Optimal CRM Solutions
Once the diagnosis has been made, you're ready to determine the correct solution. Many CRM providers can dispense a partial solution, but which provider has your total solution? For example, if there is a retention problem, it possibly could be improved with any number of solutions:
Better customer information (a data issue);
Better customer service (a training or process issue);
Better customer management systems (a technology issue);
Better anticipation of customer issues (an analytics issue); or
Better products/services (a marketing issue).
The optimal solution, however, might combine data, technology and process. Vendor solutions have different strengths and weaknesses and it's critical to align vendor strengths with realistic CRM needs.
Design the optimal solution before potential vendors are identified and evaluated. What would the perfect CRM solution look like? Once this mental model is complete, you have a benchmark for evaluating potential vendor solutions.
Evaluation and Selection
The final step in the process is selecting the correct outsource partner. This also is a critical piece of the process since you most likely will be making an appreciable investment in time, resources and dollars. There are many criteria that need to be evaluated to ensure the optimal selection.
Functional Capability. The outsourced CRM solution must meet the majority of the CRM business needs you've identified.
Technology Compatibility. If there is technology involved (e.g., databases, networking, data transfer), is it compatible with your existing technology, and do additional investments need to be made?
"It's just a matter of a little programming" is not an encouraging vendor response. Technical issues can cost money, time and aggravation.
Core Competence. If you want the best CRM solution, it should be a key part of the vendor's business. Is the CRM solution a core competence and central to the vendor's business? If not, then it may not be a well-supported solution, or an area for technology investment by the vendor. Worst case, it could be a part of the business that was sold or discontinued.