Looking for a new CRM or CRM upgrade? This can be a long a complicated process and if you get it wrong you can be stuck with a a CRM that does not meet all of your business requirements. Ask questions…

  • How much storage space is needed?
  • Who should have access?
  • What security profiles do we need?
  • Can it be branded for your company?.
  • Is there easy Out of the Box setup?
  • Does it need to integrate with other systems such as a enterprise resource planning (ERP) system?
  • How is data imported and exported?
  • Does my company policy only allow for certain database structures or vendors?
  • How will data be backed up regularly and can easily be restored?

If you do not take the time to consider how a specific CRM will fit within your business you may not choose the right solution.

Document Your CRM Requirements

Business Requirements

Each business has specific processes and policy that need to be considered.  Business requirements are a list of high level business needs that you needs from a CRM. Each business requirement may also have functional requirements, non-functional requirements, and use cases.

Technical Requirements

If technical requirements are needed, they need to be compiled and reviewed by your IT department. For example, company policy may require the use of a SQL database. Cloud solutions often don’t require technical requirements since the solution is hosted by the vendor.

Vendor Requirements

There may be specific things you’re looking for in a vendor such as 24 hour technical support. Or maybe your budget only allows you to use vendors within a certain price range. Or possibly you want to use award winning software.

Many vendors market to specific industries, so another approach is to find a CRM designed specifically for your industry.

How To Select a Cloud CRM

Data WarehouseThere are many factors to consider before choosing a CRM On-Demand provider. Many providers are competing for an upper hand in the market by offering free accounts, free extra space, and applications for social networking. While it is often tempting to take advantage of these perks, the best thing to do is to assess the features of the package assess in the light of one’s needs.

Review CRM Websites and Online Reviews

Due to the number of CRM vendors available, it’s a good approach to try and weed out some of them simply by going to their websites and determining if some do not meet your requirements.  Go through online reviews and comments to find a list of potential vendors that are marketing to your business size and industry.

Request a Demo or Trial

For those CRM vendors left in your list, you should contact the vendor to discuss your requirements and request a demo or try out the product. Tracking those vendors that meet your requirements.

Selecting a CRM

After you talk to vendors and view some demos you can eliminate some more vendors from your list if they don’t meet your requirements. Depending on what needs to be done you may need a consultant agency to assist, especially if you do not have an IT department.  Assess the total costs and determine if those costs are feasible for your business

There are a ton of cloud based CRMs on the market today. Here are few to help you get started…

Also, check out the list of FREE CRMs for Small Business.