The question people have asked us as CRM software consultants most often over the past 20 years is: Which CRM system should I choose? A very close second is: Which CRM system is the best? Both questions ultimately boil down into this one: Which CRM system is the best one for us considering our needs and budget? The purpose of this post is to provide you with some free tools and information to help you answer these questions.
Today’s CRM software market is highly mature. Buyers of CRM software are better educated than they were 5 or 10 years ago, and there are many products they can choose from that will meet their basic requirements. In fact, some analysts suggest that there are more than 300 commercial software products categorized as “customer relationship management” software products.
But no two applications are the same. CRM products do not offer the same capabilities, they all use different pricing models, and they all offer varying degrees of ease of use.
This creates a maze of choices, options, and capabilities that is often very confusing to buyers who do not evaluate and implement CRM software on a daily basis. For some buyers, this may be their first time selecting and implementing a CRM software package. For others, it is an exercise they undertake only once every few years as they consider upgrading their CRM capabilities.
Because of these factors, the vast majority of CRM buyers are at a serious disadvantage. In the CRM evaluation and selection process, they are normally dealing with professional salespeople who live, work, and breathe “CRM software” every day. These salespeople typically have their own goals and purse their own agendas, not those of the buyer.
But there are ways to level the playing field.
One way is to hire a CRM expert to represent your interests. When you pay for this type of service, the CRM service provider is being paid to remain neutral. If you are dealing with an ethical individual or organization, they will disclose any partnership or financial relationship they have with any vendor or service provider they recommend or refer. You can expect to pay $1,500 per day or more for this type of expertise, and depending on the complexity of the process, the total cost can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Another approach is to leverage the information published by respected industry analysts. Analysts like Gartner Group, Forrester Research, IDC, Nucleus Research, and others sell their research reports. You can expect to pay $1,500 or more per report. You can also hire these research groups to perform private studies, but they are not inexpensive. Normally only large enterprise organizations are willing to fund these types of private studies due to the cost.
But a great way to get started in your CRM selection process is to leverage the free information offered by CRM software vendors and CRM software consultants. Just because the information is free does not mean that it is not valuable or unduly slanted. This is especially true concerning the information published by reputable CRM services providers like CRM Evangelist.
Because the primary source of revenue for CRM service providers is delivering services related to CRM products, they often provide services for more than one CRM product. More often than not, CRM service providers — value-added resellers or “VARs” as they are called — focus on selling and delivering CRM solutions that meet the buyer’s requirements and budgets instead of pushing one CRM software product or another. They are often very familiar with the mainstream products, and they may have experience implementing these products for organizations similar to your own. As an added benefit, they are able to leverage past experiences in a variety of organizations in various industries and use it for your benefit.
CRM Evangelist is a CRM services provider featuring a highly-skilled team of CRM experts who are all veterans of the CRM industry. Many of our CRM consulting experts began working with sales automation, marketing automation, and customer service software products before the term CRM was first coined. Our expert CRM consultants have worked with all of the big names in the CRM industry, past and present. In addition, many of our CRM consultants have worked with CRM software products that you may not even recognize the product names. Over the last 25 to 30 years, our CRM consulting gurus have helped hundreds of organizations across multiple industries complete thousands of CRM projects. We can help you make your CRM project successful too.
CRM Evangelist offers a variety of information and services designed to help organizations select the “right” CRM software product that best fits their requirements and budget. Our primary goal is to help you make your CRM initiative wildly successful. We offer the basic form of our unique CRM Perfect Fit service free of charge. We also offer a premium CRM selection service as a paid consulting engagement. Regardless whether you choose the free or fee-based option, organizations obtain real value from our CRM Perfect Fit service.
If you are in the CRM software selection process and are not sure if you are ready to leverage our CRM Perfect Fit service, then perhaps you will find this How to Select the Right CRM System tip sheet helpful. It describes a few CRM selection best practices and provides an overview of the methodology we use to help organizations make the best CRM software selection decision. It is our gift to you without cost or obligation. You don’t even have to fill out a form. Just click to download the How to Select the Right CRM System PDF.
Then, when you are ready, take a few minutes to learn more about our CRM Perfect Fit service and the other CRM software selection resources we offer to help you choose the CRM software that is right for you.
Of course, feel free to contact us at any point. We would be glad to answer your questions and let you pick the brains of our CRM experts. After all, our #1 goal is to help you be wildly successful with your CRM initiative.