Choosing the best CRM from the sea of CRM vendors is one of the most important decisions a business can make. Organization and management of customer data are crucial to any business’s growth; hence it is important to consider the right criteria when selecting CRM vendors.
How Do I Choose CRM Vendors?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is difficult enough to purchase as it is, with a vast variety of CRM vendors and packages available in the marketplace all offering different things. Throw selecting CRM vendors into the mix, and you have what is seemingly an impossible task. It doesn’t need to be that difficult, though. Following a few easy steps through the use of a CRM vendors checklist can turn your CRM vendors selection from impossible to very smooth.
You will need to build your checklist for CRM vendors with key points that will help you narrow the selection process down to a winner. By assessing each CRM vendor against each point, you can assign a grade to the point. Grade out all CRM vendors completely, and the one with the best grade should fit your company’s needs.
CRM Vendors Comparison Checklist
Identify the Features and Functionalities You Need
Businesses usually spend about 5 months on average selecting CRM vendors. While CRM vendors can have aggressive salespersons pitching their products to your company, it is important that you have a clear idea of what your business is expecting out of a CRM system.
It is important to consider the opinions of all staff members and potential users before selecting hosted CRM vendors. This includes executives and staff, and you can even source input from your customers to deem what features each party is looking for. Consult with each party about their main objectives for CRM vendors and their products and narrow down the list of CRM vendors to the companies that offer solutions to your queries.
What niche do the CRM vendors fit into? If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you don’t want to be looking at enterprise-class software, or vice versa. Whittle the vendors down to the niche in which your company exists.
The importance of references for CRM vendors cannot be overstated. Get a list of references from the vendor and talk to them. They’ll give you a good idea as to what you can expect from the vendor.
User Experience (UX)
User experience for CRM is a crucial factor to consider before selecting CRM vendors. If your employees don’t like to use the CRM system, you will not experience the benefits of using a CRM system in your business.
User-friendly systems by CRM vendors that have prioritized user experience can ensure that your staff is more likely to use the CRM system. Most popular CRM vendors allow a 30-day try-on period to let employees play around with the product and test the user-friendly aspect of the system.
If your employees are not drawn to using the CRM system, it might be time to consider other CRM vendors from your selection list.
One of the best and most convenient aspects of using a CRM system is the ability to integrate it with other business solutions to streamline the recording of customer information. Ensure that your chosen CRM vendors allow for integrations with contact centers or marketing automation tools to assure better usability of your CRM system.
Being able to access all third-party solutions through a single dashboard using your CRM system can be one of the best benefits of using a CRM system. Hence, it is important to consider if CRM vendors offer product integration solutions.
Price of CRM
Some CRM vendors tend to be sneaky and offer complicated pricing structures or subscription plans that may not be viable for every business. Hence, it is important to make sure the CRM vendors you are considering are ones that you can afford.
Hidden costs of CRM systems can come in the form of:
Pricing Tiers: offers scalable options for CRM subscriptions for companies to upgrade as needed. Make sure you sign up for CRM vendors with pricing structures in line with your company’s budget.
Data Caps: some CRM vendors put unreasonable data caps to try to get businesses to spend more money on data allocation upgrades. Ensure that your chosen CRM vendors don’t put unnecessary restrictions on handling customer data.
Data Migration: if your business is already using a CRM system, it would be useful to migrate data from the older system to the new CRM vendors system. The right CRM vendors can help your business come up with a data migration strategy.
Will the vendor do any tweaking or customization of the package for you? If so, is there an additional cost? It is important that CRM vendors can customize their CRM products to fit your needs. It is also important to have a CRM system that is different from your competition. CRM vendors that offer customization options should be prioritized in your list of options. CRM vendors with mobile apps can incorporate these customizations into the apps as well to improve the user experience and increase the usage of the CRM system.
Below are Some Other Key Considerations for Selecting CRM Vendors
- Installation. Is installation included in the price of the package? Ask if you’re not sure.
- Service/Warranty/Maintenance. Be sure to understand what you’re getting and how much it costs. Finding out when an issue exists isn’t the way to do it.
- Training. Does the vendor offer training, or are you on your own? If training is offered, is it included or is it an extra cost?
- Company stability and market share. Don’t go with a brand-new company. Don’t go with a vendor who is on the ropes. Go with a leading CRM vendor that has been in business for a few years and is on solid footing.
- Intangibles. Is the company working to earn your business? They’ll most likely continue working afterward to keep it.
Add your own criteria to the list as well. Be as specific as you want; it’s worth it. The better your CRM vendors list, the better the choice you’ll make in the end.