CRM Software System Evaluations

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) evaluations begin by understanding that CRM is a business management strategy supported by customer affinity objectives, company culture, business processes, deployment methods and CRM software systems. CRM is intended to enhance and grow customer relationships, and thereby customer share and market share.

CRM strategies and CRM software have become a potent combination in the pursuit of business development and company growth objectives. For most organizations, CRM software suites include marketing automation, sales force automation (SFA), and customer service or support functions. Other software automation capabilities may include Partner Relationship Management (PRM), quote processing, sales order processing, CRM analytics and social CRM tools and techniques. New software technology introductions such as open source CRM software, new delivery methods such as cloud or software as a service (SaaS), new pricing models such as subscription pricing and outsourced CRM software management introduce new opportunities for CRM acquisition, implementation and operation. While the business opportunities are plentiful, conducting a CRM software evaluation can seem overwhelming. However, to help make sense of this software selection process, we've discontinued our own CRM software evaluations and now refer readers to CRMsearch.com. We've reviewed their work in great detail, interviewed their analysts and are satisfied their their analysis and recommendations are independent, objective and performed by CRM software experts.

Once you are past the CRM software evaluation, remember that CRM achievement is a journey and success is much more than a go-live software implementation event. Benefits from CRM strategies and software applications generally involve a a change in company culture and a continuous evolution that matures over time and adapts to changing customer needs and new company capabilities. It is critical to first understand that Customer Relationship Management is a business management strategy and then understand how a CRM system can be the automation framework to achieve your strategy. Successful CRM applications increase anticipation, response and understanding of your customers' needs in a timely, efficient and mutually rewarding way.

Many CRM software implementors, practitioners, consultants and project managers have identified successful and repeatable techniques, methods, best practices, business processes and lessons which collectively reduce risk and increase the ROI of customer focused business strategies. In this website we post a collection of shared experiences designed to leverage social media participation, user generated content and community dialogue for the benefit of all participants.

This purpose of this CRM software evaluation content is to share, collaborate and advance the collective information, cooperation, knowledge, networking and advice that can be garnered from an online community of like minded business professionals, in part so that buyers can purchase CRM with confidence. Participants are encouraged to share their first hand experiences, views and insights for everyone's benefit.

Customer Relationship Management 2.0

Customer Relationship Management software and business strategies have succeeded in transitioning from the management and streamlining of customer-facing transactional tasks to harvesting customer information in order to better serve and communicate with both prospects and customers. The next CRM software business trend is clearly focused on social CRM (sCRM).

Social CRM was born from the seeds of the largely consumer-based social media phenomenon characterized by user-generated content derived through social networks, blogs, community portals and pull-based RSS syndication. CRM software and business leaders are experimenting with new methods to communicate in the ways the customer desires, to raise the communication from monologue to dialogue and to collaborate with the customer in a manner that delivers mutual information and knowledge to all involved. For forward thinking CRM people,, a social CRM software strategy goes beyond just making the customer feel like an object of profit and instead, makes the customer an integral component of the marketing team, the sales team, the Research and Development team and other lines of business that may benefit from direct feedback by the ultimate recipient.

Some business executives see social CRM as a threat rather than a new opportunity for improved knowledge to be harnessed, leveraged and included in the development of products and services for improved market acceptance and market share growth. While it is true that the Web can put companies under a microscope of scrutiny, it is also true that customers can review independent evaluations of companies, products and services never before available and social communities can either impose their wrath on obstinate or uncooperative suppliers or their coveted endorsement of companies they believe are transparent and trusted. Corporate transparency can be used as a key competitive advantage in the era of social media. In fact, It is difficult to imagine a product or service that cannot really benefit from the candid and passionate feedback of social customers.

Customers are generally not unreasonable, understand basic business economics and therefore social CRM need not be looked at as a necessary evil. Customers will continue to reward vendor relationships that seek a win-win result. As organizations realize that social customers have a new avenue to get what they want, when the want and how they want it, these organizations will also understand they have an ideal opportunity to reduce market demand guess work, design better fit customer products, achieve go to market initiatives in reduced cycle times, release goods which achieve superior market acceptance and secure more meaningful and profitable customer relationships.