13 things you need to know when looking for a new CRM

CRM technology in the 21st Century is there to power your entire organisation, not just your sales team, so it’s critical that you’re aware of the 13 things that you need to know when looking for a new CRM.

Fundamentally, you need to select a CRM platform will fit your organisation – not the other way around.

That’s easy if you’ve got a large budget, but when it comes to finding a CRM platform that fits mid-market organisations, price and scope can become a huge hurdle. It’s a long-term investment that needs its own strategy, and the cost of getting it wrong could be nothing less than cataclysmic for an organisation, so what should you know before you start trying to find a CRM?

What to look for in a new CRM:

1. Your business plan and priorities

it might sound trite, but having a plan for your CRM is critical and without knowing what’s top priority for your organisation could send you down the wrong path or prioritise features that don’t necessarily lend itself to it immediately

2. Your CRM strategy and roadmap

knowing who’s using it, what you want to achieve, how you’re going to get there and what you can use to measure success should be the first step in any CRM project. This needs to fish-tail and support with other related strategies or even overarching initiatives, such as those to become more customer-focussed. Through uniting your organisation’s needs, with that of your CRM users and your customers, you’ll be able to craft a CRM strategy and roadmap that leads to improvements long into the future.

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3. Who is going to be using it

each department and/or team are going to have their own data, process, and functionality needs. Modern platforms cover many aspects of certain speciality technologies or enable you to do things in quicker, simpler ways. Get a good understanding of the role of each potential CRM users and be ready to evaluate platforms abilities to fulfil them.

4. Who is going to lead

It’s critically important for every CRM project, whether it’s an improvement one or the roll-out of a new system, that someone is elected the champion internally. They don’t necessarily need to be technical, but certainly have to be strategic and take a holistic approach to espousing benefits, coordinating action and keeping stakeholders and senior management up-to-date with how it’s performing and who can push through the change management exercises that’s could be needed.

5. How capable you are

Every organisation will have inside of it a range of skills and abilities. Depending on your technical, customer orientation, operations, marketing or any other abilities, you’re going to need support somewhere. Go into the project with a clear view of what you’ll be able to handle internally and where you’ll need to lean on a deployment partner for guidance and support, so that you can find the right partner to help implement your chosen CRM platform.

6. What your budget is

You need to know exactly what your budget will and won’t get you. Most vendors will bundle into any licensing fee some initial deployment support, however it’s unlikely to cover all the customisations, up-skilling and ongoing support that you’re going to need.

7. The key functionality you need

Know the difference between your nice-to-haves and deal-breakers. Whilst really technical predictive sales analytics are great, having a platform that integrates with marketing automation technology is probably a lot more important.

8. How a roll-out, onboarding and adoption plan could work (change management)

Implementing a new CRM or upgrading to a fully-functioning fresh platform that fulfils every single department’s precise needs from the outset is, unfortunately, unlikely. Therefore, planning how you could implement a new platform with minimal disruption across a number of months (or more) could be necessary to prevent problems. Scope what’s critical and needs to move first and then what you can phase in to meet other teams’ needs. Also, pay attention to how organisation-wide adoption can be ensured, as well as how you can onboard and support it into the future – it’s not fire-and-forget!

9. How clean you data is

Often overlooked, but you need to be sure of what data you’re looking to connect, how you’re going to ensure its quality and how you look after it on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the implementation of some data quality standards and the tidying up of what you already have should be a key focus before you adopt a new CRM and pollute the pristine environment with the data that’s causing you problems within your current platform.

10. What CRM technology is available

Without having a basic understanding of what CRM technologies are available and what they’re capable of, they you may struggle to determine exactly what you can gain from selecting a new platform or how badly performing/difficult to use your current one is. Whilst each system will do the basics, knowing what the USPs of some of the major platforms are will help to guide your many facets of your planning, strategy and search.

11. Whether you’re going for in-house or SaaS

Based on your needs, you’ll need to have made this call before you start looking. Hosted internally, a CRM can be expensive and requires a special internal skill-set, so adds to your overheads. Most organisations now look for Cloud-hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, where for a monthly fee all upgrades, upkeep and hosting is taken care of for the organisation. Not only that, there will be specialist support and surrounding services that can help you, as well as the added benefit that your CRM will be accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

12. Your workflow and other customisation needs

Enterprises have many more layers of management, departments and teams – spread geographically across the world. With that, a lot of the in-built workflows cater to that view and will over-complicate a smaller organisation. You therefore need to have a thorough understanding of how your organisation operates, its processes and who’s involved, so that you can then match those needs with the workflows that come out-of-the-box and discover if they can be changed to match you – this is critical in increasing engagement, productivity and speed-to-value. Also, beware that simplicity can translate into a lack of customisation options.

13. What you need to integrate

Your CRM should be the window through which you can view all information relating to each customer. Inevitably, certain customer functions and services will be carried out elsewhere in your organisation, so whichever CRM you pick needs to be able to ‘play nice’ with other platforms in order to create a ‘single view’ of them. Ensure whatever solution you pick connects with your portals, marketing automation, service desk, and other technology platforms. By doing this, you’ll not just get the best possible CRM, but the knock-on benefits for your other platforms of exchanging information and insights will enable you to drive the maximum ROI form all of your technology investments.

Want more help with finding a new CRM?

If you want more help with understanding the benefits of tuning your CRM to do more for and just what it could be capable of, do download our eBook: Evaluating your current CRM and the benefits of getting it right now.

At Superfluid, we can help you to fine-tune your existing CRM or to choose, design, implement and migrate to a new, high-functioning and fully integrated platform – do get in contact with us today to find out how we can help you.

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The Superfluid team specialises in helping Australian organisations gain a true competitive advantage through the intelligent use of software and Cloud applications. If you want a fresh perspective on how you can take your organisation to the next level, get in touch - we're here to help.