Optimal CRM Solutions
Price. Price shouldn't be the sole determinant, or even the most important, but often it is critical. Think both of start-up price and ongoing costs. We like to think of "value" versus price—will one vendor partner provide greater value?
Chemistry. What is the personality of the vendor company, is it consistent with your company? Who are the account managers, and are they a good fit for your liaison person and your company?
Flexibility. Typically, no vendor will have a solution that is exactly what you need, so it may be critical to make modifications. Is the vendor willing to customize the solution for you without charging a small ransom? Will the outsourcer collaborate with you to meet aggressive timeliness?
Financial Stability. A great outsourced solution is not so great if the vendor goes out of business. Is it financially viable; does it have a strong client list; is its business growing; and does it have a strong management team?
Security. Most outsourced CRM solutions will involve your customer data— a valuable corporate asset that needs to be protected. Does it have good physical and network security? Are there sufficient back-ups and system fail solutions?
A comparative matrix with criteria weightings is a very useful tool in guiding the decision process. The ultimate decision also should be shared with those in your company who are responsible for supporting the CRM solution and extracting value from it. Cross-functional support, at all levels of the organization, also is critical for success.
Following theses guidelines, performing thorough due diligence, and asking questions will help you obtain a successful outsourced CRM solution.
Brad Connard is executive vice president, client relations for Quaero, a leading CRM services provider. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org