By CommenceCRM

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting CRM Software

Here are some quick tips that will help you to avoid the common mistakes so many small to mid-size businesses make when selecting CRM software.

1. Poor Preparation

You’re a small to mid-size business that has decided that you need a CRM system to automate and better manage your business.   You may be struggling with an Excel spreadsheet, a dated contact manager or perhaps nothing at all and you have decided that it’s time to get one of those CRM systems that everyone’s talking about, but are you prepared to make the right decision?  Most business do not take the time to fully document what they need the CRM system to do, what commitment is required for its implementation and getting the staff trained and how will they measure success and a return on their investment. This lack of preparation has created an extremely high failure rate according to industry analysts.  Poor preparation is mistake number one.

2. No Management Commitment

As the CEO or owner of the company you may have decided that you don’t have time to personally engage in the selection process so you assign a staff member or two to begin the process, but unless you have fully communicated what the core business objectives are, what your expectations are for the system, what your budget is and what criteria you want to use to evaluate vendor’s you have just sent your staff on a wild goose chase. They will simply Google Best CRM Systems or Top-Rated CRM’s and get a laundry list of dozens of companies that paid to be part of the Google listings then ask for free trials of all the products.  As owner or CEO, it is your job is to drive the process by outlining the specific business requirements and the criteria that should be followed for the selection process. If you do not have the time for this, then it needs to be spearheaded by a member of the management team with the authority to assist and guide the staff. No Management commitment is mistake number two.

3. Don’t Turn Your CRM Decision into A Beauty Contest

Most people have little to no experience selecting software, and due to poor preparation and lack of management commitment the people engaged in the evaluation process often do not have a clear understanding of the functionality required to address the company’s specific business requirements. As a result, they focus on other aspects of a product that they are comfortable with such as its cosmetic look and feel, its price and how easy it is to use.  The decision process gets turned upside down and instead of selecting a solution that will address the company’s requirements, price and cosmetic appeal become the core decision criteria. Turning your selection process into a beauty contest is mistake number three.

4. Where Is My Data

The protection of your confidential data should be of paramount concern to you and should be one of the key selection criteria for the solution provider you select. I have been engaged in well over 200 sales processes with small to mid-size businesses and I cannot remember a single company ask me where their data is stored, what our backup and recovery procedures are, and how can they get to it in case of an emergency.   They all ask if it is in the cloud and a simple yes makes them comfortable. But not all cloud hosting services are alike and if a solution is free or very low cost, this should be a red flag that you may not be getting the protection you think you are.  Not knowing where your data is stored, or the quality of the data hosting service is mistake number four.

5. Who Do We Call for Help and Professional Assistance?

CRM is not an appliance that you plug in the wall and it starts working.  Your business will need to take advantage of the value-added services the solution provider can provide. This can include training, customization, system integration, and advice and counsel on how you can realize the maximum value from the product.  You may want assistance with creating marketing programs, establishing your sales process or generating custom reports.  Many solution providers servicing the small to mid-size business community don’t have these resources available to you.  Some do not even have a phone number on their website. Customer service is via e-mail only and it’s clear why.  How can any company provide a quality product and service for free or just a few dollars a month?  They can’t which is why there are no resources available.  What’s a bit perplexing at least to me is how can you be in the Customer Relationship Management business and tell your customer that service is only available by e-mail?  Selecting a solution provider that does not offer phone support services is mistake number 5.