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CRM Purchasing Considerations for the SMB

Customer relationship management is among the most frequent search queries in Google’s Applications Marketplace and Forrester pegs 2010 CRM spending at $11 billion globally. Meanwhile research published by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners indicates that just 54% of medium-sized business and 30% of small business have CRM systems in place. And 19% of SMBs who do have a CRM are planning to upgrade the application.

CRM Implementation: In-house Resources vs. External Consultant

Selecting and implementing the right CRM application is a strategic process. It requires thorough upfront analysis of your needs and clear metrics for measuring the expected business functionalities and benefits. In Part 1 of this article series, CRM Purchasing Considerations for the SMB, I outlined several important questions to guide you in selecting the appropriate CRM software. In Part 2, I will detail factors to consider when determining your optimum implementation strategy.

Choosing the Right CRM Approach: SaaS vs. On-premise

The benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution are easily seen. Having the latest customer data at your fingertips helps you provide better service, increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. However choosing to implement a CRM solution may be an easier decision than selecting the right CRM implementation approach for your business. That’s because there are a variety of ways to implement a CRM – each with its own unique capabilities and benefits.

Convincing Users to Actually Use Your CRM

Before purchasing your CRM application, did you solicit users’ buy-in? Were they involved in the CRM planning and implementation? Do you have a change management plan in place? User acceptance is your biggest hurdle to a successful CRM implementation. In a 2009 survey that examined the pitfalls to successful CRM implementations, Forrester Research discovered that 22% of all problems reported were people-related – more so than defining strategy, setting objectives or defining new processes.

Creating Integrated Customer Service Management with a CRM System

For many organizations, a customer relationship management (CRM) application is often implemented to support the activities of a specific department such as managing sales, running marketing campaigns or supporting customers. But a CRM system can be more than just a point solution. It can help you automate your business processes and integrate every client-facing department within your service organization. The result: enhanced customer satisfaction, improved long-term relationships, reduced costs and increased revenue.

The Practicalities of CRM and KM Integration

Traditionally, small and medium-sized business (SMBs) have viewed customer relationship management (CRM) and knowledge management (KM) as two different processes. While each is valuable to a company’s success, CRM and KM function separately, which means organizations are missing out on the advantages of the shared data and knowledge housed in the repositories that support their activities.