Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are touted as among the most important business systems in use in today’s competitive markets. These systems can enable companies to better track and serve their customers while improving efficiency and communication on their operational side. To their detriment, many businesses have discovered that all CRM solutions are not alike, and that these are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Finding the best CRM to fit your business’ needs and one that will integrate into your other operations is a critical first step in the process.
Defining the Role of CRM in Your Business
At its base, a CRM solution can be an intelligence gathering tool that will help you understand your customers’ expectations and needs more fully through gathering data. Used to its fullest capacity, a CRM concept can help your business function more effectively through increased and integrated communication and can automate time consuming processes. The distinction between these two roles is often made by defining the realistic expectations that your business has for a CRM solution and clearly understanding the pieces involved in maintaining and operating it on an ongoing basis.
Defining Scope in a CRM Solution:
- Should your CRM solution be primarily a customer information gathering tool?
- Does your CRM solution need to be a comprehensive communication tool?
- What other systems will need to integrate with a new CRM system in order for it to be effectively used?
- How scalable and versatile should your CRM system be?
- Does a hosted CRM solution make more sense for your business?
CRM Solution Pricing
There are a wealth of options available in CRM solutions depending on the specific needs that your business may have. Depending on the modules that you opt to include and employ with a CRM solution, these systems may run anywhere from a modest per-month or per-user fee to a significant software licensing or hosted service fee. Because there are such a wide variety of components, capabilities, and service packages available with CRM solutions, there is also a broad range of pricing depending on the specifics of each system and on the particular vendor. Once you realistically define the system capabilities that you are looking for in your CRM solution, you should have a fair idea of the price range that you are dealing with.
Finding the Best Fit for Your Business
Finding the best fit for your business when it comes to a comprehensive CRM solution is largely dependent on the specifics of your existing operations, internal processes, and systems. Successful integration with your daily operations and/or a shift in training and usage will allow your employees to effectively use your CRM to its best advantage and should help to better utilize the information that you are already gathering in a more effective and productive manner.
Properly defining your business’ needs, in addition to setting realistic performance and budget expectations will allow you to find the CRM solution that is right for your business.