Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The Quest for the Ideal CRM

By Lukas Szczurowski

When it comes to CRM, it’s not a question of whether you should adopt a CRM system. Every company, big or small, should consider it, if not make it their top priority. Implementing a CRM system that a) conforms to your business model, b) optimizes client relationships and c) drives sales is crucial for any business. So why is it that so many businesses are still reluctant to invest in CRM? The answer is: they don’t know where to begin.

There are a copious amount of resources available online and offline for individuals actively seeking a CRM system. However, being able to sort through the clutter seems be the most difficult task. For this blog, I’d like to suggest some practical methods that people can use to begin their quest for the ideal CRM solution.

I decided to turn to LinkedIn’s Answers feature to get some real feedback on this issue from the business world. I asked: How do you go about assessing CRM systems before making a final decision? Within moments, a slew of responses flooded my mailbox from people and companies around the globe each providing their own take on what decision criteria should be considered before selecting the CRM system right for your business.

The Matching Game

The general theme that seemed to emerge amongst the answers was to begin your research by assessing your company’s needs and organizational goals.

In my last blog I concluded that in order to create the ultimate customer experience businesses need to match their capabilities to their target customer’s needs and vice versa. In order to select the best CRM system for your organization, you need to understand what you require the system to do on a deeper level than just simply functions and features. You need to investigate your company’s current challenges and create a roadmap of how you will go about conquering these obstacles. From there, you can assess exactly what role the CRM will play in that journey, which will then assist you to decipher what kinds of CRM vendors you need to begin looking at. It is best to evaluate CRM vendors that list their products and features on their website and simply see if your list of requirements matches up with their capabilities.

Put Education into the Equation

Though most companies readily understand the term CRM and may even consider it a catch phrase, not every individual out there does. You may recognize your need for CRM but without knowing much about the term, your search for a solution ends up becoming a problem.

The LinkedIn responses suggest that those individuals who are not as well educated on CRM should consult reviews and webinars to hear what other professionals have to say on their experience with CRM and what impact it has had on their business. In my opinion, understanding what stage of CRM education you are at sheds light on how much hand-holding you will need from your CRM vendor. Recognizing this level of need will help guide your search based on which vendors will provide the most amount of training, a deployment strategy, unlimited support and other services that will help make your CRM implementation a smooth-sailing success. It will also help you to differentiate between those vendors that will become your long-term partner and those that will be nothing but a fling.

One Step Closer to the Finish Line

All of the responses I received from LinkedIn provided invaluable insight into the minds of both the CRM customer and the vendor, which really helped to put into perspective how the two worlds need to see eye to eye in order for any CRM deployment to reign victorious. If your vendor’s capabilities match your company’s needs and your level of education is accompanied by a supportive partner, you will be able to find a CRM system that will elevate your business to new levels of success.

For those out there actively seeking a CRM system, I hope this blog helps to take the stress out of your hunt and demonstrates that there are resources available out there and moreover, that you are not alone.

About the Author
Lukas Szczurowski is the CEO of Luxor CRM, a web-based CRM vendor, headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Tags: online crm, saas crm, web-based crm, Marketing, Sales, custome relationship management, business

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