Hosted CRM Reviews

By Robin Wilding
Updated: May 13, 2011

With the throngs of Hosted CRM companies all boasting about their services—how do you go about choosing the one that is right for you?

The answer is simpler than you think. You need to break the herculean-like task into simple steps:

  1. Decide on your CRM goals.
  2. Choose the features that are important to you.
  3. Create a budget based on total cost of ownership.
  4. Survey your options.
  5. Do a needs-based analysis.

Decide on your CRM Goals

Before you begin checking out the various hosted CRM vendors, you need to decide what you want the end result of your CRM strategy to be. You need to determine what your current customer relation strategy is, then decide where you want it to be, and then analyze the gap to get the actionable items that will be corrected via the CRM solution. This action-item list will show you your CRM needs, and essentially gives the list of the features that you need, which will help you move on to the next step of choosing the features for your needs.

Choose the Features that are Important to You

Sales force automation is usually the most important feature that businesses are looking for as SFA encompasses lead and contact management, opportunity management, etc., but consider the other features that are available and the benefits that can be derived from them.

Other important features are analytical tools like reporting, forecasting, data management, pre-built reports and role-based analytics. Another set of features to be considered are service and support features like email response management, chat, agent productivity tools, etc.

Create a Budget

Creating a budget for a hosted CRM solution is simple as you do not need to account for on-site costs like equipment and personnel. What you do need to figure out is the budget you have available for implementation and on-going services. Be sure to add into the mix your scalability requirements as your workforce changes in the years to come. Depending on the CRM solution you purchase, the costs generally range from $50 to $500 per person.

Survey your Options

There are several websites that can help you sift between the various vendors; a helpful one is CompareBusinessProducts.com, which has an entire section devoted to CRM solutions and includes a helpful matrix of some of the top solutions in the industry.

Do a Needs-Based Analysis

Now that you know what features you are looking for, what your budget is, and where to compare the different solutions, all that is left to do is to analyze which of the vendors from your research has the exact qualities that you are looking for, at the budget you have allotted.

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