Buying a CRM solution requires a process different from the typical IT purchase procedure. Because CRM connects to all aspects of the organization, organizations must understand not only the products and vendors available to them but the way their own businesses work. The next step is to understand the ways that CRM is delivered, and the financial implications of those delivery models. Only then should you start examining CRM products and vendors. Do not focus initially on features; instead, start with issues like customer support, vendor roadmaps and experience in vertical markets. Features are important, but avoid a “feature shootout” mentality, because it shifts the emphasis away from business-critical aspects of CRM and toward aspects of CRM that change frequently and which users may not actually use.
The CRM buying process can be reduced to a set of 10 steps that will help you pare down the field of potential solutions to a few vendors who are the best fit. From there, you can contact vendors for demos and details to ensure that the decision you choose is the best one for your business.
This guide will allow you to move through ten sets of steps, which we have broken into two stages:
Stage 1: Knowing Yourself
1. Look at Your Own Business
2. Pick the Right People for the Team
3. Understand your Regulatory Realities
4. Consider your Budget and Where to Run Your CRM
Stage 2: Knowing your Unique Requirements
5. Integration Requirements
6. Support Requirements
7. Vertical Market Requirements
8. Feature Requirements
9. Financial Requirements
10. Vendor Requirements
We’ll also help you understand the common mistakes of CRM selection so you can spot them and avoid them before they cause problems.