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.

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