CRM Buying Checklist

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: September 01, 2011

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has become an essential part of any modern business. This article will provide a checklist of things to look for if your company is in the market for a solution.

Lead Generation – Every CRM solution should have some form of lead generation. It allows you to identify prospective customers through mailing lists, customer surveys, and other online activities. This can directly result in an upswing of sales and more business for the organization.

Multichannel Support – You’re going to want to engage your customers across as many different platforms as possible – email, instant messaging, faxes, message boards, Twitter, and more. It’s therefore important to make sure the CRM solution is set up to handle broad multichannel support.

Mobile Access – This will allow your employees to access the CRM data when they’re not at the office. They can meet a client, travel on a business trip, or simply work at home, but still be able to perform their necessary duties. If the CRM solution doesn’t come with this solution, it’s generally a bad sign.

Simplified Interface – Your employees may start to avoid the CRM system if they can’t figure out how to use it. The daily routines should thus be easy to understand and the software should integrate fully with existing applications. You don’t need a lot of unnecessary clutter – just a solution that works.

Campaign Management – The CRM solution should be able to handle every part of a sales or marketing campaign. This includes building the operation, testing it out, deploying the campaign, and measuring the results afterward. It should also come with cross-selling and up-selling functionality.

Scalability – Your company is likely to change in size in the coming years. You may hire a large number of new employees or have to downsize some of the staff due to economic concerns. You’ll thus want a CRM solution that can quickly scale up or down on a moment’s notice.

Role-Based Security – This allows you to assign security levels to roles instead of specific individuals. An ‘administrator’ can have access to the whole system, while a ‘supervisor’ can make changes to their department. If you’ve got a large number of employees, this feature is vital.

Customization – Every business is different, so you should make sure the CRM software is fully customizable. You’ll want to be able to add your own fields, modify the grids, and put up your own logo. A ‘one-size fits all’ approach doesn’t work nearly as well and tends to result in frustration for most companies.

Featured Research
  • Are You Using These 8 CRM Features?

    One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to their CRM software is the features they don’t use. This happens because they invest in CRM with a handful of problems in mind, so they’re content as long as it solves them. But if you want to maximize your ROI, you should be utilizing every feature available to you. more

  • 2017 CRM Software Cost Guide

    Would you believe that 89% of businesses expect to compete primarily on customer service in the upcoming years? With that in mind, it’s no surprise that CRM software is becoming such an integral part of business operations. But not all solutions are created equally, especially when it comes to the value they deliver to your business. more

  • Top 10 Trends in CRM for 2017

    There’s some big things happening with CRM software that you should to be aware of. Technological advancements and changes to business processes have led to developments and new features that are making CRM more valuable than ever. Things like mobile capabilities and greater integration with other software are at the front of this progress. more

  • SMB CRM Providers Comparison Guide

    A good SMB CRM system can be an incredibly valuable asset for your business. As more businesses recognize this value, the amount of SMB CRM vendors is expanding quickly. Navigating the pricing plans, features, and service terms of all these can be a decision-making nightmare. more

  • CRM and Contact Center Integration

    One of the best ways to improve your customer service is to integrate your CRM and contact center software. Benefits of doing this include:Improved customer satisfaction through more personalized contacts, Better conversions on lead, and Increased employee productivity. more