The CRM Buying Process Steps 7&8

Step 7: Vertical 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 vertical industry. Industries for which tailored CRM applications have been created include insurance, real estate, agribusiness and non-profits. Also, companies that sell through channels (in other words, resellers or distributors) may have a need to manage tiers of customer relationships with partners, direct customers and customers who buy from partners. These companies often buy CRM and are disappointed by its effectiveness; a related technology, partner relationship management (PRM) could be the real answer for these businesses.

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.

Step 8: Feature Requirements

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—good CRM solutions all have the same basic features, so the decision then gets pushed onto more exotic and less frequently-used features—meaning that your decision could be driven by a feature you never end up using.

Instead, using the problems you identified early on, identify customer approaches your business is taking or wants to take, and identify features that map to those approaches. For example, if you want to bring an aspect of Social CRM into your CRM strategy, look for how a CRM solution links or syncs with social networks or other social media data in order to drive specific business processes or offer an expanded view of the customer relationship.

Your front-line users earn their place on the selection team in this step. Allow them to identify things that would make their jobs easier, and use those ideas to narrow your focus on those defining features.

Source: The 10-Step Guide to Buying the Right CRM Solution – Sugar CRM

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