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How do you select the right CRM system for your company?

It is not easy to select a CRM system nowadays.

The jungle of different CRM-solutions has grown very thick and the competition between vendors on who has the best solution has hardened. Most companies looking for a new CRM system start out by searching the web! Then you meet with the vendors you think have the right solution for you. All of the vendors have, of course, nice glossy PowerPoint's with lots of fancy USP’s  to blow your mind! Eventually you will get an offer from all the vendors which will almost look the same…

That brings me to the question; How do you know that you are selecting the right CRM solution and not just buying into the sales pitch?

One way to solve this is to ask for a workshop to identify the needs for the solution. Focus should be on what will be covered out of the box and what kind of customizing you will need. In SuperOffice we call this workshop a pre-solution evaluation workshop, and in short the purpose of this workshop is to:

  • Understand the overall requirements/wishes for the solution
  • Outline relevant areas of the implementation project; integrations, imports, reports etc.
  • Obtain vital input on the infrastructure and use of the future solution
  • Gain an understanding of the requirements specification

There are two ways to execute this workshop and both approaches uses the brown-paper method. The method is not documented, but probably originated in the computer industry for development of software. Many of the big consultancy companies has adopted this method, and it’s simply to add brown paper to the wall and use Post-its notes to visualize the outcome.

Option 1: Requirements specification

If you have a requirements specification we stick it at the top of the brown-paper and divide the lower section of the paper up into the following main areas:

  • CRM configuration
  • Import
  • Integration
  • Script (automation)
  • Synchronization
  • Reports
  • Infrastructure
  • Risk elements

CRM requirements specification

We start on page 1 of the requirements specification and review it item by item. Items that are catered for in the standard version of CRM are marked with ”OK” directly in the requirements specification. The benefit is that all of these items are eliminated from the discussion.

When you come across a requirement that can be fulfilled by configuration, for example, mark this item with a small, colored Post-it flag numbered 1. Then stick the same flag (same color and number) below the heading “CRM configuration”, and, where necessary, write an explanation on a Post-it note.

By going through the requirements specification point for point in this way, you achieve a good overview of what activities will be required further in the project.

Option 2: Review of selected CRM solution

If you don’t have a requirements specification, it’s better to go through the CRM applications work surfaces one at a time. By doing this you will see where you need customization beyond the standard product. The same grouping and procedure is used as described in option 1, except that the review is based not on the requirements specification but on the CRM application itself.

Review of selected CRM solution

The outcome of the workshop needs of course to be documented! The pre-solution evaluation document provides a foundation for all subsequent work on the project and is the springboard for determining further activities.

By using this approach for choosing your solution,  you will have the luxury of being certain that the chosen CRM solution will cover your needs. The results can be used regardless of what solution you end up choosing! The consultancy department in SuperOffice has done this with great success for several customers :-)

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