Paul Pitman
posted by Paul Pitman on January 24, 2019
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Welcome to 2019! One of the great things about the New Year is that old plans get taken out of the drawer, dusted down, and considered again. If you find yourself suddenly in the market for some CRM software, then this article is for you! No one wants to make a bad decision, and in the current climate, wasting money is not an option (was it ever?), so who can you rely on to help you select the right CRM system? If the CRM selection project has just been given / dumped into your already busy schedule – fear not.

Selecting the right CRM system should be easy, right? A quick google for “what is the right CRM system for my company?” gives a mere 42,000,000 results, so there appears to be a CRM system for everyone. The big question is, “which one is the best for my company?” Get it right and untold riches are assured. So, “Who wants to be a millionaire?”

Ask the Audience

Fortunately for you, most of the people whom you want to use the CRM system will have some previous experience. This results is a list of products that “MUST” or “must NOT” be on your shortlist of CRM tools. On the plus side, this might give you a number that, if you were to select them, could have slightly lower training costs. I say slightly lower only because the software will need to be configured to support your products, processes and business models. Just because someone used a CRM product in one company, doesn’t mean that using your version will be the same.
On the down side, this may limit your search to old products, and you may miss some of the exciting new ones. It also risks implementing a CRM system that does only what you already do, and misses the opportunity to improve the way you acquire, retain and develop customer relationships.

Fifty Fifty

You could get someone else to guide you. Perhaps by learning about the CRM landscape you could reduce the number of products to review. To understand the market, there are almost as many industry analysts as there are vendors. The giants like Gartner, Frost & Sullivan and Nucleus all create reports on CRM vendors. Unfortunately, their exhaustive research and analysis comes at a cost. That cost is shared by you, as a client, and the software developers. The good news is that it is the developers who carry most of the cost as they prepare and present their CRM tools for evaluation. The bad news is that this can result in a “top CRM vendor list” which is more relevant to large corporate clients and includes only the biggest software companies.

For SMBs there are a growing number of crowd-sourced review sites that let users post reviews of their CRM experience. Many of these sites are spoilt by marketing people, who attempt to “game the system”. Frequent reviews, not from fellow users but from marketing copy writers optimised for search results, are reducing trust. So if you cannot trust review sites who can you trust?

Ask a Friend

What we would all like is a “trusted advisor”. A friend whom we can pick up the phone to, who will guide us to the right answer. Once again, there is some good news. Friends like that are available… for a fee.

The market for specialist CRM advisors in the UK is fairly small. I am pleased to say that Collier Pickard has been one of the leaders for many years. Our advice is available, for a fee. For those worried about our objectivity, we have contractual commitments that ensure the advice we provide is guaranteed to be unbiased. That being said, our experience of selling and winning against other CRM systems gives us valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of most of the products in the market today.

Is that your final answer?

Selecting a CRM product is just the start of a long journey to improve sales and customer satisfaction. If it helps, our estimate is that only 20% of the success of your overall CRM project will be determined by your choice of CRM software. So while it is important to get the right software, your choice of implementation partner and the degree of user adoption will have a much bigger impact on your CRM success.


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