CRM Selection Process Part II: The What & Where of Your Data

Dec 20, 2017 | General

CRM Selection Process Part II: The What & Where of Your Data

If you haven’t already, make sure to read Part I, where we explore CRM Purpose and Stakeholder Input.
In this second part of our four-part article on the CRM selection process, you’ll discover how to mine your data gathering and storage processes for critical information needed to make an informed decision. This is another important step to take prior to looking at any potential CRM vendors.
Remember to document all the information you are gathering, as you’ll be pulling it all together to create your comprehensive system requirements (which we’ll be covering in part three).
Two critical elements of any CRM system are data input and output and storage location, the “what and where” of your valuable data. Let’s look at these more closely:

Data What: Input from the Input and Output

This is a deeper dive into your stakeholders’ data. By definition, a CRM system captures all the core and relevant information about the people you do business with. It’s all about your data, what it is, where is it and who needs access to it? Your answers to the following questions will be critical to your CRM process:
  • How is your customer-relevant information currently being gathered?
  • How and where is it entered and stored?
  • What is the nature of this information in terms of types of fields you need to capture?
  • How many and what types of fields do you need to be able to store?
  • Look for areas where the same data is entered multiple times; these are opportunities to eliminate wasted effort and increase accuracy. Is the current system easy to update? If not, what is difficult or different about the information going in?
  • As for output, what reports are currently generated?
  • What level of effort is being used to generate the reports? How can it be streamlined?
  • Do your reports satisfy the needs of all the people who use them? What reports can’t you get out of your current system and why?
  • Remember that it’s not just the C-suite that need reports – customer service managers, marketing managers, sales managers, sales reps and data entry managers all use reports in their jobs, so make sure you include their reports as well.

Data Where: Location, location, location

When identifying the key requirements for your CRM, it’s important to consider where the CRM data will be stored, how and where it will be accessed, and the potential need to connect your CRM to legacy business system(s). Not all CRM systems are created equal in how and where data is stored and accessed, or in their ability to connect to other systems.
  • Where do you want your CRM data to reside? Do you want it on your own server(s) on-site or in the cloud? 
  • If in the cloud, do you want it on your vendors’ servers or on cloud servers that you control? 
  • Where will your users need access to look at and add/edit data? On their desktop? At home? In the car? In a meeting at a client’s office? On a plane? 
  • What devices will they need to access your CRM: Desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and web browsers?
  • Does the data need to be live to view and edit or can it be off-line, editable? 
  • What operating systems are involved: iOS, Windows, IPad, Android, Google Chrome, and Bing?
  • What are the data location requirements for your legacy business systems that need to interface with your CRM?
Armed with a comprehensive view of your current system, stakeholders, and the what and where of your data usage, you’ll have all you need to put together top-notch requirements – the foundation for making a great decision when you select your next CRM.
Feeling overwhelmed? If you are interested in a deeper look into the value and issues of CRM implementation, as well as a workbook to help you through the process, download our complimentary guide to creating stronger customer relationships, by clicking here
AspenTech CRM has the experience you need to gather the granular data needed to create thorough requirements. We can make the entire CRM selection process run smoothly – and you may even find it enjoyable! Let’s get started – call us today.
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