There are a ton of CRM systems in the marketplace. But with so many CRMs available in the market, what’s the best strategy for your organisation when it comes to choosing one? After all, CRM solutions aren't one-size-fits-all. Here are a few thoughts from Julie Pitt from PTG Business for you to consider that will help you formulate that strategy.
Whenever we think about the best Dystopian tales, humanity is usually seen fighting over a valuable resource, be it fuel, food or the power to control the masses.
Little did we foresee in the 80’s and 90’s, when computers were gaining popularity and the internet was being born, that our greatest commodity in the new age would be data.
Information has always been a commodity to trade, and whilst we’ve moved on from tally sticks and hidden messages tattooed on the head of a lowly messenger, we’re still looking for ways to capture, store and trade the information in our possession; and in the era of Big Data, we’re looking for agile systems that can support our business, whatever that might be.
It’s this requirement that has generated a plethora of CRMs that are currently on the market but with so much choice how do you start to narrow down the list of available systems?
Narrowing down your options is made easier when you have an understanding of the different types of systems available, something we’ll attempt to do, using the international language of… Lego®.
I give you a box and in that box is a Lego® model. It's all built except for a few odd bricks around the outside which are given to you so you can make the model yours.
This is an "Out of the Box" system like Donorfy, ThankQ, eTapestry, DonorPerfect etc.
Next, I give you another box. When you open it up, expecting to see a lovely model, you see a big pile of loose bricks.
You have to spend a long time working out what model you’re going to build and probably need to buy in help to build it.
This is a platform system like SalesForce and MS Dynamics.
Because I'm nice and I see the look of disappointment on your face at your box of loose bricks, I take it away and give you another box.
You open this one up and you see another big pile of loose bricks but a few of them have been joined up to make small pre-formed parts of your model.
But you still have to decide where to put these bits and what you're going to fit them in, and even how many of the pre-formed bits you really need.
This is SalesForce NPSP.
And lastly, I offer you a slightly different solution. Like SalesForce NPSP, I offer you a box of loose bricks, but nowhere near enough to build you a CRM.
Then you hear a knock at the door and opening it you see a queue of people all holding different lumps of pre-formed bricks.
Like SalesForce NPSP it’s a platform system, but it’s Open Source – each piece on offer has been designed and built by a different person, who will give you their module free of charge.
But you have to decide which ones you want, in some cases having to choose been two that do the same thing but have been built using different colours.
As you can see this is not a critical appraisal of the merits and failings of each system.
This is about understanding what resource (time, money, people, skill) you have in your organisation to get a CRM up and running.
The key is to be realistic about those resource levels and narrow your search accordingly.
After all, it’s easier to choose between 3 apples than a whole basket of different fruit.