April 16th, 2013
Selecting a CRM software package for your company is NOT an easy decision. There are a lot of factors to consider, a lot of decision-makers to collaborate with (usually), and user feedback to take into consideration. Here we summarize the Top 10 criteria to use when evaluating CRM software for your business.
- Deployment Type: On Premise vs. Cloud – do you want the software installed on your company’s servers and pay a one-time licensing fee to use that software (on-premise), or do you want to essentially rent the software from the vendor and have it hosted, backed up, upgraded, etc. by them (Cloud)?
- Ease of Use: How easy is it for users to use/navigate through the product? Is the user interface (UI) simple or complex? Are there a lot of clicks to get to where you need, or does the product make it very easy to navigate through it?
- Feature Breadth: Is there a full selection of CRM features? (see our article on Top 10 Functionalities of CRM Systems for more information)
- Feature Match: Are the features you need today in the product you’re looking to purchase? Keep in mind your needs for today, as well as your needs over the next 2-5 years. You do not want to have to purchase another system in a year or two because you outgrew it!
- Flexibility: How well can it adapt to your existing business processes? Are there features you don’t need, but can easily “turn off” so your users are not bothered by them?
- Reporting and Analytics: How well will it help you manage your process? Can you create fully customized reports and Dashboards to get the most out of your data?
- Scalability: How will it handle adding more users and data now and in the future?
- Cost: What does it cost per user to license, implement and maintain? If you are choosing on-premise software, don’t forget to include possible server costs (or upgrades), any additional component licensing (like SQL server, etc.), and annual maintenance costs. If you are looking at Cloud, find out if the costs are annual or monthly; and whether they have alternate licenses for part-time users or those that will only use one or two modules of the system (this may reduce your overall costs!)
- Integration Options: Will it work with your other software tools, such as your accounting software, marketing tools, and the like?
- Developer Strength: Can you trust that the company will stay in business? How long have they been in business so far?
There are several other criteria that you may want to consider when purchasing and implementing CRM software, but these are ones we find more common and necessary for majority of companies.
We’d like to hear from you – what criteria do you use in selecting software for your organization, whether you are currently using a CRM system or are thinking about using one? Leave a comment to contribute to the discussion.