5 steps for deciding on whether to invest in a CRM

By November 18, 2014Business Tips

Leaders working at small, midsize and large enterprises have one thing in common: They’ve all heard of CRM.

Despite the increasing sophistication of CRM platforms from Salesforce, many professionals don’t have a clear idea of how such solutions can transform their operations for the better. They don’t have a good idea of how to measure the return on investment or are apprehensive about making long-term IT investments.

In regard to these problems, what steps should professionals with little to no knowledge of CRM take to decide if it’s worth it for them to invest in a system?

1. Work with a CRM consulting firm 

Sitting down with an expert on the subject never hurts. Even if a company decides not to implement a CRM program, it’s still worth it for its managers to get a clear idea of the options out there. These consultants can not only provide solid advice, but detail how CRM solutions can be customized and deployed to complement existing operations.

2. Figure out a concrete budget 

Get your finances in order. It’s an obvious step, but it’s one that may not receive the amount of attention it deserves. Again, CRM experts can scrutinize existing processes and then advise how much capital can be allocated into deploying, customizing and supporting CRM solutions over the long term. Tech Cocktail contributor Ann Diab outlined a few questions leaders should ask themselves:

  • How much training will be required after implementation?
  • What are the licensing costs per user? Per month?
  • What will data migration cost?

3. Deduce which processes hinder progress

In other words, ask yourself how easy it is to find information. For instance, if an employee needs to visit Excel to view a customer’s accounting information, Google Docs to view his or her service preferences and another program to view past purchases, professionals should figure out how this system can be replaced with a more reliable solution.

4. Set a deployment timeline 

If you decide to integrate a CRM program into your business, voice expectations to certified CRM specialists regarding development, implementation and training. Can you afford a month? Three months? Three weeks? Set objectives over a certain time period and devise a strategy that allows your staff and CRM customization partner to meet these goals effectively.

Ultimately, these steps serve as a strong outline for reasons why a company should or shouldn’t invest in a CRM solution.

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