Top CRM Software

Miniature Ice Cream Display

CRM software comes in all different sizes and flavors from basic contact management programs to comprehensive solutions for managing front office business processes such as sales, marketing and customer service.  What makes one CRM solution better than another is not necessarily apparent to the consumer whose focus is primarily on features, function and price.

The difference between a top rated CRM software solution and an average one often lies under the covers and is not apparent unless you know where to look and what questions to ask.  If you’re a mid-size to enterprise level company scalability and the hosting service should be top priorities on your list.   Scalability relates to the CRM system’s performance when large groups of people are trying to access data or run reports.  Low cost CRM solution providers have traditionally not paid particular attention to this due to limited resources and the cost associated with the development of highly scalable solutions.   As a result, it is not uncommon for customers using these systems to experience slow access speeds or reports that take hours to run.  Fixing this is no easy task, so if you are experiencing this with your CRM solution provider, don’t expect this to change anytime soon.

The CRM providers hosting service is another key concern for mid-size and larger companies.  Some CRM solution providers that host your data do so on a shared server or servers while others offer a cloud computing environment.  Like any hardware component, there are limitations and capacities as to how much data can be stored on the server.  With hosted CRM solutions when the server hits its capacity you may find yourself having difficulty connecting to your database.  Cloud based providers have addressed this using the ability for cloud technology to quickly add computing resources when required thereby reducing the potential for slow speeds and downtime.

Of course it is also important not to overlook the reputation of the CRM vendor itself.  Companies with a proven track record for a high quality product and service often have years of experience in the industry and a very large customer base.  Contacting a few customers and learning about their experience with the vendor’s product and service may be the best vehicle for helping you to make the right decision.

[Image “Miniature Ice Cream Display” by Stephanie Kilgast on Flickr under Creative Commons license]

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