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How to Drive the Right Customer Management Software

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As companies battle to win new customers and keep current ones, more companies wanting to leverage their sales and marketing strategies, strengthen their workforce, and utilize the best tools available, are making Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software choices.

The problem is: Which choice is right?

80% of a successful CRM implementation depends upon the company evaluating and actually using the chosen system, while 20% depends upon the software itself.

Before searching for CRM solutions, you need to determine you CRM requirements so you can select the best solution. Some basic questions include:

What interaction takes place between customers and salespeople?

What is your lead tracking strategy?

How do you attract new customers and retain existing ones?

How do you manage long sales cycles or projects?

Translating Requirements into Features – Needs

A CRM package is worthless unless it meets most of your needs. Some companies require a central database for sharing customer notes, history and email, while others need to centralize their customer data as well as ramp up their sales and marketing process, lead generation, sales pipeline management and, automate their sales work flow. Selecting the right CRM product requires evaluation.

Start by looking inside your organization for people who have been through the CRM selection process already. Next, talk to a seasoned CRM consulting firm with no ties to CRM solution providers and who has a track record of working with companies in situations like yours.

Taking a Skills Inventory

The CRM solution will fail if the organization does not have skilled staff to operate it. Vendor training addresses the specific skills of operating the software, but your salespeople and CSR staff still need the basic computer skills to understand the concepts being presented.

Involve all stakeholders in the CRM solution vetting process before you sign a contract and accept delivery. This ensures that all staff members are comfortable with moving to a formal CRM system as well as getting them emotionally on-board by creating a sense of ownership in the project.

Determining Your CRM Budget

How much should you spend on a CRM solution? Spend as much as it takes to procure and implement the optimum solution for your company and not one penny more. No CRM solution provider can tell you if their CRM package is worth the price to you. You could buy the most expensive system there is and receive no value in return. I recall selling a system to a small company (5 users) for close to $3000 with software, training and installation etc. The first thing the client did was to execute an email marketing campaign to existing customers who placed over $7,500 worth of orders in the first week. That’s a pretty good ROI from a system that cost less than 3k!

Not too long after that, with proper training and understanding of the system’s capabilities, the CEO of that company was generating reports and tracking information on new leads, follow ups and managing the sales pipeline of his company. Within a month he was able to stop leads from falling through the cracks and customer follow-up increased dramatically. In short the system paid for itself over and over again within the first month.

However, I know of companies that keep investing thousands of dollars on CRM initiatives without any clear objectives and no methodology to test the ROI. In the end, all they have is a giant ‘electronic Rolodex’, which leaves them wondering why they ever got involved in CRM technology in the first place.

If you’re planning on implementing a CRM solution for your organization, follow the tips and suggestions in this article for the best chance of realizing the ROI that you hope to achieve.

Copyright reserved – Syed Ali – CyberQuest Solutions Inc.

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Syed Ali, is the lead CRM Analyst for a
Toronto based company. His company, offers Microsoft CRM
software Solutions www.crmsoftwareprovider.com

Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email:asyed@cqsolutions.com

How to Drive the Right Customer Management Software
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