How to select CRM system correctly?

Our whole life consists of choices. We select products in the grocery store, movie to watch, car to drive, etc. To select the CRM system is no simple matter. Your company’s further work can depend on it – either the system will be convenient and help to develop your business or, on contrary, will make the work of employees harder and slow down the company’s business processes. Let’s use the maximum practical approach when selecting CRM system.

When selecting CRM system, chief executives and managers usually regard the following aspects.

Availability of implementation and support services in your region.

Type of CRM system 
Possibility of collaborative work of CRM and accounting information system 
Possibility of development of additional modules 
Total cost of ownership 
Possibility of integration with telecommunications, web applications and other software 
Possibility of setup of remote workplace 
Let’s summarize

Let’s have a detailed look.

Type of CRM system

If the company wants to create the unified client base and register in it all its contacts with clients, but currently has no need for automation of business processes, analysis and prediction of sales or managing marketing campaigns, then it can choose the “operating” class of CRM. This class of CRM systems allows automating basic company operations which are related to client relationship in the short term and with minimum budget.

If the company wants to have possibility for extended data gathering and analysis, automation of business processes and managing marketing campaigns, as well as possibility to expand the system functionality when needed, it’s better to select the “analytical” CRM system, which allows user to:

  • Receive, store and process the whole history of client interaction;
  • Segment the client base and work with segments, significantly saving company resources;
  • Automate main business processes of the company, placing them directly into CRM system;
  • Use different methods of analysis based on collected data to receive new information;
  • Evaluate marketing efficiency and efficiency of certain interaction and sales channels;
  • Analyze client’s lifecycle and its lifetime value on every stage of interaction.

A collaborative CRM system is an approach to CRM in which various departments of a company share any information they collect from interactions with its customers. Participation of a client in production creating mechanisms and support is what distinguishes them from analytical CRM systems.

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Possibility of collaborative work of CRM and accounting information system

Modern CRM systems allow for possibility of integration with most of inherited applications (for example, trade or production systems and branch solutions). Synchronization of data with an accounting system allows giving information about issued invoices to the accounting department and receiving information about payments and shipments from it. 
Most effectively collaborative work of accounting and CRM systems can be organized using unified technological platform and integration of a CRM system to the company’s existing accounting system. This “complex” automation system allows to:

  • Create unified information space for work with clients (physically it’s the same program) – both CRM and accounting system use the same client catalog, same catalog of goods and common document flow;
  • Exclude double entry of information to the system;
  • Prevent possible loss of data during synchronization between two systems;
  • Effectively use all available client information (fast entry of information and fast access to it; information, registered in accounting system and CRM system is available for joint analysis in reports).
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Use of multilingual interface

“CRM International” includes translated interface and reference manual in the following languages: Russian, Bulgarian, English, German and Romanian. This lets users to setup their personal workplaces when working in the same database.

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Possibility of development of additional modules

When a company grows or has significant changes of its internal business processes the possibility for additional setup of CRM system for the company’s current needs can occur. For example, you may want to add new fields to the client card or product card, create “calculator” for often used calculations for deals directly in the CRM system, change the form of some report, and develop additional modules which can help to save company’s money and time. Because of that open CRM systems gain more and more popularity. Open CRM system means that you can make in it all necessary for your business changes. These systems have built-in language for setting existing possibilities and creating new ones. Specialists, familiar with built-in language, using special mode can set up the system in the way needed for a company. This allows upgrading of your system operatively according to the changing business needs.

“CRM International” is the open system with the possibility of easy tuning or creation of new functionality. “CRM International” is developed using the technological platform of new generation “1С:Enterprise 8”, which has special development tool – “Designer” mode.
Also, most of the system settings can be made directly in the user mode, without any additional programming.

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Total cost of ownership

Let’s say that you’ve just bought a new car. Obviously you expect to have gas, insurance, maintenance and parking costs. Just as when buying a car your expenses are not limited to it’s price, the total cost of ownership of CRM system is formed of several main components.

Licenses. To work with the program you need to have licenses for needed amount of users. The cost of the CRM licenses usually depends of amount of automated workplaces and needed functionality (number of CRM modules). The more licenses are bought at once, the bigger is discount for any single license.

Implementation costs. Usually companies prefer to ask an experience business consultant to select one or another client-oriented technology. Practice shows that attempts to save money when developing CRM technology, do “just like someone else did”, or develop such technology “in house” (using only own resources) often fail. More rational will be to entrust the development of client-oriented technology and selection of CRM system for its automation (implementation) to the specialists.

