Be it SMEs or large organizations, CRM is attracting a lot of attention as it helps companies achieve a competitive edge in an ever changing, competitive market. CRM enhances the entire process of customer interaction by providing a 360 degree view of the customer journey, making it a darling of several goal-driven organizations.
The proof is in the pudding: A Gartner report had predicted that CRM growth will double and increase to a $36.5B worldwide market by 2017; and the truth is, it has.
As the number of organizations investing in CRM increased over the years, the vendors have also upped their level. The current CRM platforms available in the market are already matured considering from where it all began, and there are innumerable choices, making it difficult for business organizations to narrow down to one.
So how do you choose the best fit for your business?
We will walk you through the right questions to ask before choosing a CRM.
Know why you want a CRM
Before you take the plunge, first understand what your requirements are as an organization. What are your goals?
- To make your business centralized and organized?
- To structure profitable business insights?
- To improve campaign response rate in the marketing department?
- To increase revenue by implementing CRM in the sales department?
- To acquire a history of your contacts, communications, deals and leads?
If you are a small or medium sized business, you might want a centralized database to streamline your entire sales process. For larger organizations, it is a lot more complex than that—every department may demand a particular set of functionalities depending on the process. An efficient CRM is supposed to address all those issues effectively.
Know what you are buying
Now that you have decided on implementing a CRM system and understood how it can benefit your organization, it is time to evaluate the various CRM platforms.
A couple of years ago, business organizations while choosing a CRM tool were focused on the following touch points.
- How fast can a CRM be implemented?
- Which is better: On Premise or Cloud?
- Will the CRM integrate with the existing software?
- What are the implementation costs?
- How quick and easy it is to use?
Looking down the road, it’s now time to address newer concerns which will help you select a CRM that perfectly aligns with your business process. Since many of the CRM features have been around for years and as the technology is evolving every day, it is important to know which functionalities are fresh and which your competitors are not aware of. Here are 5 questions you can ask while you evaluate a CRM platform.
1) Have you considered the possibilities of IoT and AI bots in CRM?
“Based on the latest 2016 Gartner Hype Cycle report, three diverging technologies—Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or the Internet of Things (IoT) platform are some of the digital solutions that will lead the CRM innovation in the coming years.”
It’s not just a trend anymore! It’s already out there and has created a paradigm shift in CRM technology. IoT will have to go hand in hand with business CRM sooner than you think. Doors have opened to possible opportunities with integrative IoT tools that will do several critical tasks such as consumer order filling, predicting orders that may come through in the next quarter, or even give spot on discounts based on demand analysis collected through data streaming from different marketing areas.
Likewise, large businesses, overwhelmed with humongous amount of data, can find the right solution through enhanced AI bots. AI bots will help the sales employees to get better insights into the customer data by collecting information on a lead or customer from every possible data points. They will also aid in analyzing the data and predicting trends, and even take crucial decisions. This will save up a lot of effective working hours, thereby boosting the overall productivity of the organization.
2) Is mobility the central factor for your team?
Mobility is the most talked about topic among businesses today. Be it customers or employees, they demand real time access to data. Pricing, contacts, opportunities in sales, you name it, your team should be able to get it no matter where they are.
Based on a study conducted by Nucleus Research, 65% of companies that are using a mobile CRM solution are meeting or exceeding their current sales quotas.
Needless to say, mobility is THE key factor while selecting a CRM. Check for following features in CRM mobility:
Connectivity independence: Online or offline, users should always have access to data
Mapping and Navigation: Accessing contact/account location on a map
Synchronization: Happens automatically in the background whenever there is connectivity
Multi –Device access: Should be able to connect CRM user with multiple devices including tablet and smartphone
Localization: Should be available in multiple languages according to locality
User experience: Should provide familiar user experience while navigating from Dynamics CRM to mobile device
3) How secure is the CRM?
With so much of data streaming through the system, data security cannot be sidelined. If you are working with a vendor, ask pivotal questions on data security of the CRM they suggest to you.
- Is there a two-step authentication process?
- Is there a multi-tiered approach to user security
- Does it provide encrypted transmissions?
- Is it hack resistant?
- Is there a real time back up of all data stored in the servers?
4) Is it Scalable? How does it help you in business expansion?
A growing business requires a scalable CRM tool for properly aligning sales, marketing and customer services. A robust CRM will help in structuring lines of communication between various departments.
- Does the CRM offer geo location?
- Does it allow team management and provide proper visibility?
- Is it flexible? Can it support more users as the company grows?
- What’s the cost for adding multi-currency conversion and mobile integration features?
Rate your CRM considering these facts.
5) What is the Return of Investment (ROI)?
Any investment must have an ROI, and that is no different for a CRM.
Don’t forget to ask if the CRM you are considering propels your business productivity, and to what extent.
Choose a CRM that will simplify your processes, empower your employees and bring in good levels of team productivity. All this eventually translates into cracking ROI.
The Take Away
A wise CRM purchasing decision comes from knowing your operational requirements, specific functionality required for your business and how it will be implemented.
Do you really need an enterprise level multifunctional platform or a specific facet of a CRM? For instance, you could easily get dazzled by a mobile CRM, but if your company runs an aggressive inside sales team, it might turn out to be a bit overwhelming. Focus on areas which bring real business value to your organization and move ahead.
Ask Suyati if you are looking for the best advice on CRM choices. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.