Expert Insights for CRM Buyers

By Robin Wilding
Updated: July 07, 2011

Buying and then implementing a CRM isn't rocket science - but it isn't easy. Take some advice from the experts and keep your mind focused, so as to not get lost in the fog.

Heed the following advice gathered from CRM experts with decades in the business:

  1. Realize it's a Solution, Not an Answer
    Many businesses look to CRM as a solution to their business problems—its not. A CRM can enhance what you are already doing right, but its not likely to solve core business issues. If you have core business processes that are failing currently, tackle them before you shop for, purchase and implement your CRM. 

  2. Buy Features, not Processes
    Your CRM solution should offer you the features that will add business intelligence to your current processes, but it won't invent them. If you buy a system for its processes future upgrades of the program will render it useless for you. Create your own processes by buying a feature-rich software that will enhance those processes and make them fully functional. 

  3. Consider Your Mobility
    If your sales/customer service force isn't mobile yet—it will be. Plan for this and ensure that your CRM will mesh with your mobile strategy and platform. Lacking mobile integration will detract from how widely-used your CRM solution is. 

  4. Don't Drown in the Deep End
    Many companies buy and implement a CRM with grandiose ideas for a full-feature company-wide rollout, but the reality is it will be adapted slowly and is best implemented piecemeal. With that in mind, buy a solution that will be simple enough for your users to migrate to, but complex or expandable enough to include all the features that you want to (eventually) use.

  5. Think Bottom Up
    When you implement your strategy it should be for the sales and service reps that use it on a daily basis, and not for the bosses running reporting tools from it. When choosing one, choose one that suits your users and not the management, since they will be the ones using it. Find the features that they want, and more importantly, will use. 

  6. Consider its Social Media Capturing Capabilities
    Likely half your employees spend a quarter of their time on Facebook. Ditto for your customers. Social media is becoming a part of companies lives, if it isn't part of yours' yet—it will be. If you feel that this is important for you and your company, look for a solution that can help integrate social media into your customer relationship management tool. This will also help you from getting overwhelmed by social media, and instead you can conquer it.  

Featured Research
  • The 2017 CRM Comparison Guide: Q2 Edition

    If you’re in the market for CRM software, we’ve got good news. We’ve updated our CRM comparison guide for Q2. more

  • 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