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Tips, tricks, and tools for defining CRM system requirements
25 April 2020  |  By Hiend Software Pte. Ltd.
While other types of software have fairly standard requirements, CRM can vary widely from one company to the next. What does your business need in terms of CRM?
What makes CRM software such a challenge for businesses, developers, and IT managers? If you're ready to choose a CRM model or hire a programming firm to create one for you, you may already have discovered the first problem: defining exactly what you want and need from such a system.

Unlike ERP or accounting software, which have essential functions and features that are pretty much standard across industries and companies, CRM can take many forms. It can comprise anything from a limited customer service platform to extensive, feature-rich software with a much broader scope. How can companies determine exactly what they need? What's the secret to creating a CRM system that will work for your business?

CRM: What does it mean?
If the first problem in designing a CRM system is identifying what you really need, then the real issue may be the terminology itself. "CRM", or "Customer Relationship Management", can refer to any aspect of a business' operations that involves customers - from organising accounts to sales to support and customer care. CRM may encompass surveys and elaborate research schemes to determine exactly what your customers want and need, or it can be as simple as an information management model for your sales and customer service departments.

Because there is so much variation in how different companies define CRM, it's important to pinpoint exactly what you require from your system. Ideally, this should be done before you contract a developer - or even before you start interviewing candidates to build your new CRM platform.

Five factors that are more important than CRM features
Read on to identify five of the major factors that every business should consider when pursuing CRM systems:

  1. Adoption: Your CRM system could have all the features your company needs and more, but it won't do you any good unless all of your employees use it - from the CEO at the top of the hierarchy to the newest sales rep at the bottom. Ensuring that your software can be implemented in small increments and fully integrated into your business processes is vital if you want to make the most of your new CRM system.
  2. Usability: Carefully consider the platform you're building for functionality. A lean, simple interface that offers fewer functions but is easier for your staff to adopt will be far more useful, in the long run, than a more complex system that's difficult to navigate.
  3. Data accuracy: It's important that the data in your system is accurate from the start - and stays that way. Ensure that information is carefully imported and updated uniformly across your entire company. Only a CRM system with useful, up-to-date data will be functional - and that's at least as important as specific features.
  4. Stability: Isn't it frustrated when you hit a button and it seems that the whole system goes down? It's essential that your system is stable and robust enough to handle the volume of input and the scope of your business. A system that breaks down under a heavy workload or that has unpredictable glitches is not a prudent IT solution. Responsiveness and coherence should be among the main factors in your decision-making process.
  5. Security: You want your employees who need to know, knowing. And those who don't need to know too much, they should be in the "don't need to know too much" group. A good CRM should allow for access control to be managed in such a way as to protect your sensitive information. The system should only show users what they have been allowed to see, and no more.

If you're considering a new CRM system for your company, be sure to factor these five elements into your planning and contract discussions. Your foresight will pay off in terms of functionality, ease of use, steady reliability and security, translating into years of growth and improvements.

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