Susannah Richardson highlights 6 key requirements to look out for when choosing a Customer Relationship Management system.
1. A user-friendly interface
CRM systems often have multiple tabs, menus and dashboards, which often results in a high level of complexity and wasted time trying to reach the right information.
When choosing a CRM, make sure the interface is intuitive and user friendly and can adapt to suit different departmental processes and business workflow.
2. Integration with all back-office systems
If the CRM is to be used as a customer-centric tool across the entire business, integration will be necessary with existing back-office systems such as accounts, dispatch and ERP.
While many businesses boast integration expertise, this often comes with additional third-party costs that prolong the project deployment by weeks, if not months, and incur extra cost.
Ensure the CRM solution you select can integrate with existing systems easily and doesn’t include outsourcing or extra consultancy as part of the implementation.
3. Customised reports can build a more holistic view of the business
The CRM is the central hub for all customer data and is a key system for reporting on the sales, marketing and customer service departments.
Ensure the CRM solution can provide customised reports and can pull data from across the organisation to build a more holistic view rather than departmental data analysis.
4. Flexibility can help you tailor your CRM to your requirements
Due to inflexible off-the-shelf CRM systems, many businesses are forced to alter their business processes to fit around their CRM functionality – causing unnecessary complexity and resulting in a lack of efficiency.
Make sure the CRM you choose is flexible so the system can be tailored around your specific business processes and can be customised to work the way you want it to – without incurring third-party customisation costs.
5. The cloud enables automatic software updates
As with any enterprise initiative, CRM still requires a compelling business case in order to get the nod, especially in the midst of a difficult economic climate.
With a cloud-based solution, organisations are able to choose flexible pricing structures by paying for the number of user licences needed.
They can also automatically receive software updates when available, rather than having to pay additional costs or wait until contract renewal.
6. Turn features on and off as you need them
Today CRM systems can boast a plethora of functionality and tools. However, many businesses only need a small percentage of the functionality but are forced to pay for the full package.
Procuring a CRM that can scale with your business – by turning features on and off depending on the changing business processes – can mean that you are only paying for the licences and functionality that you need, when you need it.
With thanks to Susannah Richardson at mplsystems