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.  

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