CRM Buying Tips

By Robin Wilding
Updated: June 20, 2011

Buying a CRM product is kind of like picking up a girl—complex, unnerving and without a guarantee of a positive end result. But—you can prepare yourself...for buying a CRM that is.


If you are considering buying a CRM solution, consider the following tips that can help get you prepared for the experience:

Tip #1: Shortlist your Vendors

Creating a shortlist of vendors is surprisingly easy. Once you have decided whether to go for a hosted or on-site solution, create a list of possible vendors. Cross-check the vendors with the features you require and the budget you have allotted, and poof you have your shortlist.

Tip #2: Questions

Before buying any CRM solution you should prepare a thorough list of questions for your shortlisted vendors. Your questions should give you a good overall idea of their history and services. Here are a few examples:

  • Tell me about your background, including what vertical(s) you have experience in.
  • Do you have a road map for the future regarding upgrades and enhancements to your CRM product?
  • Do you offer references?
  • Can I see a demo?
  • Would it be possible to do a trial of the software before I buy?

Tip #3: Do a Demo of Software Trial

You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, so why would you buy your software with one? A trial will give you an idea of the product's capabilities, what sort of learning curve your users might have, and an overall impression of the software.

Tip #4: Determine How the Software will be Received

The key to any CRM implementation success is in how many of the users use it, and how quickly they pick it up. Survey some of your departments and users to find out what the likelihood is that they will use it. Also this will help you figure out how much training you might need to do alongside the roll-out.

Tip #5: Try to Negotiate a Deal

CRM solutions can be pricey, and going back to the car analogy—you wouldn't buy a car without negotiating a deal either right? While you are still in the information gathering phase is the best time to try and negotiate a deal because the vendor knows that he will have to earn your business. Be aware that the standard list price is just that—a list price, and this price usually has some wiggle room factored into it.
In addition to the price you can negotiate on extras, like additional modules, a reduction in consulting costs, free training, or lowered maintenance costs. 

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