How to find your perfect CRM partner this Valentine’s Day

OBS LogoAll your industry colleagues are in love with their CRM system. Their sales are soaring, while you’re not sure if you’ll ever find the right match.

But finding the perfect CRM partner is possible if you follow ‘the CRM dating rules’ from IT services company OBS. According to Kirsty Holmes, CRM Consultant OBS, it is possible to avoid the dodgy pretenders and failed relationships and have a long happy life with your CRM, as long as you take the right steps.

Get your priorities straight
Using 10 different dating websites would make your head ache. Similarly, don’t try to do everything all at once with a CRM solution. Narrow your criteria to just one of the three core CRM areas below.

Think about which area or business unit would get the most value from a CRM trial. It’s important to understand what you want to get out of a trial before you embark on one. For example:
1. Sales team for salesforce automation;
2. Marketing team for behavioural and marketing analytics; or
3. Delivering inside out customer service.

Engage a matchmaker
Just like with dating, some businesses have a list of features they want while others struggle to articulate what they need. Don’t be afraid to ask for independent, expert input and guidance. The right help at this stage is invaluable and a ‘matchmaker’ might be exactly what you need.

What attributes are you looking for? What are the key features that will demonstrate real value? Desired qualities and outcomes will vary depending on your needs but most businesses should consider the following:
1. Pipeline, forecasting and central sales data;
2. Easy configuration, integration and extensibility;
3. Business Intelligence;
4. Customer Relationship Management;
5. Mobility options;
6. Document Generation;
7. Workflows.

Trial the commitment
A trial won’t tell you everything you need to know, it will only skim the surface. Only once you’re committed will you find out what a system can really do. It’s important to have a framework in place to evaluate your potential suitor.
* How much do you like them: How will you evaluate if CRM is a good fit for the business?
* How much do you need to change them to really like them: What configuration is necessary to make this work for your unique needs?
* Are they worth the effort: What are the key features that will make this investment pay off?

Introduce CRM to your family
If you want CRM to be more than a fling then you need an executive project sponsor.  Think of this as introducing them to your family.

The executive project sponsor should be someone with seniority who clearly understands the objectives of the CRM project and can articulate its benefits to the rest of the senior management team. 
Kirsty, said: “Independent, expert insight will help you understand how your business could be improved through CRM and let you experience the cost-effectiveness, quick deployment and rapid user adoption of business solutions. The right CRM partner understands your needs and adds business value.”

“If you’re ready to put yourself out there and try to find a CRM partner, follow these tips and you may be in love within weeks.”