How to Choose a Suitable CRM Supplier

Money has never been tighter for the majority of companies and consequently taking on a CRM system at a time when every cent counts is almost too risky for many.  However for most businesses the pros of CRM outweigh the cons, and with this in mind it is important to ensure the job is done right the first time.  There are many CRM service providers out there; for those businesses who have had nothing to do with these types of suppliers in the past, it can be a difficult decision choosing the right one.

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Asking the right questions

Getting the wrong CRM provider can potentially finish your business, or at least set it back years.  Here are some factors to take into consideration when interviewing suppliers for the work:

  • How long the provider has been in business and who have they implemented CRM systems for in the past.  Get references from other clients and verify what they tell you.
  • What the cost of the system includes, whether there are any on-going fees, what licences have to be purchased and whether there is a charge per user.
  • If the supplier has a free trial period or any kind of special offers so you can evaluate the product before committing 100%.
  • What types of support are provided while the system is bedding in, such as staff training, and what happens if there is a problem, plus if there are additional costs for online CRM assistance.
  • Whether the CRM system will cope with your business expansion, which is one of the reasons you want it in the first place.
  • What forums exist for other companies using the same CRM system and what reviews have been written about its usefulness?

What your CRM system provider should do for your business

First they need to be experienced in assisting businesses defining required outcomes, so everyone is reading from the same page.  For instance if there are several customer databases within the company all running separately, they will need to be integrated to improve CRM, save money and enable the sales team to work on the resulting untapped opportunities.

The provider should be capable of working within your budget and to avoid starting from scratch wherever possible, making best use of existing resources.   Beware the provider who is unable or unwilling to work at least to some extent using current platforms and seems intent on spending your dough for the sake of it.

Next they need to make the transition as easy as possible for your business and their support mechanisms should be straightforward and transparent.

Finally the provider should provide guidance on the best key performance indicators to use and ensure all relevant staff know how to use the CRM analytical tools, such as monitoring customer complaints and results of surveys, how fast employees respond to customer enquiries and sales targets.  They should be responsive themselves in answering your queries and requests for assistance, since CRM is their business too!  There will be plenty of amendments to make as the CRM system evolves, and the best providers will have experienced similar issues many times before so the should be ready to answer FAQs.

John Stain is working in the support team of WebCRM and he is helping for the development of a cutting edge CRM system.

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