your customers and directly affect them, special care is required.

Taking a phased approach to the CRM system rollout is one way to lower the risk of business disruptions and other problems, as well to minimize the costs.

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