CRM Selection Process

The CRM software market is a mature industry. There are over 100 CRM systems sold just in North America. They specialize by capability, industry, technology, price and many other criteria. Even the top CRM software system (Salesforce) has less than 20 percent market share, so that leaves a lot of options for CRM buyers.

Finding the best CRM software is done by showing how your goals, requirements, budget and other factors compare to the top CRM systems in a side-by-side analysis.

We have been leading CRM software selection evaluations for nearly three decades. To help clients find the best CRM software we apply a proven evaluation framework that saves time, reduces risk and objectively identifies the best CRM software solution for any given company. Here is our 6 step approach.

Step 1: CRM Strategy (optional)
The overarching goal of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to achieve customer affinity – which means knowing your customers better than your competitors, and using that knowledge to better serve them, build relationships with them and earn their loyalty.

A CRM strategy defines the optimal approach to achieve customer and revenue objectives. Most often that means a specific approach to improve customer relationships, increase customer acquisitions, grow customer share and increase customer retention. And do these things at the least cost and in the shortest time.

See CRM Strategy Details for more information.

CRM Predictive Pyramid
Design Thinking for CRM

Step 2: Design Thinking
Identifying the most important and highest impact CRM goals is a precursor to everything that comes after. That's why we use Design Thinking to firmly specify the most important CRM software goals.

A one day Design Thinking workshop captures what is most important, and shifts CRM objectives from being stated in software features and functions to being measured in user and customer business outcomes. It elevates CRM software from a technology tool to a business results platform.

See CRM Design Thinking for more information.

Step 3: CRM Software Ranking
The decision to select new CRM software will affect your company for many years. That's why a structured approach that weights and scores each application according to your most unique and important objectives is critical.

It's also important to recognize that evaluating CRM software is less about technology and more about the user experience and business results.

That's why we use a CRM Evaluation Framework that compares and scores CRM solutions pursuant to the 6 most impactful dimensions.

See CRM Comparison Ranking for more information.

CRM Selection Process
CRM Selection Demo Process

Step 4: CRM Demos
Effective CRM software demos give you the vital information to compare and contrast different CRM systems based on what's most important.

Effective demos bring objective scoring to subjective evaluation criteria such as software simplicity, ease of use and the user experience.

Ineffective demos turn into cheerleading exercises for the vendor's product, nearly devoid of objective and useful information. They also leave you with blind spots that will later create surprises.

See CRM Demonstrations Done Right for more information.

Step 5: Recommendation Report
The CRM market is extremely competitive with many good solutions so the final recommendation is more a relative choice than a single option.

A good recommendation report does not leave the recipient with only one choice. Our framework identifies the best CRM application based on the company's priorities but also offers alternatives for management consideration or as a fallback if the preferred solution is not right for any reason.

Our CRM recommendation report ranks the top 3 CRM solutions based on the company's stated goals and decision-making criteria. It also provides expert analysis on each of the major decision-making areas for each of the top contenders.

That professional perspective provides management latitude to consider the company vision or other factors to future-proof their decision.

CRM Software Comparison Analysis
CRM Negotiation Strategy

Step 6: CRM Negotiation and Procurement Best Practices
Our proprietary CRM procurement research reveals what other companies pay for the same or similar software and shows the average CRM software discounts and concessions for each of the top vendors.

We don't negotiate on your behalf. Instead we provide advisory services with a proven CRM negotiation strategy, vendor insights and market dynamics that build creative solutioning, outcomes-based value results and objective leverage to reduce total cost and project risk and increase benefits and ROI.

See CRM Negotiation Strategy and Best Practices for more information.

Fixed Fee Engagements

Our CRM software selection offerings use our accelerated framework to identify the best CRM software system based on your unique goals and requirements.

We specialize in Customer Relationship Management research, analysis and CRM software selection projects. The practitioners that lead our CRM selection process have more than two decades of full-time CRM advisory experience. Our expert services are unbiased. We are 100 percent independent of software vendors or other interests that may compromise an objective CRM software selection and finding the best CRM software for each client.