Don't know which product is right for you? Ask the team that implements them all

Which CRM Product Should I Choose?

Choosing the right CRM for your organisation can be hard. CRM software an industry that is known for it's jargon, so how do you know you're getting the best platform that's right for your organisation? Beyond the vendor selection, it's in the vendor's interest to sell you as many of the most expensive licenses as possible, but is that in your best interests?

CRM Online has expertise in a broad range of platforms, and partners with 3 leading platforms that allow us to recommend the option that best fits your needs. 

CRM Online can help you navigate the jargon and get the system that's best for you

When considering which CRM system to bring into your organisation, it's important to ask the right questions. Depending on the departments that stakeholders belong to, there are likely different questions that should be asked to find the right solution.

We've included a sample of common questions that should be asked at a business or executive level, as well as a technical and cultural level in order to ensure that the right solution is identified.

Depending on the answers to those questions, there may be one or more platforms that looks to be a good fit for your organisation. It's important to note that selecting a CRM goes beyond comparing features and functions - it's about:

If you'd like to make sure that you make the right choice for your organisation, get in touch today.

Understanding the CRM Terminology

Executive Level Questions

What are the top business issues that I'm trying to solve by implementing a CRM?

When setting out to choose your CRM, it's important to understand what your core business issues are, how you will be able to solve them with your intended CRM, and whether the success or failure is objectively measurable. If you're able to define this, you will be empowered to drive the sorts of behaviours within your organisation that will make your project a success.

For example, if one of your goals in implementing a CRM is to get better visibility of marketing and sales effectiveness, you should ask yourself what that means. Typically, a successful marketing team should deliver qualified leads to your sales team. In order to measure success, we'll need to measure the volume and quality of those leads. In order to do this, one way to measure this success is to measure the raw quantity of new leads captured into the CRM, and combine that with the volume of leads that are disqualified in the early stages by the sales reps. By measuring volume, quality and attributed revenue of the leads generated by marketing, we'll be able to measure the progress of marketing campaigns over time, and improve decision making around our marketing budgets.

Similar approaches should be applied to any area of the business in which a business outcome needs to be measured.

Can I measure these issues within my business?

It's often said that you can only improve what you can measure. That is certainly true of CRM systems, so if you're trying to drive improvement in your business by leveraging a CRM, make sure that the CRM can provide reporting that allows you to gain insights into how you're progressing.

It's important to note that the reporting capability varies greatly between CRM systems. Most of the major platforms provide metadata driven reporting that is wizard driven, though the simpler, lower cost solutions often require external tools to be added to the product in order to provide reporting, if it's possible at all.

What is the total cost of ownership vs the expected return on investment?

It's important to evaluate the total cost of ownership of a CRM, particularly when comparing cloud vs on premise deployment options. CRM Online works with both, and either can be a good fit in certain circumstances. If you are considering a cloud crm option, for example, the license cost is typically higher, but you don't need to factor in the cost of hardware and ongoing server maintenance into your planning. Cloud CRM deployment also has some drawbacks that need to be considered of course, as it can sometimes be more difficult to integrate, and can involve additional costs around data storage over time.

Are you just looking for a database to store your customers or are you looking to invest in a system that can grow with your business?

This is an important item to consider - we've spoken with many organisations that have implemented a CRM previously, and haven't realised the promised ROI for a number of reasons.

A common situation is that the organisation has purchased a product, but never invested in tailoring it around their business. So, what they've ended up with is a very expensive spreadsheet. If what you're looking for really is only a spreadsheet of your contacts, there are many relatively cost effective options that start around the US$10 per month range and will provide this. This is often the best option for a small business with just one or two users, as they are not likely to get any more significant ROI from a more comprehensive system.

If, however, you are a larger business with significant potential ROI, it's important to realise that in order to achieve strong ROI from your CRM, it's important to invest in configuration, training, and perhaps even integration into other core systems. Our most successful clients have had ongoing engagement with us over the course of years, and many of those clients have been with us for close to 10 years!

What does a successful implementation look like and how can it be measured?

Before embarking on a CRM project, it's important to define how the success of a project can be measured. It's easy to lose sight of the desired outcomes of a CRM implementation if the outcomes aren't clearly defined. Make this part of your planning.

Do the improvements that you're looking to achieve require cultural change within your organisation and how can the CRM support that change?