Implementation costs differ depending on the region and complexity of implementation tasks. It is better to clarify service cost with the company which officially performs such services in your region.

There are two possible means of payment for implementation services:

  • The service costs are defined by price of an hour of work of a specialist – consultant or programmer for the project.
  • The company implementing CRM and the client negotiate the cost of a whole project, thus “paying for result”; regardless of the time needed to perform the task.

Depending of the project tasks, used CRM product and needed functionality the cost of implementation works can be equal to the cost of CRM licenses or exceed it several times.

Support. Different support options are possible:

  • Free support with unlimited term.
  • Monthly paid support.
  • Half a year or yearly payment calculated as percentage of license cost (usually about 20% a year).

The support service package can include different set of services: update and reference manuals describing how to use the CRM system, consulting by phone or email, emergency visit of a specialist in case of system failure, etc.

After calculation of cost of all components we will get the total cost of ownership of CRM system. You can clarify the cost of service and licenses with the CRM supplier in your region.

“CRM International” is licensed by number of workplaces. The “CRM International” implementation cost differs for each region.

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Possibility of integration with telecommunications, web applications and other software

After the whole client base is gathered in one system and the client analysis is done, a company may have need to contact a certain client segment (group of similar clients). The integration of CRM with communication channels allows to increase work with clients significantly, to automate often used and standard operations and to minimize the average cost of a single contact with client. It becomes possible to contact any client you need, using specific selection from the client base, and to contact them by the most comfortable for you and the client way directly from the CRM system, as well as quickly accept and process incoming client requests, be it by email, by phone or by fax.

Personalized newsletters using email and SMS, fax distributions and post mailings allow holding of mass marketing events for the clients.

The CRM system also can automatically react on specific events, for example, notification of a client using the most comfortable for them method (phone, email, SMS, fax or post mail) about the status for their order, special discounts, cheap travel offers or flight delays.

“CRM International” has the possibility of integration with business telephone systems (PBX, CallCenter, call recording), SMS services and fax.

The economy of time when using only possibilities of integration of “CRM International” with PBX on average is:

  • 35 seconds for every incoming call,
  • 15 seconds for every outgoing call,
  • Up to 2 minutes when transferring information on call forwarding.

Besides that, all employees of a company, working with “CRM International”, can see the current state of every internal party - whether their phone is now unoccupied, whether they are in the middle of a call or are currently absent.

The built-in Email client allows to organize personalized mailings for certain segments of clients.

“CRM International” is developed using the technological platform of new generation “1С:Enterprise 8”, which has possibility for easy data exchange with practically any other automation system or web application.

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Possibility of setup of remote workplace

Remote workplace allows company employee to work with the company’s client database in the CRM system even if she/he is currently not in the office. Information about client requests, for example, can be readdressed to such employee. Remote workplace can be used by a company’s trade representative or chief executive when they need to work from some other place and not from an office. 
To setup autonomous workplace on laptop or palmtop you need only few hours. After that and employee of executive can work remotely, including times when there is no constant connection with the main office. When an opportunity to connect to the Internet or the company’s local network appears you can make data synchronization with the central (office) CRM database.

“CRM International” allows to automate the work of remote departments and mobile employees, including company executives.

To automate remote departments and company offices you can use terminal access to the central CRM database or periodic data exchange/synchronization between central and remote CRM databases.

Partners of a company and remote warehouses can access the “CRM International” data through special section of the company website.

The special edition “iCRM Sales manager” for Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile allow employees to work with the data from CRM database when they are at a client’s place and transfer information directly to the main office of a company.

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Let’s summarize

To make the informed choice of CRM system we recommend taking into consideration several main criteria.

A company should decide what type of the CRM system is currently needed for it. Nowadays more that 80% of organizations choose analytical CRM systems.

After that you will have to consider how the collaborative work of the CRM and accounting system will be executed. You can get maximum result if you build in the CRM system into the existing accounting system of your company or create the complex automation project using integrated solution which already includes CRM module.

You need to pay thorough attention to the total cost of ownership of the CRM system. Total cost of ownership includes the cost of licenses, implementation services and support services. The cost of implementation services can be several times bigger than the cost of licenses for the CRM system.

To develop the CRM system and make it comfortable for work the clarification of the possibility of integration of the CRM system with telecommunications, web applications and possibility of organizing the remote workplace is needed. Built-in possibilities for work with other programs, office telephony, SMS, fax and web technologies allow to create complex automated solution for the whole company.

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