6 Questions Choose Your Perfect CRM System

CRM Advice

Choosing the right customer relationship management system can be a challenge when there are so many considerations.

Before embarking on the process of comparing different systems, it is first worth taking some time to define your requirement.

You will already have a broad objective of what the new technology must achieve but to help weigh up potential solutions here are 6 important factors to consider:

1. What business processes do you want to improve?

A frequent reason for implementing a new system is the need for greater processing efficiency. 

This should reduce the reliance on time consuming, repetitive manual processes in completing routine tasks.

Examples of this can include sending automated emails when important events occur and enforcing your business rules when processes are carried out to protect data quality and ensure consistent handling.

Lead qualification, email campaign management, service and support process, and complaint handling are frequent priorities for improvement. 

If your requirements have a strong focus on connecting and automating processes this will likely narrow your selection list by excluding entry level CRM system.

2. What type of relationships and workflows do you need to manage?

Essentially, all CRM systems are designed to help businesses manage their relationships with people and companies, track sales and organise daily tasks.

But what other workflows do you need to manage?

Depending on the nature of your business this could include managing a diversity of entities such as: Events, Projects, Training Courses, Jobs, Products, Applications, Medical Records or Property.

If your business needs to manage a mix of workflows and relationship types this will may rule out some packages at the smaller end of the CRM market which are geared towards managing only people rather than these broader business entities.

3. Will you phase your CRM implementation?

There are many benefits in starting small before adding more functionality and sharing the new system with more teams.

Not least because a phased approach means that CRM can be more quickly implemented to avoid the budget constraints that are often associated with larger deployments which involve a considerable upfront cost before any payback is achieved.

In many cases, the technical and training work required to help you get up and running can often be delivered as a fixed package to remove uncertainty and the prospect of scope creep.

By focusing on priority requirements this approach facilitates earn successes and creates a solid basis for continued investment in the system and implementation across the business.

4. Are your requirements industry-specific?

Your industry may be extremely specialised in terms of its processes and procedures that need to be managed.

Some solutions are specific to vertical markets, or have been developed to achieve this. This can include charities, educational organisations and healthcare sector businesses.

An emphasis on a highly vertical solution will likely rule out many entry level packages that lack the flexibility to adapt to fit these industry specific processes and terminology which narrows the field to those applications and vendors with expertise in your industry.

5. What resources should be integrated?

Beyond Microsoft Office applications, you will also likely want to connect CRM with other resources and systems. 

A major challenge that many organisations often face to service customers or assess performance is connecting up the various bits of data that are held in different places. 

To create a unified view of each customer a new solution may need to integrate with your

  • Your website to import new enquiries and leads
  • ERP or accounting software to share customer financial data, or to automate order processing
  • A billing platform
  • Back-offer databases
  • An ecommerce platform to import transactional data
  • Other applications including e-marketing and Sharepoint

6. Do you want to have CRM on-premise, or in the cloud?

By choosing a cloud subscription you'll avoid the expense associated with an on-premise application including software, upgrades, server overhead and administration. Also, with no need for a server installation a cloud implementation helps users get started quicker and new features and improvements will be more readily accessible.

In contrast, an on-premise system gives you complete ownership of the software without recurring subscription charges but will result in higher upfront costs.

Whereas the release cadence for cloud systems is frequent, there will more likely be lag before on-premise systems receive updates and some functions or entitlements may be 'cloud only'.

Here at Preact we’ll happily answer your questions and provide advice to help you choose and implement the best CRM solution for your business. Please contact us to find out more and discuss your requirements.


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