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4 Things to Look Out For in a CRM Software Vendor

4 Things to Look Out For in a CRM Software Vendor

 1. Are Their CRM software solutions Open Source? 

 

No doubt you will have a talented I.T. department to liaison with your UK CRM Software Vendor and just like a suit or an evening gown; the best fit is always bespoke. Therefore it is well worth having small business CRM software that is easily tailored to your specific needs. I recommend you look for a CRM software company that can provide software that is easily customizable by your staff to fit your requirements here in the UK. 

 

2. Does this eCRM software vendor Provide Reliable tracking? 

 

As well as ease of use features such as "one click" instance creation your CRM software package should also allow you to track usage levels and performance right across all instances by guidelines set out by your company. This will be an invaluable resource for your company as it will automate a lot of your customer service analysis which means you will be able to keep more detailed record of your staff performance. In addition this can be very useful when your company launches a new product and you are testing out different sales approaches to see which is most effective. 

 

3. Does the CRM software vendor Offer a Tiered Payment System? 

 

It is important that your CRM vendor offers your company a tiered payment system that will offer you greater benefits as your business grows. This is financially prudent as the bigger you get as a company the less you will spend on this part of your customer service, per customer. There are many CRM software companies out there that will provide this service, don't be afraid to pay a little extra for this functionality, the effect it has on your bottom line will almost certainly be worth the outlay. If you are running a small business you may remember that it was intelligent risk taking that got you where to you are today, there is no reason to stop now. 

 

4. Is Their System Compatible with the Rest of Your UK Application Software? 

 

If your company uses other-open source tools such as PHP or ZEND, or if you run your systems on Linux and use mySQL databases, it is imperative that you make sure the CRM software vendor you choose for your UK company uses software that is compatible with the rest of your infrastructure. In a world that increasingly lends itself towards multi-instance virtualization having a CRM software solution that easily integrates with current technology will effectively make your company's CRM software systems future-proof. If you have ever worked in an environment where you spend many years constantly feeling as though you and your whole team are constantly playing catch-up you will immediately know how valuable this can be for both UK and global enterprises. 


3 Reasons to Implement CRM Software Solutions Into Your Business Today 

If you have never used or never heard of CRM Software Solutions here in the UK then you may have greeted the technology with a degree of skepticism, as an extra potential liability on your balance sheet rather than the asset it is. CRM software services are simplifying the way that companies right across the UK are managing and growing their businesses, however there are many who have still not seen the benefits of CRM systems. However there are three big reasons why business owners' right across the UK should put to bed their doubts and implement customer relationship management software in their business. 

 

1. Good Customer Services Software Will Placer Parts of Your Business on Autopilot 

 

This software is designed to automate the dull day to day tasks that business owners and their staff must perform manually. Using well integrated small business CRM software you can automate: 

 

· Marketing Campaigns 

 

· Lead Generation 

 

· Billing Processes 

 

· Online Sales 

 

· Fulfillment 

 

This time consuming workload can all be handled for you by your CRM software applications, automatically, rapidly and efficiently. 

 

2. CRM Software Solutions are a "One Stop Shop" 

 

Many business owners in the UK are constantly frustrated by the ever growing number of different applications and digital tools that are supposed to make life easier. With CRM software services it is now possible to keep important contact, customer, financial and a host of other information in one single location, only a couple of clicks away should you need it. This is enhanced if you use an eCRM software solution that incorporates SaaS (Software as a Service); this will enable you to access your information at any location at any time. 

 

3. CRM Software will Generate Spreadsheets and Reports so Your Staff Don't Have to 

A recent survey of UK workplaces found that 48% of office workers' main complaint was the repetitiveness of their work, specifically data entry into spreadsheets and writing standard reports; using the correct CRM solution you can liberate yourself and your workforce from such tasks. Customer relationship management software can generate reports automatically saving your staff time they can use for more productive business tasks. As for spreadsheets they will effectively become obsolete as the CRM software service will instantly provide you with the information you need without having to trawl through rows and columns. A top quality eCRM software solution will take all the hassle out of interpreting information and finding ways to organize the various aspects of your business. 

