Five Steps to Choosing a CRM Solution

of users. In a mid-size or large company, it will be high but fairly stable; in the case of a start-up, however, it is likely to change regularly. The cloud allows for such flexibility, with user numbers easily brought up or down through individual licenses. However, it might be beneficial to opt for a vendor that enables a swift change to an on-premises solution should the size of the company abruptly grow.

4. Mobility is the buzzword of today and not without reason, but not every business requires the same level of mobile access. Are your employees often on the road? Do you encourage working from home? Would your CRM system need to be updated in real time and would the company benefit if managers could access it anytime, anywhere? A certain degree of mobile accessibility tends to have a positive impact on sales, customer service, and productivity, as employees can make the most of their time while away from their desks. If a prospect or customer cancels an appointment, for example, the salesperson can view other customers and prospects in the vicinity and visit them instead, ensuring no time is wasted.

5. Last but not least, to leverage the data in your CRM system as fully as possible, you may also need to integrate it with other sources of information. The nature of your business will determine the connectivity you require, and some of these options may be available out-of-the-box. This is often the case with widely used software, such as marketing or accounting programs; in other cases, a tailored customization might be inevitable. With every business having its own specific needs, looking into which vendors provide extensive customization support is key.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to what type of a CRM solution is best suited for any given organization, but the above guidelines should help you navigate the myriad available options. Unfortunately, the work is not over even after the new system's deployment; as a business grows and matures, its CRM must follow suit, and this means constant performance assessments, ongoing adjustments, and staff training. Looking for new areas in which the platform can be used to boost productivity is of ongoing importance.

Mike Richardson is managing director, EMEA, for Maximizer Software.

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