10 Questions for Mid-sized Firms to Ask When Buying a CRM Platform
It’s essential to pick the right solution and vendor, and mid-sized firms need to do this with limited resources and experience. Here are the ten questions we think every mid-sized firm should ask before signing on the dotted line.
The benefits of a CRM platform are fairly well understood. It allows organisations to grow revenue, improve customer service and retention, streamline business processes, drive down costs, deliver efficiencies, and improve management information allowing for better decision-making. CRM has become intrinsic for enterprises but a growing number of mid-sized firms are now discovering how CRM can deliver the same benefits to them. Pick the right platform and implement it well, and it can transform your organisation.
Q1 - How easy is it to use?
One of the main issues with any technology is adoption. The more intuitive the solution the quicker your team will be up and running on it. That will reduce training costs, and increase the use, benefits and return you get from your investment in CRM.
Q2 - How easy is it to customise?
Customisation is also key to adoption. The solution you choose should be easily customisable while enabling you to capture all the information you need, without having to change your working processes too much. The CRM must fit your organisation rather than changing your organisation to fit your CRM.
Q3 - Can we access it from multiple locations and devices?
A web-based system will make it much easier for your sales team to enter data from anywhere, whether that’s out at a trade show, working from home or travelling between customers, on their laptop or on their mobile. That flexibility will make your organisation more efficient and make your CRM a tool your salespeople love using.
Q4 - Are the reporting tools easy to use?
This is partly about speed of use – you want a CRM solution that allows you to quickly and easily create reports – but it’s also about getting those reports in the right format, with easy filtering, graphs, dashboards etc.... – providing you with real time insights into performance and activities and helping you make informed decisions.
Q5 - Will it grow with us?
Having a solution that’s designed for small firms may have its attractions, but it might mean that as you grow you end up having to implement a whole new platform. Far better to start out with one that has the scope to grow as your business does.
Q6 - Can I import and export data easily?
Importing existing data to a CRM platform can be complex and time-consuming, so you need a platform that will make it as straightforward as possible. Test it out before committing. Equally, make sure you can get your data out in a usable format.
Q7 - What training is available?
Your team will need training on how to use their new CRM system – it’s the key to ensuring adoption, and return on investment. So, make sure you will be able to access high quality, in-depth training at an affordable price.
Q8 - What's the real price?
An appealingly low headline price can hide costs for support, training, and so on. Too often organisations are lured in by low license prices, and are shocked to discover several months later that they have to pay extra when they run into a problem they need help with, or that their implementation cost to deliver the outcomes they want has grown out of control.
Q9 - Will it integrate with my other applications?
A CRM platform that can only operate on its own is of limited value. You will get far greater return on investment from one that integrates with all the other applications you use in your business such as
Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps or Sage accounting packages. Make sure integration is straight forward.
Q10 - Is it right for you?
It’s easy to spend too much on a CRM platform. Many mid-sized firms do this and then discover they never use many of the features they’re paying for. Look instead for one that’s tailored for your situation, offering enough functionality, but at a price you can afford – that’s the one that’s likely to deliver the best return on your investment.
There’s a lot to consider before embarking on a CRM journey but hopefully these ten questions will allow you to kick things off in the right direction.