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Finding the Right Fit - Getting Started with a CRM

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So, you've decided that it's time.  You see a CRM in your future, but how far? I am hoping to make the process a little easier with this series of posts about getting started with customer relationship software and have you quickly on your way to CRM success!  Below is a simple list of things to consider when finding the right package for your business.

1. Company Size - Determine how many users you will need to have access to your new CRM.  Also, be sure to consider how much data will be stored.  Don't just think about your business in today's terms, but the future also.  Hopefully, your business is continually growing.  You don't want to adopt a package only to quickly find out, you've outgrown it.

2. Company Goals - Why did you consider a CRM in the first place?  Are you looking for a central database for customer information?  Did you wish to streamline marketing activities?  Maybe your focus is on sales and you want to be able to manage your entire sales team and related activities in one place.  Take a bit to think about all of the reasons that a CRM can benefit your company. Set goals for what you want to accomplish with a CRM. 

3. Deployment Options - We will talk more about this topic later in the series, but a few things to consider are: What type of company are you?  Is it important for you to have complete control over storage and data protection?  Do you have the resources to maintain this type of deployment?  If you have limited IT resources or cost can be an issue, maybe on-demand or cloud deployment.

4. Mobility - Do you have a sales team needing mobile access?  Many of today's CRM options are internet based, so laptops are not a problem. But if tablets and smart phones are the primary mobile source, be sure the system you choose can support that.

5. Ease of use - Will the CRM you choose be time intensive to learn? Be sure that not only your IT staff can use the system, but the less tech savvy as well.  There are some CRM options that have a friendlier user interface than others.  Don't necessarily forgo functionality for ease, but consider that it will be much easier to get buy-in from staff if it isn't rocket science to figure out.  Also, if you do not have the financial resources for in-person training, make sure the CRM you choose has plenty of online resources available.

6. Ease of maintenance - Make sure that you research out-of-the box capabilities and match those to your specific needs. Do you have the IT resources to manage and maintain your CRM in-house?  Will you be able to handle any necessary configurations and customizations?

Of course, every business is different and you may end up with a longer list than this.  I just want you to have a place to start.  That's the hardest part, right?

A 1998 graduate of VCU's School of the Arts, Amy Gray began her career at The Martin Agency as a broadcast buyer. She handled negotiation, purchase and monitoring of advertising space on behalf of such clients as Alltel and Nick at Nite. After starting a family, Amy decided to stay home with her young children and take a break from full-time work. Six years ago she returned to the world of business as Marketing Manager for Allegro. Amy is responsible for web marketing, social media marketing strategy, email campaigns and public relations. Amy is certified as a Pre-Sales Engineer and Sales Executive for SugarCRM.

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Guest Friday, 17 November 2017