What to be Aware of When You Compare CRM Software

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: September 22, 2011

Small businesses that decide to implement CRM often have difficulty choosing a specific product. This article will discuss the many different factors you should consider when comparing CRM software.

The first thing to take into account when comparing CRM software is the subscription fee for the products. You won’t necessarily want the cheapest option – you’ll save a bit of money, but might end up with software that cannot fully meet your needs.

You should then compare the different features that are available with each product. As a general rule, the software should come with campaign management, lead management, and basic campaign analytics. Any CRM application that is missing these features should be quickly struck from the list. You can then look at optional features like ticket management, a self-service portal, and PPC integration.

Another matter you should consider when comparing the CRM software is whether it has any level of certification. Some CRM software is SAS 70 certified, while others are ISO certified or NIST certified. They each offer their own benefits, so as long as there is some level of certification you should be fine.

It’s also a good idea to see whether the CRM software has a Service Level Agreement with a guarantee. These can provide a wide range of benefits and guarantee specific response times to problems. They can also give your company access to things like custom code maintenance and annual system reviews.

Here’s another thing to be aware of: the number of data centers they have available for the CRM software. Some CRM vendors have just one data center, while others will have two or even three. The more they have, the better for your company – each one offers redundancy if one of the other data centers should go down.

You should also take a look at the number of years the CRM software has been around. A relatively new company that has just produced an application has a much greater chance of going out of business than one that’s been around for a while. If the company should fold, you won’t be able to get updates or technical support for the software.

One final matter to take into consideration: whether there are any notable clients that use the CRM software. If the vendor has the U.S. Department of Commerce, or Amazon, or Lockheed-Martin as a customer, there’s a good chance they’re doing something right. You can also contact these organizations and ask how the CRM software functions on a day-to-day basis.

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