You walk into a supermarket to buy your regular shampoo. Unfortunately, it is not in stock. You buy a new shampoo that is on the shelf. You try the new shampoo and do not like it. Nonetheless, you are stuck with it. Sounds familiar? Thankfully, it is just a shampoo bottle that can be used up in a couple of weeks, and then you can move on to your regular one. Alternatively, you can abandon it. But imagine if something similar takes place with your newly bought Customer Relationship Management, or more commonly known as CRM software. Sounds nightmarish? Read on to find out how you can avoid such a situation.
Why does your business need Customer Relationship Management Software?
Irrespective of the size of your business, it is imperative for you to have CRM software. A CRM system is not just a prospect and customer database system but can do much more than that. CRM tool helps in organizing complete information and interactions with your prospect/customers, giving you a 360-degree view. Your employees can access this information as per predefined user privileges. Thus, irrespective of the geography, LOB, function, etc., relevant employees get a complete picture of the prospect/customer to plan the next steps and interactions accordingly. But the question is, how do you choose the right CRM system when there are so many options available in the market?
5-factors to consider while selecting the right CRM Software:
There are 100s of CRM software tools available in the market. How do you pick the right one? Well, there are 5-key considerations for selecting the right CRM tool. We will talk about them in detail below.
- A CRM system should easily integrate with your existing tech stack: Your tech stack would include various IT systems. When onboarding a CRM system, you would want it to integrate seamlessly with your upstream and downstream systems. An upstream system could be your ERP system. Likewise, a downstream system could be a communication suite for customer engagement. A CRM system should seamlessly integrate with upstream and downstream systems through APIs to maintain a smooth and uninterrupted information flow.
- Onboarding a CRM system has to be financially viable: A project is successful when it is viable financially. The hosted CRM solution offers a cost advantage leading to financial viability vis-à-vis an on-premise solution. Having a CRM hosting model will help bring down the total cost of ownership, while you still get the complete benefit of a CRM system. You do not have to pay the upfront cost of ownership. You can work out subscription-based pricing or any other pricing models which suit your business cycles. A Hosted CRM would also result in reduced risk for the project. Hosted CRM software will also help you save on costs on infrastructure. You do not have to worry about managing the average and peak loads. CRM hosting will give you the freedom to scale at your own pace. You can focus your energies on the systems which are core to your business, while the CRM vendor takes care of these aspects.
- A CRM system should offer benefits of continuous upgrades: The biggest pain point with an on-premises CRM system would be to keep upgrading the CRM tool with new features and updates, both from a business and security perspective. Most often, on-premises CRM tools don’t get upgraded for years together. If you need an upgraded version, you need to pay the price for the same. Having a hosted CRM helps get the benefits of continuous upgrades at minimal upfront costs. The CRM vendor continues to upgrade the hosted version of the software while you access it from the cloud.
- A CRM system should have a shorter implementation time: On-premises CRM tools generally take a long time to be implemented, though it differs from vendor to vendor. On the other hand, hosted CRM offers plug-and-play solutions. Since time to market is a critical factor, picking a CRM hosting model is highly recommended.
- The flexibility of a CRM system: Different factors influence how your business processes evolve in the future, depending on various changing business scenarios. While you have a Customer Relationship Management solution that addresses today’s needs, your CRM system should be able to support your future needs. Flexibility is an important consideration while choosing your CRM system.
While the above parameters guide in picking the right CRM system, a hosted CRM system clearly stands out, when compared to an on-premises system. A few parameters are listed below for selecting the right hosted CRM system.
Tips for selecting the right CRM hosting software:
- Check if the CRM system is cloud-native or a lift and shift. A cloud-native CRM system with microservice architecture is preferable to the lift and shift model.
- Check if the hosted CRM system can integrate with other systems through APIs. It is critical. For instance, you have a partner who manages your omnichannel communication with customers. If your Hosted CRM solution is unable to integrate with it, then the interaction between the systems would not be smooth. Thus, having a hosted CRM which can integrate with partners through RESTful APIs is critical. Such integrations enable quick turnaround time and ROI for CRM implementations.
- Depending on cost and preference, you have the option to select between a private cloud or a public cloud.
- When selecting a CRM hosting solution, you also have an option to implement the managed services model where you outsource the operations. Depending on cost appetite, you can make a decision on this.
- Define your scope and processes clearly. Depending on the requirements, pick the features from the hosted CRM system offerings. While the CRM system might have a range of functionality, all of them might not be relevant for you. Pick only the ones required for your scope.
- Before onboarding a hosted CRM tool, ask for a sandbox environment where you can test and play around with the features to make the right decision.
- Selecting a hosted CRM tool can be very complex. Find A partner with deep expertise and know-how in this space. They should have the experience of managing the end-to-end scope. This will give you an added advantage while making the right decision.
We have established in this article, traversing the journey to onboard a CRM tool or a CRM hosting tool is complex. Having the right partner with well-rounded experience can go a long way in ensuring the project’s success.