Choosing the Best CRM Software
In reading numerous discussions about choosing and using CRM software products I have observed a significant amount of confusion.
My first observation is that people are seeking the wrong advice in their efforts to choose their sales team’s CRM software.
CRM software is very much like clothing, in that it works like clothing fits and looks based on where and how it’s being used. Thus seeking the advice of others can actually be a dangerous thing when that advice comes from a different environment.
Now, I’m not talking about finding out what’s available. I’m taking about perceptions and judgments as to how good or bad any particular CRM software might be.
To help you better understand why this is true, let’s go back to why you purchase a CRM.
CRMs are intended to be productivity tools for the sales force. In other words, they are supposed to increase the productivity of the salespeople.
They accomplish this task in a number of ways. The first and fundamental purpose is as a repository for customer and prospect data, thus providing salespeople and management with the means for analysis and interaction with their marketplace.
Secondarily, they provide a “method of operation” for the process of engaging customers and prospects, including some robust mechanisms form managing the sales cycle while providing tools, such as scripting and product information to aid the salesperson’s efforts.
But the bottom line in choosing a CRM software product, is does it provide increased productivity for YOUR selling environment.
Let me give a blatant example of how this could backfire. Let’s say that you have a group of consumer telemarketers calling on households in the evening gathering donations for the handicapped.
You decide to put them on a CRM software and learn from another sales manager that Salesforce.com is one of the best. But to your amazement sales plummet nearly immediately after the software goes live.
Because Salesforce.com is not complementary to that particular sales process due to the way it operates. Salesforce.com is very navigation intensive and will reduce the number of calls reps can make by as much as 50 percent over calling out of a phone book or off a printed list. Additionally, these reps don’t need most of the tools that are provided.
The point is that CRM software products all have similar features, but they don’t all work or operate the same way at the user level.
In the above case, even the DOS version of Telemagic® would have been a far better choice because it is more in align with the selling activity.
If you want to make the best decision with regard to CRM software, you need to choose it from the user’s viewpoint.
In other words, you need to choose the software that most enhances YOUR users productivity in their selling process.
Thus the most profitable way you compare CRM software products, is by having the CRM software company or representative come out and demonstrate how their software executes YOUR users selling tasks.
If the users have to make calls everyday, then you need to see how they get that list of people to call and execute those calls including any documentation that might be required.
If the users need to send faxes, emails, or schedule meetings with other people in the organization, you need to see exactly how that is done.
It is only when you carefully compare the user execution of the sales process required tasks that you can truly see how much productivity is gained.
Your choice between CRM software products will likely come down to a trade between lesser evils and absolute necessities. But, making such comparisons will avoid deadly and expensive mistakes.
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