Below are some points to consider before you decide on a particular CRM software package:
Integration - You aren’t buying a stand-alone product and it must fit seamlessly with your other office products, such as accountancy software. Ask to see demonstrations before buying.
Customisation - Most new CRM software solutions can be customised to your needs precisely so you should be able to get one that suits you. However, US-made products may be problematic if they are designed with an American audience in mind – so be careful.
Complexity - ‘As simple as possible but no simpler’ is the rule here, just focus on what you need and ensure the package is sophisticated enough to deliver it.
Functionality - In other words, you have to use it, as do your staff. If your call centre staff need to get an MSc first then it isn’t user friendly.
Server-based or hosted - Hosted applications available online are very popular and you also get to pay monthly. However you tend to find more customisation with server-based packages and they might be more cost-effective over time.
Set-up and training - It can take time to bring CRM software solutions fully into play and staff will need to be trained. The provider will usually do this but the details need to be fully-established before the deal is made.
Reseller networks - They will usually provide a complete package of provision, installation, maintenance and service giving you one point of contact for all CRM concerns.
Added costs - Don’t forget about upgrades, access payments (per-user), installation fees, licence fees (usually one-off) and any other costs that will raise the advertised figure.
Main players - Once you are convinced of the business case for CRM and feel sufficiently informed then you are ready to buy. The main providers of CRM software are: Sage, Microsoft, NetSuite, Salesforce.com, Goldmine, Maximizer, Gold-Vision, Siebel and Sap.