CRM systems should fit into the way you do business, not the other way round!
16th December 2009
... Comments

There are 2 main prospects I encounter when they request my free consultation to discuss their CRM system requirements.

The first is a prospect who knows exactly what they want in terms of the exact product, e.g ACT, SAGE CRM, MSCRM, Wired Contact, SalesLogix, Maximiser, Goldmine etc.  These tend to be people who have used the product before, were happy with what it did, had a good experience from the Product Reseller and wish to use this at their new company.

The second usually have no idea about which product they should use.  They may have not used a CRM system before either in their previous or current company and have probably not heard of , or know, most of the products available in the market place.

Both of these tend to have different problems.  The first prospect have already made up their mind to go with a certain product.  This may be right, but sometimes this decision has not taken into consideration some of the following key points

  • How does the new company work compared to their old company
  • What network infrastructure does the new company have compared to the old company, and is it the same, worse or better.
  • The Computer Hardware could be different to the company they were previously at

The second type of prospect will be looking for the Reseller to advise on the best product for their business.  This will require the reseller to know more about their business and how they operate and then advise on the best product.  They will need assistance in developing their key needs which usually doesn't take very long to work out.

There are however, 2 key points for both types of prospect.

  • What IT setup do they currently have.
  • What requirements do they need for a CRM system based on how they work as a business.

For example, if you have lower spec PC's then you may not be able to run certain CRM products unless you replace or upgrade it.  You may also decide to choose a different CRM as you do not wish to upgrade or replace the PC.  Also, its important to work out what you need from the system, rather than buying something that's all singing and dancing, but is really not going to meet your fundamental needs.

In order to clarify what you need, ask yourself some of these key questions.

  • How you want to access your data.  Do you want to see your contacts on your mobile phone, PDA, Laptop or via a webpage?
  • Do you want to have your data saved locally on your machine so you can update it without a direct network connection, then synchronise the changes when you have a network/internet connection.
  • What budget do you have?  Can you afford to invest in a CRM product up front, or would you prefer to pay monthly.  CRM systems dont have to cost the earth and sometimes the value for money products meet your requirements.
  • Do you want to host the product on one of your servers / PC's in the office, or would you prefer to have it hosted for you for a small monthly fee.
  • What does the CRM product need to integrate with?  Is this out of the box functionality or will you need to invest in development services
  • Is the product going to be future proofed?  Will it move when technology moves.
  • Can the CRM product change when your business processes change.

With a bit of planning relating to your workflow and what the critical needs are, then you can be safe in the knowledge that you have maximised your CRM investment. 

One last piece of advice, concentrate on about 3 to 5 key things you want to get out of your CRM system e.g. All my contacts in one place, track our sales opportunities, have a shared calendar for all our sales people.  Concentrate on doing these right and then once everyone in your organisation is doing them, plan for 3 to 5 more.

If you would like some free advice on which CRM product to choose, then Steve crombie would be happy to talk with you.  You can contact Steve Crombie on                01462 450444         or or visit our website at  


Bridgehouse Solutions Ltd, Suite 14, Intech House, 34-35 Wilbury Way, Hitchin, Herts, SG4 0TW.


About the Author

steve c

Member since: 10th December 2009

Steve is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Guru with over 12 years experience in customising, installing and training on CRM products. Steve trained SAGE support staff on how to use ACT when they...

Popular Categories