Once a business clearly understanding why a CRM is needed, critical to a successful implementation is clearly defining CRM requirements.
Outlined below are 6 steps that are important in defining CRM requirements.
Defining CRM Requirements and Integration
How far down into your company’s existing systems will your CRM solution integrate? Will it be a departmental solution, or will it be used to increase the customer-centric nature of your entire business? Integration can add significant costs and delays to any implementation, so if you are thinking of using your CRM system across the entire organization consider ease of integration as part of your preliminary criteria.
How adept is your staff at picking up new applications and new concepts? Unless they’re all early adapters, you’re probably going to need some degree of help with onboarding the product. Knowing what level of support your staff will need for your CRM implementation to succeed long term is important.
Industry & Market Requirements
Are you in an industry that collects unique forms of customer data, or one in which customers negotiate a specific, non-standard path to buying? If so, you should pay attention to CRM solutions tailored to your industry.
Even if you do fit into a vertical market, do not forego a look at horizontally-targeted CRM systems, because you may find that with the right customization they may work better for your organization than the vertically focused options.
The traditional way to pick a CRM application was to sit down with lists of features and start comparing different products in a kind of feature shoot-out. This is not a recommended approach as all good CRM solutions have the same basic features.
Instead, using your organisations processes and customer journey identify the features that map to those approaches.
By now, you should have several solutions in mind that can fulfil your business requirement. The next step is to decide which of these is most affordable. This is the time to look for hidden costs; the base cost is almost never the extent of your expenditures with CRM.
Knowing the full cost of your CRM solution up front and projected costs over the life of the software will prevent you from being over budget.
Once you have found the right CRM solution and partner, pause to examine the partners track record. Ask whether the CRM implementation was genuinely transformative, and if so, what role the vendor had to play in that.
Buying a CRM solution involves a complex series of decisions, but it also requires an intimate understanding of your own business. Even if your company completes the mapping process but decides against implementing a CRM solution, the process can be remarkably useful and result in improved efficiency and a more customer-centric approach to business.
If you lack the resources to engage in the exercise of mapping of your processes, engaging a third-party consultant may be a worthwhile option. Consultants are also useful for the more traditional role of integration and implementation.
Once an understanding of internal processes is established, discovering your requirements—and using those requirements to gradually whittle down the field—can be done within the context of your real needs. The factors you should look at are not just built around features—as is often the case in short-listing efforts that go awry—but around a set of business considerations that include stakeholder interests, budget, support, integration, and the specific requirements of your industry.
Finally, you must find vendors who work well with your company and fit with your organization’s level of sophistication to ensure a smooth relationship over the long haul.
ProAptivity are an independent CRM solution provider. We focus on the implementation, training, and support of highly customised CRM software solutions. Our CRM software provides the customers with the tools needed to grow bigger, faster and with more ease
Contact us today on 028 9099 6388 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you assess if your business is CRM ready.