A CRM system can only do so much. If your users aren't willing to use the system this can doom any project to failure. There are a couple of approaches to ensuring that this doesn't happen.

The first is to ensure that the system provides real value to the end users as well as management - make it a tool they want to use rather than an administrative overhead.

The second is to align the use of the CRM with your staff member's key performance indicators and incentive structures. If your goal, for example, is to improve sales visibility within the organisation, make your commission structure subject to Closed Won opportunities within your CRM.

Can the system adapt to meet our needs over the next 1 to 5 years and longer?

Are you looking for a short term fix? Or a long term solution?

When selecting a CRM, it's important to realise that it can be expensive and difficult to change CRM systems. For this reason, if you're after a longer term solution, ensure that the system can be adapted to meet your requirements in the future. This should include a strong partner and application ecosystem, and the ability to build out modules and workflows to support your future business requirements.

Is there a strong partner network that can provide me with local support when i need it?

There are plenty of CRM systems out there, but fewer that offer a strong global partner network that ensures that you'll have local support when you need it. Even more important, ensure that you're going to have your choice of partners - if you find that you're not able to get results with one partner, you're going to want to have the option to switch partners. Make sure your CRM vendor has a strong local network.

Implementation Questions

How will the system fit into the day to day lives of our users?

Are my users on the road or are they office staff that will be using the system from their desktops? If they're on the road, does my CRM of choice have a good mobile CRM app? This is an important consideration - look for a platform that serves as more than just a mobile address book - ensure that it drives workflows that make your mobile staff more efficient.

How will user adoption be measured and driven?

When rolling out a system, it's important to understand how users are using the system. Most good CRM systems have the ability to audit user activity in order to understand how the system is being used. This can be an invaluable tool when identifying who needs further training during deployment.

What level of training will be required of my users for this to be successful?

It's important to ensure that users are provided with the right level of support during the deployment of your CRM in order to ensure that users adopt the system and your organisation achieves the required ROI.

What information do my users need to see within the CRM in order to be effective?

When it comes to designing an effective CRM system, it's important to engage key stakeholders from all levels within the business in order to ensure that they get what they need out of the CRM. In a customer service environment in a bank, for example, it might be important for the users to be able to see the current status of all financial accounts and whether they're in arrears. By understanding that early on, the system can be designed to meet those requirements.

Technical Questions

Is there an existing solution that fits your organisations requirements out of the box?

This should be the first question that you should consider when looking at a CRM. There are more and more industry specific solutions, and while they can be more limited than a full CRM platform like or SugarCRM, it may be worth considering an existing solution.

The other option to consider is an industry solution that is built on a CRM platform. This can give you the best of both worlds - preconfigured workflows and functionality that's suited to an industry, along with the flexibility to further configure the system to fit your unique needs.

Is integration a requirement of your Customer Relationship Management system?

Is single view of the customer one of your requirements? Do your staff need to check 3 or 4 different systems to find the information they need when dealing with customers?

If so, you might want to consider integrating your disparate systems in order to provide a single system that can provide all of that information in one place. This doesn't mean that the CRM needs to be the master of that information, or even that it needs to store the information - it can be as simple as a real time query to another system from a customer record.

CRM Online leverages a leading integration platform known as Dell Boomi to provide integration with most major business systems on the market today.

Is the location of my data important to my business?

Depending on your industry and the compliance requirements of that industry, you may need to consider the location of your system.

In the banking and financial sectors in particular, if you're looking to store or access any sort of financial or personal information in your CRM, you may need to consider hosting within your country, or on premise.

CRM Online offers public cloud, private cloud and on premise CRM systems, and can recommend a solution that's appropriate to meet your requirements.

Is there an application marketplace that allows us to adapt the solution to our needs easily?

As your business evolves, and new third party products come onto the market, you don't want to have to pay consultants to build integrations with other products each time you would like to integrate a new product. That tends to get very expensive!

Choose a CRM that has a mature marketplace that provides a strong ecosystem of add-on products that can be used to add value to your CRM.

Can we make minor changes on our own or do we require consultants to make these changes?

A good CRM should be easily configurable using visual tools to create custom fields, customise labels, configure drop downs and change form layouts. This sort of configuration should not require developers (though for major customisation work, developers are typically required) and by being able to do this sort of configuration internally, you'll ensure that you have budget to focus on the more complex customisations.

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