Questions to answer before selecting a CRM

CRM selection is an important part of the CRM implementation process, choosing a CRM that is right for your business is crucial. Around a third of CRM projects “fall short” and billions are wasted every year on CRM solutions that don’t deliver a ROI or aren’t as effective as they could be.

Choosing a CRM is complicated; with thousands of vendors and a huge range of features, knowing what’s best for your business requires deep analysis.

Requirements Gathering

Requirements gathering falls into two categories: general and specific. Most businesses make the error of diving into the specifics of what features they need, whereas a better approach is to ask: what will the new CRM achieve for the business?

If you're struggling to define your CRM system requirements, check out our free CRM requirements gathering guide with a list of key CRM features

General questions

  1. What are we looking to achieve by implementing the new CRM and how can we quantify success?
  2. Who in the business will be responsible for the CRM and who will be using it?
  3. What is the timeframe and budget for the implementation?
  4. What expertise do we have in-house for deployment, management, and configuration of the CRM?
  5. How likely is it that our needs will change in the next one, three, and five years?

Specific questions

Once the business case is understood and resources are assessed you can move onto looking at specific CRM requirements. There will be a temptation to start researching different CRMs at this stage – DON’T.

Focus on what you need a system to do; this will be a vital checklist when you start evaluating vendors. Many businesses get sucked into the merits of one system early in the process and become attached to using it – this will cloud your judgment, so work on a list of requirements first. These are some of the questions you’ll begin to ask, but you can read more in our selection guide.

What technical features does the CRM need to have? Consider:

  • Integrations (emails and other software)
  • Reporting
  • Dashboard
  • Contact management
  • Campaign management
  • Tracking deals and tasks
  • Email tracking

Once you have built a technical list you can start building a request for proposal. This document will help you define exactly what you need when it comes to choosing a vendor and act as a checklist at the selection phase. Some examples of key questions are:

  • What is the cost of the software?
  • Is it cloud-based or on-premises?
  • What support is available for deployment and ongoing?
  • How customizable is the CRM today and are there plans to develop this further?
  • What integrations are available now and what is planned?
  • What features are included in your product roadmap?
  • Can you define your typical user (by sector or need)?
  • Can you provide case studies for similar businesses?
  • What is the weakest point in your CRM and how are you addressing it?
  • What are the backgrounds of key technical people in the organization? (Ask to see CVs of  those such as CTO or head of product).

Choosing a CRM is a difficult process; it’s important to take the selection process seriously and take time to assess what you need before exposing yourself to the world of slick CRM salesmen – all assuring you their CRM is the answer to your prayers.

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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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