CRM Software a Commodity, but Not For Everyone
I do not think you can find a more competitive market sector than CRM software. If you are a small business there are at least 100 options to choose from. There are dozens of free offerings and dozens more for just a few dollars a day. Some are not bad and some are not very good, but it’s clear that CRM has become a commodity market for the small businesses market.
This is not the case for mid-size and larger companies who require robust functionality, the ability to customize the CRM software and integrate it with other third party software programs such as accounting or ERP. If you require the CRM system to automate sales, marketing, customer service and project management functions it narrows done the field quite a bit. There are some very good companies and solutions to choose from, but CRM at this level is anything but a commodity. Selecting a higher level CRM solution will require you to spend the time to ensure the solution you select can meet your unique requirements, can scale as your business grows and that there is a strong support organization in place to assist with the implementation, training and support of the product.
If you are a small business one of the ways to narrow the field in this commodity market is to ask a few simple questions.
1. Reputation of the company
Does the vendor you are considering have a track record in the industry? All you are trying to determine here is if others have been in your position, selected this vendor and are satisfied with their decision.
2. Where do they house your data?
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked questions. Your data is your business and you need to know where it is being stored and how you can get at it if you need to.
3. Is there a telephone number on the website?
If the company does not have a telephone number on their web site it is most likely because there is no one there to answer when you call. This is a big red flag that service will be poor and that your business relationship will consist of untimely e-mails and frustration. Call the vendors you are considering and see how they respond to your questions. This will tell you a lot about the kind of support you can expect after the sale.
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