CRM tool bake-off or a recipe for success?

Because of the ever growing desire to increase  sales through better customer relationships and data-driven insights, we are often asked by clients and prospects, what are the best CRM systems currently available on the market? 

And although we can provide a long list of excellent CRM tools, backed by evidence and first-hand experience, we often end up answering: “Well, it depends…”. 

In considering a CRM solution that will become an essential part of your business operations, helping to streamline your sales and communications processes and meet KPIs, you first need to understand that it is not just about the software.

Too often we see companies leaping into software selection with the right intentions but not enough of the right preparation to ensure that they base their decision on their specific needs, rather than flashy vendor presentations. So with that in mind, we have put together this quick and healthy recipe for small teams to use when they are considering software investments in general, or CRM solutions in particular.

Please note that larger teams will require more prep and cooking time but basic ingredients and methods remain the same!

INGREDIENTS

  • SMART Objectives
  • Clearly defined requirements 
  • Clean data
  • Feasible project plan
  • Right CRM tools 
  • Training

METHOD

Create your SMART Objectives

What goals do you need your CRM tool to help you achieve? Define clear and easy to understand sales objectives adopting the very popular SMART acronym, it stands for:

Mix with clear requirements

Before engaging with software vendors you need to be clear on your requirements, so that you can communicate your most important needs and business processes. Aligning requirements with your SMART business objectives and prioritising them will not only allow vendors to provide the best possible solution to your needs but it will also enable you to evaluate and score the proposed solutions or product features. Knowledge is power! It will certainly help you select the right tools for the job.

Sift in clean data

Put effort and specialist resources into the pursuit of data efficiencies, accuracy and defined data processes. Cleansing inaccurate and inconsistent data, mapping data to process workflows and developing data specifications will pay dividends and lead to better software investments. We recommend developing data dictionary documents early in the requirement gathering phase that are then we evolved and added to throughout the project.

Add a good pinch of feasibility

No matter which project methodology you use, to obtain a high degree of confidence that the project can deliver successfully, you need to work closely with the vendor to identify and clarify the following:

Combine with expert help if needed

If you have followed the recipe so far, you will now have a set of requirements and SMART objectives to help you to assess the many software options available on the market. But if you still have doubts about selecting the best-fit software, or if you want to minimise business disruption and reduce the risks of selecting the wrong solution, you can engage a CRM consultant like Conduit to support your business with requirement gathering, business case development, RFP documentation, bid process management and implementation management.

Garnish with some training

Appropriate budget and time should be allocated to training as part of any IT project, but for CRM systems this is a must. Without guidance, inexperienced and untrained end-users can inadvertently make mistakes plus develop undesirable processes and shortcuts that will have a devastating effects on your data and operations, considerably reducing the return on your investment.

In conclusion

Let’s face it, finding the best CRM software platform currently available on the market, with hundreds of options out there, is a daunting task for any business.

To narrow down the choices and make it easier to select one, you will need to clearly define your business goals and focus on the most important user needs and issues you want your CRM solution to resolve, making sure they are front of mind when evaluating the different vendors and tools. If you haven’t done so already, develop a scoring matrix to help you compare apples with apples and keep personal preferences out of the equation throughout the evaluation process.

For more about how we can help you to choose the best CRM for your business, or for a CRM software consultation, just drop us an email to hello@crmconduit.co.uk or book a call with us to discuss your situation. We would be happy to help!

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