The reason companies purchase CRM software is to see improvements in their customer relations, increase their sales, and to achieve a return on their investment. Those goals sounds simple enough, but choosing the right CRM, that will give you the results and ROI you want—well that's tough.
The standard way of evaluating ROI is by appraising each vendors' solution's ROI individually, however we're going to look at it in reverse. By choosing the specific ROI results you want then examining which features will get you there, you can choose your system, in reverse. When reverse-selecting you vendor you save yourself hours time spent in vendor evaluations.
The biggest factor in achieving solid ROI is increasing your revenue. This can be done by enhancing overall productivity (through increased lead reporting and a higher lead closure rate), improved customer retention (via better customer management), and by increased cross-selling.
Revenue growth features to look for in a CRM to:
Enhanced productivity features are tools that help you replace manual tasks with automated ones, this includes sales force automation (SFA), user dashboards, lead generation, tracking and reporting tools, and lead follow-up tools.
Customer retention is increased via contact management, client support tickets, call logs, exporting client history, statistics and project management tools.
Cross-selling is achieved through features like quote creation, client detail notation, client types, and project management (you can sell more items if your carefully manage their projects). Cross-selling rules can be set via Data Mining and BAPIs.
The other way of achieving ROI is by minimizing your costs. A CRM solution can help you to minimize your costs by maximizing work flow, increasing efficiency in operations, reduced client acquisition costs (created through proper lead and sales tactic use), decreased costs for telecommunication, reduction in order entry staff, and decrease in fines associated with invoice inaccuracies.
Cost reduction features to look for:
Maximizing work-flow and increasing operational efficiencies are accomplished via support tickets and call logs that reduce employee work overlap, user dashboards, project asks/to-do lists that keep employees focused and organized, and sales statistics to ensure employee performance.
Reduced client acquisition costs are accomplished through sales, statistics, lead generation, and lead follow up tools.
Decreased fines associated with invoice inaccuracies are fixed by tracking customer contacts with call logs, quote and invoice tracking and integration tools, and customer history searching features.
In order to see ROI from your CRM purchase and implementation you need to purchase a solution that is aimed at the particular types of ROI that you want to see. By searching in reverse for the features that will bring you the ROI that is right for your company, you can avoid being swept in by vendor promises of return on investment on their solution.