Before You Implement CRM

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Today, effective Customer Relationship Management enables successful businesses to automate and streamline their marketing efforts. Yet actually selecting the correct tools to accomplish this objective challenges many business leaders. Even experienced sales experts often find the wealth of technical information about this field daunting.

Adhering to some basic principles helps make the task of choosing the best CRM vendor for your business enterprise much easier.

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Review Your Organizational Mission Statement

With an increasing number of business sectors utilizing powerful computer technology, specialized programs now serve companies in an expanding number of fields. Once the province of specifically “sales” department, powerful CRM programs today serve people in fields as diverse as the insurance industry, real estate, academia, government service, philanthropy and more.

The specific demands of individual organizations dictate the type of customer relationship management most helpful to a particular entity. By carefully reviewing the primary mission statement, an executive responsible for selecting the most effective CRM programs often obtains useful guidance that helps avoid mistakes. A software program designed to facilitate “cold calling” may not serve the objectives of a primarily consultative sales-oriented department or an academic institution, for instance.

Survey Impacted Employees

One frequently helpful preliminary tool involves conducting a survey of departments and staff members to ascertain the types of CRM features employees believe would most enhance their productivity. Effective Systems Analysis draws upon very specific information about the organization and its daily procedures. Often low-level members of organizations offer helpful insights to management about the types of IT features that might enable their work to proceed more smoothly.

For example, automating certain routine administrative tasks may free employees to devote more attention to mission-enhancing goals. An illustration might involve a real estate office in which salespeople spend extensive periods of time showing properties to the public. Adopting a system to help buyers pre-qualify first might ensure that more transactions actually close.

Conduct a Careful IT Systems Business Analysis

Taking the time to conduct a thorough business systems analysis helps jump start the move towards fully integrated CRM automation. This preliminary step prevents a company from investing significantly in software development, only to discover later that the effort failed to take essential mission functions into account. Even worse, adopting certain IT platforms sometimes creates compatibility issues with other programs. All the programs used by the firm should operate seamlessly for really effective software integration.

Discussing your objectives with a trained IT professional or other systems analyst may enable a company to determine rapidly which CRM software will best serve the organization’s needs. This type of consultation may save time and money for an enterprise as it explores long term CRM and automation solutions. Often asking a vendor to help tailor its existing programs proves more cost-effective than writing entirely new ones, for example. Some vendors will supply business systems analysis consulting to assist clients in transitioning to CRM automation.

Why Systems Analysis Needs to Precede Software Specification Writing

Sometimes organizations which utilize database technology extensively encounter problems by failing to perform a comprehensive systems analysis before adopting particular software programs. Discovering mid-way through the process of implementing CRM programs to streamline operations that an important database does not integrate well into a new system can prove exceedingly costly.

Although cloud-based technology has alleviated many of these concerns, not all cloud-based solutions serve every sector in every situation. Since developing upgraded versions of software programs often depends upon effectively integrated platforms, it remains much better to catch potential conflicts or inconsistencies at an early stage- especially when an organization uses specialized databases extensively. Additionally, performing comprehensive systems analysis first offers a roadmap for anticipated technology upgrades.

Developing a Vendor Short-List

Systems analysis assists many companies in drawing up a list of potential IT CRM solutions. Vendors may suggest solutions for meeting automation needs more cost-effectively.

For instance, some CRM vendors tailor existing products to help assist organizations in reaching highly specific industry-focused targets or goals. They may possess familiarity with the functioning of their firm’s software in other contexts or sectors, and draw upon this experience to devise very cost-effective automation solutions. Instead of re-designing the wheel, expanding the number of spokes could save an organization a lot of time and expense.

Implement CRM With Confidence

By carefully researching the organization’s available options first, executives can implement CRM and automation solutions with greater confidence. One very preliminary, yet essential, step typically involves requesting a related requirements template to help assess a particular program’s platform specifications. A report on the types of CRM solutions within particular industries or business sectors also proves very helpful to most IT departments.

Get our CRM Software Comparison Matrix.

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