CRM Software – How Do I Evaluate and Decide on the Right Solution

In considering CRM software, often an organisation short lists three CRM applications to be presented to its users. Evaluation should not be based heavily (if at all) on the users liking the look and feel of the interface (GUI). The users of an organisation tend to agree on one CRM application as by nature we feel most comfortable with what we already know. If you ask a Salesperson who has been using a paper diary for 30 years, what is better? A paper based or database system the answer is always paper! Over the years I have witnessed three different systems put in front of users at different organisations and there is never a clear winner for the CRM application chosen.

Evaluating the cost of ownership should be done over a 3-5 year period. Presently (and I say today, not in 2 years time) you will receive a better return on investment (ROI) with an In-House system. With In-House deployment, licenses are generally sold on a per user basis and paid up front. You then own the licences and don’t have an ongoing cost (outside of annual software maintenance). The initial costs usually involve license fees, consulting fees and deployment costs. Although the initial cost of ownership can be higher, your cost can be controlled and easily justified.

Control is another evaluation point. A SaaS CRM software solution does not give you the control that an In-House system allows – but do you need it? For example, the ability to upgrade when you want to ensure your users are trained on new features. Do you want the ability to move to an In-House system as you grow? Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an example gives you the flexibility of a seamless switch between SaaS, Partner Hosted and In-House deployment with your data and configurations remaining intact.

In considering your CRM software investment you need to decide your requirements first. A CRM consulting company will assist you in defining your objective and goals for your initial project. To do this, you will need to be clear on the processes you are looking to work on – sales, marketing, customer service and other processes. Then set the benchmarks you will need to reach to achieve a solid return.

You will have options to choose various modules and software versions of the CRM application. For example, a marketing module to manage your campaigns and your leads. Similarly, a service desk module will enable you to manage customer support or customer service incidents effectively. A CRM consulting company will help you understand your data requirements and the interfaces between your other software systems and CRM. They will help determine what application, In-House or a SaaS CRM software solution is right for you.

The final consideration is cost of the project. Extensive research over the years shows that a decision makers’ purchase decision is based on price the first time round and the second time round on Service. Service can be defined as the pre-sales, training and consultancy services, on-going technical support and after-sales account management. In BRW Magazine, customer relations software was named as the most popular SaaS application (35 percent) and that “companies in Australia are using SaaS because it’s cheaper, rather than because it’s easier to use”. Only 9 percent cited “ease of use” as the reason for choosing SaaS. Second time round I guarantee those decision makers will buy on Service. Note, I did say that SaaS CRM Project will be more expensive costed over a 3-5 year period so be careful if a quote looks incredibly cheap!

A CRM consulting company with extensive experience will help you put together a phased project approach that delivers a ROI at each phase of your Project.

Author Bio: Antony Dutton is Managing Director of Aaromba, CRM software & service management software specialists. Aaromba designs solutions to improve sales and marketing using Microsoft CRM Software, web based CRM software and Goldmine CRM.

Category: Business Management
Keywords: crm software, microsoft crm software, goldmine crm, what is crm, web based crm, web based crm softwa

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