Since we just got done talking about why CRM software is so beneficial to your business, having become integral to every aspect of customer experience and interaction, it’s time to talk about how to choose CRM software. See, like I said, you must choose wisely the software you use, as there are a number of CRM designs that are very popular, and the distinctions in them can have consequences both good and bad, depending on your vision and your goals.
But, before we get into how to choose CRM software, let’s talk about what the most popular solutions are, and talk briefly about each one. Then we’ll talk about considering a couple factors that determine which of these types probably best fits your needs.
SalesForce – SalesForce is probably the most popular and the one whose name is seen the most in the endless abyss of CRM articles out there. Their claim to fame is the ability to integrate with a ton of external third party services, and an exposed API and App Exchange that allows the features to be indefinitely augmented.
This one is designed to be a foundation on which all higher functions sit or integrate, and it’s a bit of a pick and mix concept with it. It’s expensive though. Very expensive.
NetSuite – NetSuite’s CRM is part of a giant set of services that, while they integrate a bit with external stuff, are really designed to work among themselves primarily. It’s easy to set up, and the multiple services alongside CRM that are available are integrated with the CRM with a single click, meaning you just have to buy pre-fitted parts for a predesigned model.
It’s also very expensive, though.
Microsoft Dynamics – Dynamics is pretty much what would happen if SalesForce were built by Microsoft. It works fine, but it has Microsoft’s usual odd EULA agreements and their weird OEM eccentricities.
Zoho CRM – Zoho is a small business solution that is gradually evolving into an economy class SalesForce. It is intended for small and medium businesses, and it works rather well.
It’s cheap, too.
So, how do you choose one, knowing what the most popular choices are? Well, if you have the money, and want a system you can shape to be whatever you want, and want a whole host of varied solutions to play nice, then Salesforce is your best bet. If you want to develop a lot of the added functionality yourself and are a Windows workplace, then you might opt for Dynamics in its stead.
If you want a giant comprehensive set you just subscribe to and turn on, then Netsuite is the one for you, if you don’t mind being stuck with them for many things alongside CRM (assuming you want nice teamwork out of it).
And, if you’re a small or medium business and can’t afford all of that silliness, you simply want Zoho, which will migrate fine to one of the other solutions when you get bigger and outgrow it.
These aren’t the only ones, but they exemplify the types that you’ll encounter, and are a good guideline for how to choose CRM software. Do research on more before just choosing one of these, though.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.