With the throngs of the best hosted CRM companies all boasting about their services—how do you go about choosing the one that is right for you? Modern CRM systems provide many tools that are tailored to supporting customer data consolidation, but they can also be used to support sales efforts and increase lead conversions as well as automating marketing efforts.
CRM comparisons can give you good insight into the CRM solutions available on the market and how they compare to one another in terms of important factors such as features, pricing, and support.
Likewise, CRM reviews can help you hone your decision further by seeing how companies like yours have successfully (or unsuccessfully) used various CRM products.
The answer is simpler than you think. You need to break the herculean-like task into simple steps:
- Decide on your CRM goals.
- Choose the features that are important to you.
- Create a budget based on total cost of ownership.
- Survey your options.
- Do a needs-based analysis.
Decide on Your CRM Goals
Before you begin checking out the various hosted CRM vendors, you need to decide what you want the end result of your CRM strategy to be. You need to determine what your current customer relation strategy is, then decide where you want it to be, and then analyze the gap to get the actionable items that will be corrected via the CRM solution.
This action-item list will show you your CRM needs, and essentially gives the list of the features that you need, which will help you move on to the next step of choosing the features for your needs.
Choose the CRM Features that are Important to You
A hosted CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, system is a software solution that is hosted on a remote server and accessed through the internet, rather than being installed locally on a company's own computer system. This type of CRM offers a number of features and benefits for businesses of all sizes and comparing hosted CRM to hybrid CRM can be beneficial to choosing the best system.
One of the main benefits of a hosted CRM is the ability to access the system from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that employees can easily access and update customer information, track sales and marketing campaign efforts, and collaborate with colleagues, even when they are out of the office.
Another key feature of a hosted CRM is the ability to track and manage customer interactions and data. This includes tracking customer interactions through various channels such as phone calls, emails, and social media, as well as storing customer data such as contact information, purchase history, and preferences. This allows businesses to get a more complete view of their customers and tailor their interactions accordingly, particularly with social CRM.
A hosted CRM also offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing businesses to track key performance indicators, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. This can help businesses optimize their sales and marketing efforts, improve customer retention, and increase overall profitability.
In addition, a hosted CRM typically includes features such as CRM project management tools, task tracking, and document management, which can help businesses streamline their operations and increase productivity.
Overall, a hosted CRM offers a range of features and benefits that can help businesses better manage their customer relationships and optimize their operations. By providing a central hub for customer data, communication, and collaboration, a hosted CRM can help businesses achieve greater efficiency and success.
Sales force automation is usually the most important feature that businesses are looking for as SFA encompasses lead and contact management, opportunity management, etc., but consider the other features that are available and the benefits that can be derived from them.
Other important features are analytical tools like reporting, forecasting, data management, pre-built reports and role-based CRM analytics. Another set of features to be considered are service and support features like email response management, chat, agent productivity tools, etc.
Create a CRM Budget
Creating a budget for a hosted CRM solution is simple as you do not need to account for on-site costs like equipment and personnel and it can boost CRM ROI. What you do need to figure out is the budget you have available for implementation and on-going services. Be sure to add into the mix your scalability requirements as your workforce changes in the years to come.
Depending on the CRM solution you purchase, the costs generally range from $50 to $500 per person.
Survey Your Options with CRM Comparisons and Reviews
Our CRM comparison tools can help you sift between the various leading CRM vendors featured on our site along with a helpful matrix of some of the top solutions in the industry.
Do a Needs-Based CRM Analysis
Now that you know what features you are looking for, what your budget is, and where to compare the different solutions, all that is left to do is to analyze which of the vendors from your research has the exact qualities that you are looking for, at the budget you have allotted.