Select a Cloud CRM Solution in Three Tips

Businesses are constantly searching for technology solutions that deliver greater productivity and flexibility. One core platform many of them have invested in to date is customer relationship management (CRM). And, as with other business applications, it is increasingly transitioning to the cloud. According to SuperOffice, only 12 percent of businesses used cloud CRM in 2008. Now, 10 years later, that figure stands at a whopping 87 percent. If your business is considering a cloud CRM solution, you’re in good company. Here’s what you need to know to choose the cloud CRM solution that’s right for you.

1.Clear Goals for Your Cloud CRM Solution

As with any technology, you must first be clear on what you want to get out of your cloud CRM solution to make sure that it delivers on your expectations. Any business that’s contemplating a cloud CRM solution should know exactly why it needs one. Why? Simply put, because there are a lot of options out there today—including CRM for specific verticals. In addition, vendors and implementation consultants need to know what you’re looking for to be able to effectively advise you on how best to achieve your goals.

For example, some cloud CRM options only support sales, while others facilitate both sales and marketing. If your business has unique workflows that are different from those found in the average company, then you will need to be sure that the solution you’re contemplating either accommodates them or improves upon them. With that in mind, your business should devote some time and careful thought to defining its requirements for a cloud CRM solution well in advance of making a choice. With a checklist of priorities in hand, you can have much more meaningful conversations with cloud CRM vendors about whether or not their solutions are right for you.

2. Make Sure Your Cloud CRM Solution Can Grow with You

It’s natural, when defining requirements for a cloud CRM solution, to think strictly in terms of the here and now: What do I need it to do today? What are my most burning needs? But, don’t forget that one of the chief strategic benefits a cloud CRM solution offers is scalability. In addition to near-term concerns, be sure to think ahead toward where your business will be in the future and how you will need your cloud CRM solution to support it down the line. For example, will your cloud CRM solution provide the mobility and integration with other business applications that you’ll need? Will it offer attractive pricing options that allow you to hire more staff and expand your operations with ease? Are there other, specific features and functionality you anticipate needing later? Make sure to explore whether or not the cloud CRM solution you’re evaluating will support these requirements, as well.

3.Be Certain That Your Vendor Provides Strong Support

As any experienced IT professional knows, finding the right technology is only half the battle. The success of your implementation also depends on your vendor’s expertise and the quality of support it provides. If you partner with a cloud CRM vendor that doesn’t have a strong bench of experienced specialists who can guide you in implementing your CRM, the burden will fall to your team—and it could ultimately compromise the success of your initiative. Whether you’re working directly with a vendor or a consultant possessing subject matter expertise, be sure to ask him or her detailed questions about how projects are managed and what you can expect from the relationship. Also ask for references from past clients that are similar to you. Those references should ideally give you unvarnished insight into the vendor’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can make an informed decision.

Cloud CRM offers many powerful benefits, but businesses can only fully take advantage of them if they do their due diligence beforehand. By clarifying what you’re looking for in a cloud CRM solution, anticipating requirements you may have, and carefully evaluating the vendor to make sure it’s capable of providing the support you need, your company can go a long way toward ensuring that it picks the right cloud CRM solution.