Selecting a New CRM Platform: Do’s and Don’ts

Selecting the right CRM platform for your business is an important decision that notably affects employee productivity, as well as your ability to improve customer service, satisfaction and increase profits. With more than one hundred CRM packages in the market, it’s crucial for your executive and IT teams to work through the selection process together, focusing on your business objectives to help narrow the field.

Generally speaking, the larger the company and the more complex the functionality, the more time you should spend on selecting the best CRM. In order to successfully improve your business, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you properly go through the CRM selection process.

CRM Do’s

  • Execute a formal CRM package selection process.
    A formal CRM selection process includes interviewing vendors, developing case studies and interacting with software demos. All CRM packages are not the same and it takes time to fully review each one, which is why a formal process is necessary. It’s a learning experience that becomes vital to ensure your organization selects the right platform.
  • Define your future-state use case.
    Your selection criterion is based on your future state, not the current state – meaning that defining your streamlined operations, goals for efficiency and reduction of duplicate processes should all be considered. This process requires interviewing key users, from data entry personnel to c-suite executives. Use cases help to lead the vendor demos.
  • Limit your amount of vendor demos.
    More is not necessarily better in this case. Each demo has a time requirement that must be met, and your team will lose interest if you demo all of your options. Limit the demos to your top contenders only, with the sweet spot being 2-4 vendors.
  • Develop specific vendor evaluation criteria.
    Defining your evaluation criteria will make it easier to compare each vendor and ultimately make your selection. Scoring CRM vendors should include the following:

    • CRM Features – these are the core features which come with the CRM platform, such as integration to MS Outlook.
    • Use Case Feature / Functionality fit – based on the future state use cases that were developed.
    • Reports – score the vendors on the core reporting capabilities built into the vendor platforms.
    • Vendor Evaluation – this includes pricing and key areas such as vendor viability. You want to select a CRM platform with a vendor who is financially sound and is not slated for an acquisition.
    • Go through Several Rounds of CRM Pricing Negotiation – Messina Group suggests a minimum of three pricing rounds:
      • Round 1 – During the RFI phase, ask for vendor pricing.
      • Round 2 – During Vendor Demos, ask vendors to sharpen their pricing.
      • Round 3 – When you select your two finalists and negotiate T’s and C’s, ask for the vendors’ best and final pricing. Note – when you identify your two finalist, you will negotiate T’s and C’s with both vendors.

CRM Don’ts

  • Don’t try to do too much when selecting a new platform. Since there are an endless number of platforms to choose from, researching everyone is an impossible task that your organization doesn’t have time for. Limit your CRM research phase to at most 10 platforms (2 or 3 platforms for smaller and less complex CRM requirements) so you can quickly narrow down to your final two to four vendors.
  • Don’t forget to build a three year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for your new CRM platform. Your TCO model needs to include the pricing for the CRM platform, implementation cost for the implementation and on-going support and enhancements of your CRM solution so you are aware of what it will cost to maintain your platform.

As your Trusted Advisor, Messina Group brings industry experts with deep experience paired with an agnostic point of view to help guide you through the selection and procurement and implementation processes.

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