CRM Selection Simplified

Explore the necessary mindset needed when evaluating Customer Relationship Management software. Turn prospects into long-lasting relationships that you can nurture with a CRM solution catered to your business.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has been around for decades and has lost its "new-car-smell" quite a while ago.

Two businessmen supporting and giving a helping push to silhouette cutouts of a man

 Adding a client interaction record into the system became every salesman’s routine. And as every routine, it became repeatable, dull and boring. Since people who describe themselves as boring don’t stay in the salesforce too long, both the quantity and the quality of the data recorded in CRM has degraded. It happened so subtle over the years, that most of us would call it an erosion – similar to a process of wind carrying away soil from once prolific ground until there is only an infertile rock left. There is a way to reverse this process, bring back the productivity and then increase it even past the historical records. Increasing your sales would not even require as much patience and labor as gardening, if done correctly.

The starting point of our journey is the same, whether you already have an existing CRM solution in place, or consider getting one for the first time. It is no different from buying any merchandise: you feel your needs, the product is available, you are ready to start looking. As a practical person, you take time to itemize your shopping list beforehand. Most likely, it looks like this:

The CRM you are looking for has to help you sell more and sell faster, keep customers happy and provide you with an instant snapshot of your business at a single click. Let us take a step back and have a look at a perfect picture we just have painted here. There is a major part missing, so massive that can spoil the entire masterpiece. In fact, it was the reason behind many failed CRM implementations. It is stated in the very beginning of this article. None of the features listed above is concerned of the end user, they are all about the customers and the top management. Quite strange when the system is fueled by the input from the sales team, don’t you think? Here is what CRM is NOT:

Conceptual of partnership

People rarely notice they are living in the 21st century, but the time flies and over one-fifth of it has already passed. How did that reflect on a software originated back in 1990s? As everything else nowadays, CRM is now in the cloud. While for the most consumers it means the ease of access from anywhere and across all platforms, to business users it says “Zero Capital Investments” in big bold letters. Cloud services are subscription-based and carry zero infrastructure cost. The ice on the topping of the cloud is its scalability: it is easy to expand as your business grows. Today you can use as much as you need and only pay for what you have consumed.

Human resources concept

Since the existing sales system is already here, CRM just takes the legacy data from it and customizes itself so the changes are minimal. It easily integrates with your other tools and departments, which may or may not be cloud-based. Once sales are on track to close a major contract, supply chain gets an instant notification of how much raw material to order, operations can plan production capacities and logistics books delivery dates. The CRM system automatically sends emails and books meetings for everyone involved. Automation is everywhere at the user level: most of the fields in the sales entry form are now pre-populated, notes could be taken with voice recognition system to avoid typing. Sales even gets a friendly reminder from the system to reach out to prospects at the right time armed with the latest numbers. 

The infancy problem of CRM being a nightmare of the sales people is long gone – now it is their working horse which aids with the daily tasks and promotes value and visibility within the organisation. In the nearest future CRM will be automatically analyzing the markets and generating forecasts, thanks to the advances in artificial intelligence algorithms.

To summarize, here are the key factors to keep in mind for CRM selection:

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