When it comes to the CRM selection process, it can be easy to get caught up in all the sales hype, features fascination, and cost comparisons. Knowing that your business needs a CRM system is a huge first step. But before you send out a single RFP, or meet with your first prospective vendor, it’s important to also know what type of CRM system is right for your organization.
One of the unspoken assumptions our prospects have when they come to us to discuss help with CRM evaluation and selection is: whichever product is selected, it will be better than what’s currently in place. But recently, one of our consultants was asked an interesting question that we felt warranted further examination.
The question was, “Is one of the possible outcomes of your evaluation to not invest in a CRM system and leave things the way they are?”
It was a great question. Can a company be better off by continuing to rely on legacy systems, spreadsheets, and Post-it notes?
Updated: December 11, 2018
This is a fact-based comparison of Salesforce® and Microsoft Dynamics™ 365.
For those who work for an organization that is moving toward a new CRM solution, the information below is a starting point.
While we have attempted as much as possible to keep this analysis a statement of facts, we expect that advocates for each solution will find areas that appear slanted in the direction of the other.
The analysis primarily focuses on out-of-the-box functionality. We have intentionally limited the number of references to third party products.
While every business is different, the following set of example CRM requirements, which are based on a fictional kiosk manufacturer, provides a framework for the type of information that can be given to a would-be CRM implementation company.
This type of document can give CRM service providers a substantial amount of the information they need to more precisely estimate the scope of required CRM services. Many additional questions usually need to be posed before a services estimate is provided.
The total cost of CRM is more than just the CRM subscription fees. We have taken multiple levels of expense into consideration.
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If you do not plan to subscribe to any add-on products you can set that cost to 0 or blank.
Updated: February 8, 2019
In today’s reviews-driven marketplace, the starting point for many is to look for a CRM review site.
The proliferation of business technology vendors has spawned a cottage industry of business software review websites. According to one of the sites covered below, enterprise technology is on track to exceed $2 trillion annually.
Some software review sites have hundreds of categories. Categories range from bakery software to heat map software to live chat software.
In CRM systems, the Account table stores company information. The Contact table stores information about people.
Different CRM vendors have different names for tables. Microsoft calls tables entities. Salesforce.com and GreenRope refer to tables as objects. SugarCRM and Zoho both label tables modules.
All CRM systems come with a standard set of tables. These typically include Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and Activities. There are usually a variety of other tables that are in place to support the CRM system’s functionality.
Whether you’re a long-time sales leader at your company or you’re brand new to your organization, you may not have the right tools in place for reporting on the activities and aggregate pipeline of your sales team.
However, the CEO has asked you to regularly report to him or her about specific sales activity and what new business to expect in the coming months. To get the requested information, you spend a lot of time asking salespeople questions, collecting spreadsheets and consolidating information.
What you really need — and need fast — is a CRM system that works for both your salespeople and for you, as an accountable manager. In this situation, patience is not always a virtue. The faster you can get a new CRM system up and running (or an existing CRM system properly configured), the better.
For most of these manufacturers, the ERP system has served as the company’s shared repository customer information.
Individual salespeople have been managing end customer, dealer and distributor personnel information as email client contacts.
A salesperson at a manufacturer who manages major accounts knows exactly who to stay in touch with. In their case, it’s the quality of relationships, not the quantity.
For manufacturers that do not have a CRM system in place, here are some of the places where we’ve seen CRM-equivalent data stored:
Popular software evaluation sites include a CRM category among hundreds of other software categories.
For many categories of software product, making a vendor decision purely based on ratings and reviews on software evaluation sites represents little risk.
Live chat software is an example.
While healthy competition ultimately benefits all organizations, an abundance of choices make it more difficult for those tasked with selecting the right CRM solution for their company to achieve the optimal outcome.
Each CRM industry analyst company takes a different approach to visually representing the CRM market leaders, laggards and tweeners.
Industry analysts’ high level visualizations, along with an accompanying narrative and report, can help a given company determine which CRM vendors should be on their shortlist.
As a company that provides CRM strategy and selection services, we are always keeping our eye out for potential shortlist candidates for companies that are considering a new CRM system.
CRM Switch works with our customers to determine which CRM vendors should be on the shortlist, based on the requirements that we’ve jointly gathered, assembled and prioritized.
Most of the companies that engage us have moderately to highly sophisticated business requirements. As such, the shortlist vendors that we collaboratively decide on need to have a set of key capabilities within their offerings. Among these are:
The cost of a CRM subscription is not the only component of CRM expense. In fact, depending on the size of an organization and/or the complexity of requirements, there can be at least six different levels of CRM expenses.
Below is a chart and an associated table of CRM related expenses over a three year period for a hypothetical company with 50 CRM users. The chart and table are embedded from this spreadsheet. Feel free to save this as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or to make a copy in Google Sheets. From there, you can plug in your own user count and assumed per user costs.
Traditionally, the RFI/RFP process has served to help buyers at companies understand important feature/functionality differences between multiple vendor solutions, so that a large group of potential vendors can be whittled down to a short list. An RFP can also represent an initial round of vendor scoring. RFPs have even been used to disqualify vendors early on.
Some companies make the decision to self-implement their CRM system. This is usually because there are people in-house who provide a combination of CRM-related business analysis experience and the right level of technical aptitude to manage tasks ranging from system configuration to data migration.
Many companies look to third parties to perform some or all of their CRM implementation. Unlike the cost of CRM user licenses, the cost of CRM services is not based on straightforward unit pricing.
In fact, there is a very large range in what organizations pay for CRM professional services. Some companies use CRM with only some minor changes to the systems’ out of the box configuration. Other companies consolidate functionality from multiple legacy database systems into their CRM system and develop custom integrations. These companies can end up spending well into five figures over the course of time.
GoldMine and Salesforce are both applications that were originally designed to help salespeople become more productive and ultimately sell more. GoldMine has historically been a very popular contact manager among salespeople and has provided years of business benefit to many users and companies.
In the CRM purchasing process, a common sequence of events for CRM buyers is to first go through a round of vendor demos and to then decide on and commit to a specific CRM vendor. After the purchase of the CRM system, the next step is to go through the exercise of defining detailed CRM requirements. Finally, a CRM implementation is performed based on those defined requirements.
Whether you’re a long-time sales leader at your company or you’re brand new to your organization, you may not have the right tools in place for viewing the activities and selling cycle progress of your sales team.
However, the president or CEO wants you to regularly report to him or her about specific sales activity and performance metrics. To get the requested information, you spend a lot of time on one-on-one calls with salespeople: asking questions, collecting spreadsheets, and compiling the information.
Because of the high cost of most CRM software, an important part of the evaluation and selection process is the CRM demo. If a vendor’s software doesn’t end up meeting your organization’s needs or is under-adopted, committing to the wrong vendor can turn out to be an expensive mistake.
The stage in your buying cycle at which you view a CRM demo is critical. Many companies schedule CRM demonstrations too soon.