PostedOn: 2018-02-01 11:26:57

Although many CRM (Customer Relationship management) software solutions may be considered similar, since they all handle the same areas of business, there is plenty of difference between them. In that same manner, each company looking for a CRM is unique, although they may have a lot in common with others. So, it is critical that you put in the work before you begin an evaluation on what your company needs are and what processes are in place. It will save a lot of time in the long run and in the bigger picture, will lead to a more efficient, effective evaluation. Although each company is unique, there is a similar timeline or steps a company can use to make a final decision. Here are three steps to selecting the right CRM for you.

  • Identify people and work internally to build a needs document and budget.

Before viewing any CRM demos, it is important to decide who should lead the evaluation and be involved in the final decision. This group will take it from start to finish, so pick them wisely. It should generally involve management like the Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, CFO, President, and someone from IT or a person who would be a heavy user, for example.

The group will need to decide on a budget, date for a final decision, and what the needs/wants are, which may also come from others in the company. Writing this list down and making an RFI send to vendors is a fantastic start. Also, do not forget to delegate who is handling what task.

  • Narrow list down to 5 or fewer vendors.

Once done with step one, send out the requirements list to as many CRM providers as you would like. There are CRM built for your industry, general ones that can be easily configured to fit your needs, and include any others you find as well as any recommended. Some vendors may let you know right away they are not a good fit for you, which is great because it will save you time as you do not have to see a demo or have any further communication at that point.

Once you have received all the responses, get together as a group and review each company. Determine which ones seem to be a better fit based on the needs as a higher priority than the wants. It can be easy to get caught up in bells and whistles, but they are not the important. Someone that fits all your needs and some of your wants is better than someone that fits all your wants and some of your needs. Once you have picked out the ones you want to move forward with, have personalized demos with each of them.

  • Bring in select 2 or 3 for second and final demos. Then, make a final decision.

After seeing overview demos from CRM, you should be able to narrow it down to a select two or three that you see as the best fits. In some cases, you may even be able to pick the one, but it never hurts to have another round of demos to be sure and dig deeper. You should be able to get exact costs and any changes you need to make in hardware, software, or processes.

After reviewing costs, fit, people’s gut feelings, and anything else deemed important, you should be able to make a final decision. If team members disagree, it is important to find common ground when discussing so you know your priorities: the needs, not the wants. Also, consider which one not only is the best fit now but also allows you to grow with them. This can help separate companies if it is close.