A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will play an integral role in your business, so it’s important to find one that meets the needs of all groups that will use it. It needs to fit within your budget, too. Key considerations when choosing a CRM include:

· Buy-in from key stakeholders. Bring together representatives from the groups that will benefit from the CRM system so that you get a clear idea of the features you’ll need. The list typically includes the heads of sales, marketing and customer service; top-performing salespeople; the CFO; an IT representative or your service provider; and an operations expert.

· A comprehensive requirements list. Based on input from stakeholders, create a list of must-have requirements. Stay focused on these requirements as you evaluate vendors’ offerings; CRMs can include a bewildering variety of features, and it’s easy to get sidetracked into discussions of capabilities that your business doesn’t really need.

Most CRMs include basic features for sales force and marketing automation, but if you sell via partners or joint ventures, you may also benefit from a system that automatically manages partner relationships, including joint marketing, lead management and partner commissions.

· How you interact with customers. If a top priority is to ensure sales reps don’t miss follow-up calls or appointments while on the road, strong SFA capabilities including mobile access are important. If you’re fielding a large volume of support requests via phone and email, customer support capabilities are critical.

· Your future needs. Your CRM should grow with your business. Think about your expansion plans. Will you need to support global sales, ecommerce, international partner relationships and/or multiple currencies?

· Evaluating implementation cost and effort. CRM systems can be cloud-based or on-premises. Cloud-based CRM systems involve less implementation and maintenance effort and have a lower initial cost. You access the software over the internet and pay for it with a monthly subscription. With on-premises systems, you’ll need to buy hardware and software licenses, and you’ll need IT expertise to install and manage the system. In addition to implementation concerns, you should also consider security and maintenance for on-premises tools. All CRMs will require some user training.

· Integration. Think about how the CRM needs to mesh with your business’s other software. NetSuite CRM is part of an integrated suite of ERP applications, which means employees using the CRM have a complete picture of all business information related to the customer, including sales orders and payments. NetSuite software also integrates closely with widely used ecommerce platforms, simplifying inventory management and enabling companies to track customers’ activity across all channels.

A CRM system is an important tool for remaining competitive in almost any industry. It helps companies build strong customer relationships that ultimately drive increased sales and profitability. A CRM system also helps sales, marketing and customer service better track customer-related activities, automate time-consuming tasks, increase overall productivity and create superb customer experiences.

For more information about how Oracle NetSuite ERP’s CRM solution can help you make the most out of your customer experiences, CONTACT our expert Massimo Avellino at massimo.avellino@stl.com.mt.