Step Three in the Approach for Differentiating CRM Software

Ok you are nearing the end of the process. In Step One, you selected the category of CRM vendor best suited for your business and in Step Two you narrowed down your choices to 2-3 vendors.  Now you are looking for that one unique differentiator that pushes you in the direction of one vendor or product over the other and here it is – Value Added Services.

Step 3 – Value Added Services

Some businesses seem to think that CRM software solutions are like an appliance.  You simply plug them in the wall and they work, but this is just not the case.  CRM software does not run your business, people do. And if you are a small to mid-size firm chances are you have limited resources and may not have experience in critical areas such as sales process management or marketing campaign management and that’s alright.

Previously I wrote an article called “Don’t Fly Solo with CRM Software”.  What I was referring to is the fact that if you are serious about improving your internal business processes and effecting change, you are going to need help from the CRM solution provider. In fact, you should expect it.  These guys are in the Customer Relationship Management business, aren’t they?

Self Service for Simple Solutions

CubeThe challenge here is that not every vendor can offer value added services.  Certainly the low end small business solutions do not.  As we discussed these “out-of-the-box” systems are designed as pay as you go programs. You put your credit card over the internet and away you go. But let’s be fair here.  Due to their low cost how could these companies afford to provide any level of service?

Full Service for Complex Systems

mirrorigamiIf you have narrowed your search to one or two Enterprise level solutions you can bet that these companies can offer an array of services from full on-site implementation to customization and integration with disparate systems like accounting and ERP.  Big companies have complex requirements and understand they are not simply purchasing a piece of software here. They are looking for a partnership.

Professional Service for Diverse Solutions

Kusudama with a messageThe mid-market sector is one where you will find the most disparity.  Some CRM solution providers offer an array of value added services and some offer none.  Remember what I said earlier.  If you expect to realize the full potential of any CRM solution you will need to rely on the expertise and value added services offered by that vendor.  Don’t fly solo!

A high quality CRM solution provider will offer not only implementation support and training services, but sales process methodology, marketing campaign management to assist with brand recognition and lead generation, service ticket management and web site integration services.  These guys can help you to not only maximize the value of your CRM solution, but to also become a more successful sales and service organization.  Isn’t this the reason you are looking for CRM software?

I truly hope my Three Step Approach to Differentiating CRM Software has been of value to you and will help you to feel good about your decision.

About the Author:

Larry Caretsky is President and CEO of Commence Corporation, a leading mid-market provider of CRM software.  Caretsky is well regarded as an expert in CRM software and has written numerous articles on the subject including;  Back to Basics, CRM an Executive Perspective, 7 Points to Consider Before Making a CRM DecisionDon’t Fly Solo with CRM Software, and an e-book, Practices That Pay – Leveraging Information to Achieve Selling Results.  These articles and additional information about Commence Corporation’s CRM Software are available from the company’s web site at www.commence.com

Image “Cube” by Wyerthfali on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

Image “mirrorigami” by Elod Beregszaszi on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

Image “Kusudama with a message” by Simona on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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