Earlier this year Gartner announced that the top priority for IT spending in 2013/14 is Customer Relationship Management software. This is unsurprising and reflects a shift in the culture of a lot of organisations. The focus has moved to customer satisfaction and a more targeted approach to marketing. In a world where the customer is empowered and informed it is crucial for companies to adapt and CRM, and in particular Social CRM, is the perfect way to do this.
However there are several important factors to consider when investing in a CRM solution. Whilst this new boom in CRM technology has meant the emergence of plenty of fresh and exciting CRM systems, a lot of older, more traditional options are lagging behind and can be a frustrating experience. Some of the most important points to look out for when investing in a new solution are:
Cloud based: The CRM database is available any time, any place and on any device. Cloud based systems also negate the need for time consuming and costly setup.
Social functionality: Social media marketing is a concept that simply isn’t going away, consumers expect businesses to be proactive on social media and it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored when considering which CRM solution to choose.
Mobile Functionality: Although we’re all sick of “the year of mobile” it’s true that mobile marketing is a prominent feature of most people’s CRM itineraries. With the increasingly heavy reliance on smart phone technology this is understandable
Reporting Functionality: It is key that when running marketing or CRM campaigns that the results can be clearly traced to ensure continual improvement and efficiency
Simple, intuitive layout: Clear interfaces that make potentially complicated data work easy
If not properly researched a CRM solution can prove frustrating and, more importantly, not deliver a good ROI. Some of the most common headaches when dealing with CRM are:
An old fashioned system: Not based in the cloud, requires complicated set up and may remain offline for a long time when any repairs are made. Not equipped to handle mobile marketing
Incompatible system: a set up that involves a variety of small solutions that don’t really work together. Adds a lot of extra time to the process as you attempt to transfer information.
Too good to be true: Solutions which appear good value but on closer inspection don’t do enough, requiring several more “good value” solutions! The subscription fee may appear cheap but soon adds up when you factor in consultancy costs.
Overly complicated system: May do everything necessary but is so cluttered and user unfriendly that it takes just as long to do relatively simple tasks as an inferior solution.
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