Thursday, August 16, 2012

More tips for evaluating CRM

In 2010 we wrote about some of our key tips for choosing the right CRM system. In summary these were:
  • Implementation Cost vs. Added Value
  • Vendor Reputation and Product Popularity
  • Ease of Use
  • Customisation
  • Interactivity and Connectivity
  • Mobility and Information Sharing
(Read the full post here)

Whilst these tips are still very much relevant today with the changes in business attitudes towards investing in software/hardware infrastructure we have come up with some additional tips for evaluating fully featured (paid) CRM systems vs. “freemium” solutions.

Consider future growth: Freemium solutions are good for businesses starting out with CRM and wanting to minimise their risk, however they generally have limits on the number of users, contacts and/or features. If your business is likely to grow in the near future it might be worthwhile spending the money now and invest in a system that will grow with you as the cost to move data from freemium to paid (i.e. money, time, resources and productivity costs) may end up being more than if you had invested in a paid solution from the beginning.

Who owns the data?: Regardless of whether you choose a freemium or a paid solution it is important to understand who owns the data and how easy/difficult it may be to move to another solution if you so choose. Most solutions will enable you to export basic contact data to Excel although extracting sales opportunities, communication history and activities can be a bit harder and will typically require services from a CRM vendor (if it can be done at all).

Free is only free if you don’t value your time: Despite popular belief, freemium solutions are rarely free at all. Many businesses simply fail to account for the time and resource costs associated with implementation, customisation, support and training - services which are typically included with a paid solution. Freemium solutions may also lack adequate documentation (for support/training etc.) and the time and hassle spent on a DIY approach may outweigh the benefits of a paid solution. Further to this, as freemium solutions often bypass solution vendors the business may lack valuable insight into the way things should be done. (Good) CRM vendors will challenge the way you do things, highlight potential pitfalls and use past experience to ensure you have the best solution - something you won’t get with a freemium product.

Ultimately CRM should empower salespeople to sell, and to do so efficiently. CRM should enable you to organise data in a way that makes sense to your business and that enables your staff to find information and complete tasks faster. Furthermore, CRM should ensure that businesses can continually monitor and make sense of the data in their database - this is best achieved through reporting tools. These tools enable businesses to get a snapshot of the business, compare trends, identify new opportunities, measure sales performance and monitor sales people.


  1. CRM system such a good for starting business.Such a nice key tips for the CRM systems. Customisation, Mobility and Information Sharing are really good for the systems.

    CRM application