 

With a top quality CRM software service UK businesses can say goodbye to manual systems and welcome a new age of automation that can only serve to streamline their business and increase profitability. 


Choosing a CRM Solution 

The internet has thousands of sites with guides and tips on what to consider when choosing a CRM solution. This article attempts to be unbiased towards the different areas that you need to consider before making the right decision. 

 

Every business is different and when considering a CRM or customer database solution I recommend evaluating the following in order to make your decision. 

 

Below is a list of questions with their pros and cons giving the newbie a better idea about choosing a CRM solution successfully. 

The first and the most important aspect would be what type of business is your business? 

 

What type of business is your business? 

This is the first question any CRM consultant should ask. 

Does your business sell products or services? 

Does your business sell via a shop front, telesales, sales reps or a combination? 

Where does your business leads come from; phone, fax, email, web or walk in? 

What is the length of your sales cycle? 

The above is just a short list of questions that need to be considered when looking at a CRM or customer database solution. There are too many systems out there that focus on sales reporting meaning that the poor sales person spends numerous hours feeding data into a system purely for sales reports. Sales people should be selling not data entering! 

 

Once you understand the type of business that requires the CRM solution then you need to look at the main characteristics of the available CRM Solutions. The following is a brief list of the main high level characteristics that you need to consider. 

 

Web based or On-site? 

 

Web based CRM is also known as hosted CRM and is a new form of cost effective CRM delivery. These systems usually have poor user interface and are proprietary systems. It is very difficult and expensive to have custom development on web based CRM. On-site CRM is also know as windows based CRM, which through the introduction of .net it has become easier and less expensive to provide a much richer user interface with numerous features slowly doing away with numerous disparate systems. (1 system for all front-end which is the future of CRM i.e. 3rd Generation CRM) 

 

The following are the Pros and cons to Web based CRM. 

Pros: 

o Easy to set-up 

o No server required 

o Usually cheaper 

o Low in-house maintenance 

o Easier to deploy updates and fix's 

 

Cons: 

o Data is off site (Need Security Guarantees, Redundancy etc.) 

o Competitors can have same capabilities 

o Limited business automation tools 

o Totally dependent on service provider and internet connectivity 

o Expensive to interface into existing or new systems, Messaging, Product and Accounts ( 1 system for all) 

o You don't own the database you lease it 

o Biggest problem - you house your most important asset under someone else's responsibility making it impossible to simplify all companies IT systems. 

 

To summarise web based CRM is easier for the CRM vendor not the CRM user. Find the correct CRM vendor make them understand your issues, concerns and requirements and make sure they deliver a solution specific for your business. 

 

The main reason to buy CRM? 

 

A lot of people buy a CRM solution because they know another business that successfully uses one or they just simply need a customer database. It is important to note that all CRM solutions are different especially when we consider interoperability with your existing and future systems. 

The main reasons to buy a CRM solution should be to save you thousands on staff resources, hardware, software, integration and maintenance. 

 

Having worked with numerous CRM application providers such as SAP, Siebel and Teradata my advice is to tread carefully: 

 

o Don't be lured by the endless list of features. Most business only use a small percentage of these features. 

o Make sure the CRM or customer data base provider focuses on your business not their software. 

o Keep in mind that sales people want systems that simplify their job not make it harder. Hence focus on business automation not sales reporting. (The system should give back more time to the sales person so he or she can focus on sales not data entry) 

o Identify upfront the Total cost of Purchasing, Integration, Maintenance and Ownership. Be careful to ensure that you can have all your main sales systems integrated into 1 system and find out that cost. (Eliminate the need for costly integration and multiple silos of data) 

o Make sure the system can be customised by non IT literate people and the provider has the ability of providing simple cost effective customisation. Every business is different thus some require basic customisation. 

o Make sure the system is simple to use has a great and familiar user interface and built upon robust future proof platforms. 

CRM mistakes can be costly. Make sure the CRM provider it's all about your business and the CRM Solution is all about your customers. 

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