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5 Ways To Choose The Right CRM Solutions

by Simon Spyer on Jun 14, 2017 2:04:50 PM

A Practical Approach To Selecting The Right CRM

5 Ways To Choose The Right CRM Solutions
 
Marketing technology has boomed in recent years. As Scott Brinker’s supergraphic illustrates, the growth of technology tools available to marketers is phenomenal and there are 131 separate CRM solutions in 2017. 
 
And it’s going to continue to grow with advances in platforms, blockchain, chatbots and AI amongst others. If you’re in marketing you can’t afford to ignore the opportunities and threats that technology brings. 
 
But it can be daunting  - not only identifying the right opportunities but also to make sure implementation delivers real, meaningful benefits. 
 
In this post we outline 5 tips that we believe will help you have greater success in implementing CRM solutions – for your customers and your bottom line. 

CRM Strategy First

Don’t be seduced by a CRM solution without a clear understanding of how it supports your business, marketing and customer strategies. 
 
The technology tail mustn’t wag the marketing dog.
 
So, before embarking on any new technology solution make sure you’ve got your business model clear and understand your CRM strategy. Then you can evaluate different technology solutions and prioritise those that will give you the best fit of benefits to your strategic goals.  

Deliver Quick Wins

Keep things simple and start with a CRM application that gives you quick wins. This could be as simple as a email engine (Mailchimp etc) that allows you to communicate with customers and forces you to think about your contact strategy and what you will communicate, when and how.
 
By proving the case for technology you will gain more respect from key stakeholders – like Finance and IT. 
 
This is vital for long term success and more investment. Start small and scale or iterate as you discover what works best.

Start with the end

Getting your requirements clear, understood and agreed by both Marketing and IT is obvious, right? 
 
But with technology solutions this is where most projects go wrong. 
 
Let’s face it, when someone is asked what their requirements are, they will usually ask for everything they can think of. 
 
No-one wants to forget anything, or get a CRM system that after a lot of time, effort and money has been spent, doesn’t do what they expected.
 
So, start with how you want to use the solution. Build requirements as “use cases” that clearly explain in simple language:
  • Who is going to use it?
  • What do they want to do?
  • So that they can do what?
  • And then make sure you prioritise these requirements.

Make the most of what you’ve got

Everyone loves a shiny new car or gadget. 
 
But, with CRM solutions, before you invest you need to consider whether you can get more from your existing systems.
 
Your prioritised requirements will help you understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Now it’s time to take a step back and assess what you have and if existing solutions in your organisation can deliver what you need.
Think about the level of change
There are two delivery areas you need to consider.
 
Implementing the new technology
 
Implementing a new technology solution will involve a team of people in your organisation. 
 
Consider the resource implications, the skills you need to make it work and how much external support you need or can afford. 
 
Strong project management is needed to ensure the delivery stays on track to plans and meets the requirements.
Living with it once it’s deployed
Then, before embarking on the change, think through the implications once the new system is in place.  
 
What will it mean in terms of People (the skills you need, changes to current roles, capacity, etc) and Processes (what needs to be done differently)?
 
Think through these things so that your cost:benefit case and rationale are all thought through.
 

In Summary

Choosing the right CRM solutions can be daunting  - not only identifying the right opportunities but also to make sure implementation delivers real, meaningful benefits. 

You can’t know everything.

There’s so much technology out there the trick is to know what you want to achieve and how and then using this as the basis for making an informed decision.

6 Ways To Make Your CRM Technology Work For You

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This post was written by Simon Spyer

Co-founder & Insight Partner at Conduit, professional insight-monger, dad, lover of all sport and Spurs.

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