Decide on CRM deployment: Cloud vs. On-premise Both solutions We provide for you
With a Cloud (Software-as-a-Service/SaaS) solution, you don’t need a server or technical expertise on your side. You simply log into the cloud-based CRM in your Internet browser and you’re ready to go. All information resides on the vendor’s server. However, you must be online at all times. If your Internet connection fails, you will not be able to access your data. With an On-premise solution, you own the software and it is hosted physically at your location. Thus, you will have direct access to the servers if you want to integrate with other customer applications. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with recurrent subscription charges. However, you will need to have in-house IT personnel and purchase the necessary hardware and software, as well as incur higher upfront costs. Here are a summary of pros and cons of each platform: How cloud based CRM compares to on-premise CRM A word of caution, though – just because you need one deployment option today doesn’t mean that you won’t need the other one sometime in the future. Choose the CRM system that is flexible and is able to evolve together with your business.
Know what features and functionality you need Your business is unique in terms of its processes, customer base and growth dynamics.
So, committing to a set of standard, basic or inflexible functions is simply not wise. What you need is a scalable CRM solution! As your business grows, so will your CRM needs. That’s why you need to make sure that the CRM solution you choose can be easily upgraded to the next more sophisticated version. Another thing to remember is that very often CRM software comes with a lot of functions that need to appeal to a wide spectrum of businesses. But, why pay for the functions you don’t need or use? According to Software Advice, first-time CRM buyers often overestimate what features they actually need. Ask yourself – does everyone in your company really need all the bells and whistles a CRM can offer? This also applies to the number of users in your company. Perhaps, different users need different user plans. Thus, sales departments might need a CRM with an advanced sales set and a possibility to use CRM on their mobile devices; while your communication team may need to only use the marketing-related functionality. One thing is clear – stay away from the “one-size-fits-all” solutions; instead choose the CRM that can adapt to your needs!
Make sure the system integrates with other applications This is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a CRM for your business.
You’re not buying a CRM as yet another item in the collection of different work systems. You’re buying it to help you streamline your business operations! That’s why you need to ensure that the CRM system can integrate with other applications you already have. Now, we’re not just talking about integrations with Office 365 or a Google G-Suite integration! Of course, these integrations are important… but, your CRM software should also seamlessly integrate with: an ERP or other accounting software, a HR software, your own website and web forms to import new leads, billing and e-commerce platforms to register transactions, as well as marketing solutions. Apps and integrations with CRM software On a similar note – make sure that you are able to easily migrate your existing contact data into your new CRM software. Most CRM systems will allow you to import data from other sources. Also, check whether you can export information out of your CRM software.
Request a demonstration and test drive a free trial Never take a CRM system at face value! It’s always a good idea to test it out.
The best solution is to start with a live (or online), personalized demonstration and then move onto a free trial. During a live demo session, a sales person walks you through the software and shows you how to use it. Then, you can ask specific questions that related to your business. After that you can move on to “playing” with a trial version in order to get a good feel how everything works and see the system’s strengths and weaknesses. Look at things like ease of use, key functionality and the ability to expand. Finally, we recommend you invite at least two vendors to the table, so you are able to compare the CRM offerings.
Choose an industry-specific vendor with local partners Your industry may be very specific.
That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a CRM vendor who has worked with companies and industries which are similar to yours. By simply studying a vendor’s website, you can get a good idea of the types and sizes of companies they work with. You can also check the third-party review sites, such as Capterra or FeaturedCustomers.com, for customer testimonials, references, scores, etc. Another thing you need to consider is the vendor’s local partner network. Most European businesses want to have a local partner to provide local support during and after the CRM implementation. If this is important to you, then it makes sense to look into the vendor’s partner network. Does the vendor have local partners? Do these partners only implement CRM or can they also offer business consulting? How much CRM experience does the local partner have, what is their certification status and how many implementations have they been involved with? 6. Check whether customization and training are available A CRM solution is no good if it’s not properly configured or if your staff isn’t trained to use the features. So, when you’re asking for a price, make sure to ask how much it will cost to configure the solution to your needs and to personalize training sessions – not just online tutorials. A CRM system should complement your business and reflect your sales process, your marketing strategy, your customer service activities, your contact management routines. That’s why you should choose a system that is easy to configure. As for training, it is one of the most important factors of a smooth CRM adoption. It should be an on-going, user-specific hands-on experience, so that everyone knows how to use the software to increase their efficiency. Being it group, individual or role-based, CRM training not only shows how the system works, but also how everything is connected and how a user contributes to the general organizational workflow. Training, in fact, helps a company to work together towards the same goal.
Pay attention to user experience One of the most crucial criteria of choosing a CRM system is how you feel and what you experience when you use it.
Does it help you? Is it intuitive? Or is there something that irritates you or slows you down? For example, you can ask the vendor to show you how many clicks it takes to do a specific task. As you watch, ask yourself: How effective (and enjoyable) is the user interface? Are the buttons labeled clearly? Is the flow of actions logical? All this constitutes user experience. So, when you are watching a demo or testing out a CRM system, make sure to evaluate the system’s user interface, as well as its ease of use. How important is a user-friendly CRM system, you ask? According to our own research, it is very important! As part of our sales process in SuperOffice, we invite new prospects to complete a survey before we meet them, in order to set (and exceed) their expectations. One of the questions included in this survey is “What do you consider to be important when choosing a new CRM solution?“. Based on more than 1,000 responses, 86% of prospects cite user-friendliness as their most important factor for choosing a new system! Most important factors in choosing a CRM system Our research also shows that ease of use is the most important factor in CRM adoption, so don’t underestimate a simple, user-friendly interface.
Make sure the system has GDPR features
The last, but definitely not least, is the availability of GDPR functionality in a CRM. With GDPR now in effect, your customers’ data and where it’s stored is more important than ever before. Having a GDPR-ready CRM system helps you manage customer data more efficiently. For example, if your customer wants to be removed from your database, you need to able to honor their request and send a confirmation of deletion. Or, if your customer requests an electronic report of all data you store on them in your CRM, you’ll need to be able to generate that report for each customer individually. A one-click solution will save you time and resources, instead of manually removing the customers’ data from multiple sales, marketing and customer service databases, or painstakingly sifting through various resources and double checking what data you store on them and where – all of which way too often leads to human error. These are just a few examples of the GDPR-related actions that you must to be able to perform in your CRM solution.