Your business interacts with people on many levels, and each interaction generates information about the customer or prospect; a customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to capture that information to improve customer satisfaction and make new sales.
In theory, CRM is a simple concept: it organizes and analyzes the information you need to build stronger, more profitable customer relationships; in reality, it’s harder than it sounds. Without understanding where your business is, you’ll be hard-pressed to get your business where you want it – even with a powerful CRM system.
Here are six questions to ask about your business before implementing a new CRM; the answers will help you decide if you’re ready to pull the trigger or if you need additional guidance.
Recommendation: Download our CRM Buyer's Guide containing Insight to help savvy buyers make a well-informed CRM buying decision.
#1 What are my company’s operational requirements?
A good CRM solution should satisfy most of your operational requirements, so identifying them will point you in the right direction. Look at documented processes and search for undocumented processes that occur regularly in all departments, noting customer or prospect touch-points. Determine if there are gaps in those processes and who from your team would need access to the CRM chain.
#2 Where are my employees working and when will they need access to customer information?
Many companies support a dynamic, mobile workforce; if traveling salespeople or remote employees are part of your business plan, you’ll need a CRM system that allows them to access data when and where they are – without compromising sensitive business information.
#3 How are we protecting sensitive customer and organizational data?
Security is a big issue, and a CRM system should offer control over sensitive customer and organizational data and processes. CRM options include on-premise and cloud solutions, so consider security for each method of data management.
#4 How likely are my employees/coworkers to adopt a new system?
Historically twenty-two percent of companies that implemented a CRM system described it as a disappointment; experts believe a lack of user adoption was the main culprit. Getting executive buy-in, considering all possible users, setting up effective training, choosing a “Champion of Change,” and using an expert CRM consultant are ways to increase user adoption – and your chances for success.
#5 How much IT support will I need?
It depends on how strong your IT team is; unexpected challenges can strain your IT staff, push your budget, and interfere with other projects. If your company isn’t ready to handle technology challenges, choose a CRM vendor that offers ongoing tech support.
#6 How do I know which CRM system is right for me?
There are many factors to consider when selecting a CRM. Start by asking the questions above and talking to your peers, then find a CRM partner who understands the direction you want to take your business and can provide continuous improvement. CRM is a journey, not a destination. Implementing a CRM will net you more than improved sales and marketing productivity, increased effectiveness, and better customer service, too – the average ROI from CRM is $8.71 for every dollar you invested.
Could you answer these six questions? Click here to download our eBook, How to Successfully Select and Implement a CRM, for more insight.